Ask anyone who has survived a serious rear-end collision about the experience, and they will likely tell you that one of the most frightening moments of the entire ordeal was seeing a vehicle barreling toward them in their rearview mirror. Indeed, they may even describe it as one of those moments where their lives flashed before their eyes.
As frightening and utterly devastating as rear-end crashes can prove to be, the good news is that automakers have actually made remarkable strides in creating technology designed to prevent them. Indeed, a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that vehicles outfitted with front-collision warning systems or automatic braking systems are far less likely to strike a vehicle from behind.
What's the difference between front-collision warning systems and automatic braking systems?
While both rely on sophisticated sensors and computer technology, automatic braking systems are designed to override driver control and bring the vehicle to a complete stop if it's determined that a rear-end crash is imminent. Front-collision warning systems differ in that they warn the driver if it's determined that a rear-end crash is imminent, but do not actually apply the brakes. Â
What did the IIHS study determine?
While a complete breakdown of the study is clearly beyond the scope of a single blog post, the IIHS essentially examined police records for nearly 7,500 rear-end crashes in 27 states from 2010 to 2014.
Researchers found that when vehicles are outfitted with automatic braking systems, the risk of rear-end crashes is reduced by 40 percent, and when vehicles are outfitted with front-collision warning systems, the risk of rear-end crashes is reduced by 23 percent.
Indeed, they determined that if all vehicles had been equipped with either of the systems studied back in 2013, there would have been 700,000 fewer rear-end collisions. Â
Is this equipment any closer to becoming standard on new models?
At the moment, roughly 61 percent of new vehicles sold in the U.S. offer front-collision warning systems as an option and roughly 41 percent offer automatic braking systems as an option. However, both are still rather costly options for consumers.
The good news, however, is that the price does appear to be coming down and at least 10 automakers have vowed to make automatic braking systems standard equipment on all new cars in the coming years.
Here's hoping this proves to be the case.
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of another, please consider meeting with a skilled legal professional to discuss your options as soon as possible.