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Warning. Car Accident Avoidance Technology May Not Work in Snow


Anyone who recently purchased a new car is likely amazed to find that it’s loaded with new technology designed to help drivers avoid car accidents.

According to Consumer Reports, cars may now be equipped with a wide array of safety systems including:

  • Forward collision warning: Visual and/or audible warning intended alert the driver and prevent a collision.
  • Automatic emergency braking: Brakes are automatically applied to prevent a collision or reduce collision speed when the system detects an imminent collision with a vehicle directly in front. AEB comes in two forms…
  • City automatic emergency braking: Brakes are automatically applied to prevent a collision or reduce collision severity when traveling at city speed.
  • High-speed automatic emergency braking: Brakes are automatically applied to reduce collision severity when traveling at highway speeds.
  • Pedestrian Detection: The system can detect pedestrians, then issue warning and trigger automatic emergency braking, if necessary. Some can detect cyclists.
  • Lane departure warning: Visual, audible, or haptic warning to alert the driver when they are crossing lane markings.
  • Lane-keeping assist: Automatic corrective steering input or braking provided by the vehicle when crossing lane markings.
  • Blindspot warning: Visual and/or audible notification of vehicle in blind spot. The system may provide an additional warning if you use your turn signal when there is a car next to you in another lane.
  • Rear cross-traffic warning: Visual, audible, or haptic notification of object or vehicle out of rear camera range, but could be moving into it.
  • Rear automatic emergency braking: Brakes are automatically applied to prevent backing into something behind the vehicle. This could be triggered by the rear cross-traffic system or other sensors on the vehicle.
  • Lane-centering assist:  Continuous active steering to stay in between lanes (active steer, autosteer, etc.)
  • Adaptive cruise control: Adaptive cruise uses lasers, radar, cameras, or a combination of these systems to keep a constant distance between you and the car ahead, automatically maintaining a safe following distance. If highway traffic slows, some systems will bring the car to a complete stop and automatically come back to speed when traffic gets going again, allowing the driver to do little more than pay attention and steer.

Pretty amazing stuff – right?

Yes – but… (isn’t there always a but…?)

These devices don’t always work well at night, and they may not work at all in the snow.

With winter upon us – we thought it would be useful to explain what you can do to keep those safety systems working as well as possible – even in a snowstorm.

Six Key Areas to Keep Clean

  • The windshield: More cars are using cameras and sensors behind the windshield for forward collision warning and/or automatic wipers. Remember to stop occasionally during snow and ice events to completely clear your windshield of all ice and snow.
  • The grille: Yup – there are often sensors in the front grille of your new car.  Find them all now, so you know where to clean later.  Many new vehicles have radar sensors located in the grille or in the center of the front bumper.
  • Sensors in front and, often, rear bumpers: Many cars are now equipped with sensors that tell you when you are getting too close to objects in front or behind your vehicle when parking.  The sensors that power this technology are often located in the front and rear bumpers.
  • Rear body quarter panels: Sensors here are the radar used to guide the car’s blind-spot monitoring systems.  Some older care models may use a camera located just below the outside mirrors.
  • The rearview camera: Dirt, snow, and ice can quickly render this safety device useless.
  • Cameras in the front grille, side mirrors, and in the back: These cameras power the car’s  360-degree-viewing system.  Ice, snow, and grime can quickly disable these sensors.

So, what can a driver with these new technologies do to stay safe and avoid an accident?

This part is pretty simple.  Keep your car clean. You can do that by running your vehicle through a car wash regularly or by washing it yourself.

Regularly check your sensors to make sure they are free from debris.

And if you’ve been traveling in snowy or icy conditions – or on roads that are wet and have been heavily treated with sand and salt – stop periodically to clean your sensors.  Doing so may save you and your family from harm.

If you or a loved one are ever injured in a car accident in Connecticut, know that the Connecticut car accident lawyers at RisCassi & Davis have been assisting people like you who’ve been injured in accidents for over 60 years.  And we have received both state and national recognition for our work in this area.  If you are ever injured in an accident of any kind and would like a free consultation with one of our Connecticut car accident lawyers, please contact us

There is no obligation.

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