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Road safety and choosing Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

Mon 16th Nov 20

Whether you’re buying a new car or van, or a used one, working out the features you’d like it to include is more complex than ever. With manufacturers adding more and higher specifications to their vehicles, whether you’re after information or entertainment, there’s a wealth to choose from.

Perhaps most important of all, though, is choosing the safety features available within your vehicle. Did you know that, in the 12 months ending June 2019, there were 1,748 reported road deaths? Moreover, 153,315 casualties of all severities in reported road traffic accidents – this represents a decrease of 5% compared to 2018 and is, in fact, the lowest recorded figure since 1979 when the government started its current statistical series.

While there is no way of assessing exactly what has driven these reductions – weather, driver behaviours, distances travelled and more can all factor – better safety measures in vehicles and greater road safety awareness may have had an effect on the steady decrease in accidents in recent years.

Reviewing the government’s RAS50007: Contributory factors: Casualties in reported accidents by severity: Great Britain report, driver error and injudicious action are the two biggest contributory factors for reported road accidents. Within these fields, the driver failing to look properly and the driver failing to judge the other person’s path or speed are the greatest causes.

As safety features supplied in vehicles by manufacturers become more advanced, so these risks can be reduced using technology that alerts drivers to, or even corrects, errors and misjudgements. This smart technology – otherwise known as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) can include:

Lane-departure warning / lane assist – these systems incorporate cameras that monitor the markings on the road and warn drivers if their vehicle is moving out of its lane without having indicated. Lane assist automatically steers the vehicle back on track, keeping it in a central position within the markings.

Advanced emergency braking systems (AEBS) – these systems calculate whether there is enough room to prevent a collision with the vehicle in front. When a defined limit is exceeded, the vehicle will alert the driver via that information display and with a warning sound. If the driver fails to act, the brakes will be applied automatically.

Electronic stability control (ESC) / Dynamic stability control (DSC) – these systems detect and reduce skidding via computer technology. So, if the driver loses steering control, the ESC will apply the brakes automatically to individual wheels, helping to prevent over or under steering and helping to regain control.

Cross traffic alert – these systems warn you if, while you’re pulling out from a junction, traffic is detected approaching from the sides. Some systems may stop or slow down the vehicle if the driver is trying to move away from a junction when traffic is detected.

Blind spot monitor / digital camera systems – these systems help to eliminate driver blind spots, bringing drivers a fuller visibility of their surroundings.

Many of these features are already requirements for new trucks and they have the advantage of reducing the risk of accidents, which in turn helps keep insurance premiums lower. It’s still the responsibility of the driver to make sure they understand how their safety features work, so that complacency doesn’t set in. And remember, if you modify your vehicle from the manufacturer’s specification in any way, you must tell your insurer.

To find out more about insuring your vehicle – whether its brand new, new to you or you need to renew your policy, call the Ryan’s team on 01473 343434 today.