Used Car Buyers Less Likely To Use Driver Assist Systems

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While driver assistance features found their way to cars several years ago to promote active safety, they were usually reserved for the more expensive and luxurious offerings. But, over the years, most of the technology has trickled down to normal cars. Almost all popular cars since the mid-2010s received a variety of systems ranging from basic blind-spot monitoring to automatic braking. However, with all these acronyms and features on offer, modern cars can get complicated to understand, especially for new buyers. Nowadays, even if you find a used Nissan Versa for sale or some other basic car, it will usually have some technology onboard to promote active safety.

To make sure these systems are used properly, most new car buyers are given a tutorial of all the systems and how to use them by the dealership; but what about used cars? According to a recent study by the IIHS, most used car owners are unaware of the driver assistance features on their cars and how to use them. This essentially boils down to unused technology that can potentially save the lives of passengers and other road users.

Since most owners who shop for used cars don’t get any tutorial to understand the features on offer, this issue is quite understandable.

The unavailability of new cars makes the situation even worse, forcing customers to the used market to fulfill their requirements. According to the recent survey by IIHS, almost 750 owners were considered with cars manufactured from 2016 to 2019. Among them, only 402 owners bought their car new, while 362 owners bought their cars from the used car market and most of them didn’t know about the driver assistance features on offer or how to use them properly. Because driver assistance tech is a relatively new technology, at least in the standard car market, most owners don’t trust it enough or understand its usefulness to bother activating them.

So, in essence, owners of used cars are less likely to use driver assistance systems because they don’t know how useful they are or how they work, leading to unsafe roads in the long run. Most used car dealers are not well versed in a lot of the cars they sell, since they sell cars from several manufacturers, resulting in the customers not understanding all the advanced features the car has.

So, how useful are these features and how do they work?

Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) – So far, the most effective driver assistance feature yet is automatic emergency braking. The system usually works in conjunction with the forward-collision warning system, issuing audible and visual warnings to the driver when an imminent collision is detected. Using sensors at the front, the system can determine the distance from the car in front. If the driver doesn’t respond in time, the system will apply emergency braking automatically, potentially avoiding a collision. Just the forward collision warning alone has helped reduce collisions by 27 percent.

According to the IIHS, the AEB system reduced front-to-rear crashes by 50 percent.

Lane Departure Warning – The second most effective driver assistance system according to recent reports is lane departure warning. Several cameras and sensors at the front will continuously monitor the lane markings on the road. If the car edges closer to the lines without the turn signals, the system will warn the driver, and in some advanced systems, correct the steering accordingly. Lane departure warning has helped reduce single-vehicle, sideswipe, and head-on collisions by 11 percent.

Blind Spot Monitoring – This system also works on similar lines as lane departure warnings. But, in this case, sensors at the sides will detect traffic in the blind spot and provide visual cues on the rearview mirrors or MID. If a lane change is activated when a vehicle is in the blind spot, the system will warn the driver and even provide corrective actions in some cases. So far, blind-spot monitoring has helped reduce lane-change crashes by 14 percent.

Rear Crash Prevention – from basic camera systems to advanced cross-traffic alert systems, rear crash prevention is next on the list. Rearview cameras are by far the most effective of the lot, implementing cameras on the tailgate and streaming the video to a central display to warn the driver of any obstacles. The system usually works with rear parking sensors and provides adaptive guidelines to predict the movement of the car according to the steering angle. Modern cars also get rear cross-traffic alert systems that use sensors to detect any moving traffic that may cross the path, send visual alerts, and even apply brakes if required. Because of the raised tailgate in most cars, spotting shorter obstacles and young children while reversing can be problematic. So far, rear automatic braking is responsible for the largest reductions in insurance claims reported.

Traffic Sign Recognition – While this system may not directly influence crash statistics, it’s still an important part of modern driver assistance technologies. Cameras are used to recognize speed limits and other traffic signs on the road, which are then sent to the driver as visual alerts. If the speed limit is crossed, some vehicles will issue alerts, reducing the chances of collision by keeping the speed under control. Most systems are also capable of recognizing other traffic signs that signal dangers on the road and relay the same to the driver.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) – Over the years, TPMS has become one of the most critical safety systems on offer. Tire pressure and temperature are continually monitored for any inconsistencies. The TPMS works in conjunction with ADAS and warns the driver if any of the tires are under-inflated.

So, if you own a modern car, always make sure you read through the owner’s manual and do some research to find out all the features on offer. Most systems are relatively easy to understand and use daily.

As predicted, driverless cars are the future of mobility, taking the next step from advanced driver assistance. Several manufacturers have already started rolling out fully automated driving, and we can expect the same to reach U.S shores soon.

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