In the fast-moving world of vehicle technology today’s gee-whizz equipment in expensive prestige cars is tomorrow’s standard equipment in affordable run-of-the-mill ones. That’s a good thing when it comes to safety equipment that can save lives in a crash or prevent those crashes in the first place.
Technology like Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning and Blind Spot Detection is now just standard equipment on Hyundais, Kias, Toyotas, Fords and others making all who travel in them safer on the roads.
A recent article in American online publication Techradar got me thinking about the value of Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) as a safety feature.
ACC is an advance on ordinary cruise control that sets your vehicle’s speed so that with your foot off the accelerator the same speed is maintained whether you’re driving on the level, uphill or downhill. The problem with that, of course, is when a slower moving vehicle is in your path you have to manually switch it off and take control of that accelerator or brakes yourself. ACC solves all that by detecting the vehicle in front of you then applying the throttle or brakes when required. It does so using sensors and radar to lock onto the vehicle in front.
Once considered unimaginably hi-tech, ACC is becoming increasingly available in everyday vehicles such as the Kia Sportage, most new Mazdas, the Ford Mondeo, Skoda’s Octavia and Superb and other vehicles.
Now you may have considered ACC as nothing more than a convenience feature that saves you from flicking that cruise control on and off in traffic but it’s much more than that. For starters it’s really the foundation technology for future semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles. And as John Brandon argues in the Tech Radar article, it’s also an important safety feature. In fact, he goes so far as to argue it should be standard on all cars.
He uses the example of being in a traffic jam and you haven’t noticed that the car in front has suddenly braked. In such cases ACC is there to save you ploughing into the back of it. In other words when your attention lapses, the ACC doesn’t.
“The issue is that we can’t be 100% aware of traffic at all times ... we’ve all been in situations where you look down for a split second at coffee spilling or look back to see a kid crying and that’s just when a car pulls in front of you. ACC is a major safety feature hidden in the guise of a convenience feature,” Brandon says.
For these reasons he thinks making ACC standard on all cars is a “no brainer”, and he may have a point. It’s worth pointing out that a lot of equipment once considered at the very front line of technological innovation is now deemed essential for 5-star safety ratings, or is simply mandatory these days.
And it’s also worth remembering that virtually all new cars are safer than virtually all old models. If you’re not driving a late model car with all the safety features to keep you and your family safe then you have to ask yourself: why?
If it’s time you upgraded your car to a newer, safer model then pick up the phone and speak to Fleetcare today on 134 333 for an obligation free chat about a novated lease. A Fleetcare novated lease is sure to save your money and it might just save your life as well.