When you buy your next car, make sure it’s equipped with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), such as automatic emergency braking or adaptive cruise control. Why? Because they could save your life by preventing or reducing the effects of a crash. At the very least, ADAS can save you from having to rearrange your car’s damaged bodywork. These safety systems can also make the task of driving a less-stressful experience.
The above statements aren’t mere opinion or conjecture. They’re supported by studies from the Auto Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Real-world data demonstrate that ADAS effectively reduce the number of car crashes or minimize their severity and, as a result, lower the number of deaths and injuries on the highway. Simply put, ADAS take automotive safety to a whole new level.
ADAS have been around for about a decade, and they’re showing up on more vehicles every year. ADAS use cameras, radar, sonar, and various types of sensors to “see” what’s happening on the road, process the information, and respond appropriately by braking, accelerating, or steering your car—often more quickly and accurately than you could. These advanced safety systems either keep you from making an error (like rear-ending the car in front of you) or minimize the effects of mistakes you’ve already made (such as leaving a toddler or pet unattended in the backseat). Most, if not all, advanced safety features can be turned off or overridden by driver input.
Automakers are continuously improving their advanced safety systems and developing new ones, and many automakers include a wide range of safety features as standard equipment on most of their cars and light trucks. But take heed: With some vehicles—notably pickups, sporty cars, and exotics—advanced safety features are often optional or unavailable.