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Research: Bad Weather Impedes Vehicle Safety Systems

A car driver's point of view perspective looking through the rippled water drenched windshield and sweeping wipers during a winter rain storm downpour toward the defocused illuminated headlights of an approaching car.

An Indiana car accident lawyer discusses the dangers

Many vehicles include vehicle safety systems, also known as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), designed to help reduce the risk of car accidents. Features such as adaptive cruise control and emergency braking use technology to identify potential hazards and take steps to prevent a potential collision.

But new research from AAA has found that these features can suffer performance issues in bad weather.

“Vehicle safety systems rely on sensors and cameras to see road markings, other cars, pedestrians, and roadway obstacles,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering and industry relations. “So naturally, they are more vulnerable to environmental factors like rain.”

Systems testing in wet weather conditions

AAA simulated rainfall during closed-course testing to observe the function of these features. They found that test vehicles with features of automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance suffered a breakdown in performance.

Automatic emergency braking was tested while the vehicle approached a stopped car. At 25 mph, there was a collision in 17% of test runs. At 35 mph, there was a collision in 33% of test runs. Vehicles with lane-keeping assistance engaged veered outside of the lane markings 69% of the time.

Engineers simulated rainfall with a system they designed that used a reservoir to hold water, a high-pressure pump, and a precision injector nozzle aimed at the windshield.

“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 within their day-to-day driving,” said Bannon.

AAA notes that no vehicle safety system is a replacement for an engaged and attentive driver. In wet conditions, they advise drivers to:

  • Slow down
  • Avoid hard braking and sharp turning
  • Follow in the tracks of other vehicles
  • Increase following distance to 5-6 seconds
  • Do not use cruise control
  • Ease off the gas to decrease speed if the car begins to hydroplane, and don’t slam on the brakes

An experienced lawyer can help after an accident

Whatever the weather, it only takes one negligent driver to cause an accident that can leave you with serious injuries. Medical expenses add up quickly. You may not be able to work and suffer a loss in income. It can take time to get your life back on track.

If another driver was responsible for your accident, you deserve financial compensation. But negligent drivers often deny doing anything wrong. They may even try to blame you for what happened. Insurance companies are supposed to help, but they are mostly concerned with protecting their profits. Make no mistake about it: they will try to pay you as little as possible.

At Vaughan & Vaughan, our attorneys have been fighting for the injured in Greater Lafayette since our founding in 1913. We understand the impact that injuries from a crash can have on victims and their families. That's why we're committed to building strong cases and helping clients recover the compensation they deserve.

If you were hurt in an accident, it’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an Indiana car accident lawyer. We can review the details of your accident, go over your legal options, and answer any questions that you have. We have six offices in Indiana, including Indianapolis and Lafayette.

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