Not all systems stop a car completely.

Automatic emergency braking systems are becoming increasingly common. More than 50 per cent of cars on sale in the United States are available with the technology, and by 2022 it’ll be standard equipment on 99% of new cars.

But AAA has discovered that there are big differences between the various manufacturers’ systems. There are two types in use: those designed to lessen the severity of an impact, and those designed to prevent one entirely. Tests of both types fitted to five 2016-model cars revealed that the former sheds much less speed than the latter when it applies the brakes.

That result is perhaps predictable, but the scale of the contrast is pretty stark. AAA found that prevention systems reduced speed by 79%, which was enough to avoid 60% of impacts with a vehicle travelling 30 miles-per-hour slower.

Systems designed to the lessen an impact, meanwhile, reduced speed by only 40%, but that was enough to avoid one third of impacts in the 30 mph differential test. However, when faced with a stationary vehicle while travelling at 45 mph, speed was only reduced by 9%. In the same scenario, prevention systems slowed by 74%, avoiding 40% of impacts all together.

Megan McKernan, of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, which assisted in the study, said: “Automatic emergency braking systems have the potential to drastically reduce the risk of injury from a crash. When travelling at 30 mph, a speed reduction of just 10 mph can reduce the energy of crash impact by more than 50%.”

“When shopping for a new vehicle, AAA recommends considering one equipped with an automatic emergency braking system,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “However, with the proliferation of vehicle technology, it’s more important than ever for drivers to fully understand their vehicle’s capabilities before driving off the dealer lot.”

And most of all, remember that these systems are a last ditch measure. The idea is to not get anywhere close to a crash situation in the first place.

Source: AAA

Be part of something big