Over half of drivers report driver assist systems help avoid crashes, survey says

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A survey released Tuesday by Consumer Reports found 57 percent of drivers say advanced driver assistance systems have helped them avoid a crash.

The survey, which tracked data on about 72,000 vehicles covering 2015-19 models, asked drivers about forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning and other active safety and driver systems.

Survey participants reported the highest satisfaction with adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and blind spot warning systems. Lane-keeping features were less popular or effective, with respondents reporting annoying alert chimes, vibrations or overly aggressive steering corrections.

James Eriksen, a 2017 Subaru Outback owner, said his vehicle’s automatic emergency braking system kept him from hitting a deer.

“Suddenly a deer jumped right in front of my car, and before I could fully apply the brakes, my Outback came to a complete stop on its own,” Eriksen wrote in response to the survey.

Mike Monticello, an auto reporter at Consumer Reports, told Automotive News that it’s important how the systems notify users of changes in their environment.

“If these systems are implemented in an annoying way or if they’re way too sensitive,” Monticello said, “people turn them off and then it’s never going to help avoid a potential crash if they go over a lane or something.”

Overall satisfaction for advance driver assistance systems is very high compared to other products surveyed by Consumer Reports, Monticello said.

According to the survey, 60 percent of drivers said blind spot warning prevented a collision. It’s also the system drivers turn off least often, the survey found.

“A lot of people are very unaware of these systems or what they do,” Monticello said. “With as distracted as people have become these days in their driving, these systems have become important.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in a March report, said that automatic emergency braking systems with forward collision warning and crash imminent braking reduce rear-end crashes by half, and still by more than a quarter with forward collision warning alone.

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