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AAA: Vehicle Safety Systems Struggle in Bad Weather

Traffic backed up at a snowy Intersection

A Cleveland car accident attorney provides the details you should know

Many vehicles are equipped with vehicle safety systems – or advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). These systems are designed to alert drivers to potential dangers and reduce the risk of a car accident. They use sensors and cameras to identify cars, pedestrians, and road markers.

But research conducted by AAA has found that bad weather such as moderate and heavy rain can affect the performance of these systems.

“The reality is people aren’t always driving around in perfect, sunny weather so we must expand testing and take into consideration things people actually contend with in their day-to-day driving,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering and industry relations.

Testing under environmental conditions

On a closed course, AAA simulated rainfall with a high-pressure pump and a precision injector nozzle aimed at the windshield of the cars being tested for their automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance features.

Automatic emergency braking is supposed to activate a car’s brakes when sensors detect a collision is likely to happen. In testing conducted at 25 mph in rainy conditions, there was a collision in 17% of the test runs. At 35 mph, there was a collision in 33% of the test runs.

Lane-keeping assistance is designed to help keep a car within marked lanes without driver input. But in testing under rainy conditions, cars went outside of the lane markers 69% of the time.

AAA has previously conducted testing of vehicle safety systems in closed-course and real-world settings. It found that driving scenarios, road conditions, and vehicle design can negatively impact performance.

For example, lane-keeping assistance struggled in moderate traffic, curved roads, and busy intersections. Automatic emergency braking did not engage when pedestrians crossed in front of a vehicle or there was a simulated disabled vehicle ahead.

“AAA recognizes these systems have the ability to lessen the chance of a crash and improve the overall safety of driving,” said Brannon. “Fine-tuning their performance and providing drivers with a more consistent experience will go a long way in unlocking their true potential.”

Tips for drivers to stay safe

The organization notes that there is ultimately no replacement for a driver who is engaged and attentive.

AAA recommends taking extra precautions in rainy conditions, such as:

  • Travel at a slower speed
  • Try to avoid hard braking and making sharp turns
  • Follow in the tracks of the vehicle in front
  • Maintain a following distance of at least 5-6 seconds
  • Keep cruise control off
  • Avoid slamming the brakes and easing off the accelerator if the car starts to hydroplane

Talk to a car accident lawyer if you’ve been injured

If you are involved in a car crash, it’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible. A negligent driver who caused your accident may deny responsibility. Insurance companies can be difficult to deal with and will try to pay you as little compensation as possible—if anything at all.

The experienced car accident attorneys at Merriman Legal, LLC help clients in Cleveland and throughout Ohio get the financial compensation they deserve. We understand the impact an accident can have on your life. That’s why we build strong cases and fight back against insurance company attempts to pay you less.

Learn more about how we can help by contacting us to schedule a free consultation.

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