One of the things we miss the least in this age of Covid-19 is wrangling the clogged LA freeways during our daily commutes.  And one hope we have for the other side of this crisis is that this temporary ebb in traffic, stress, road rage and traffic collisions inspires us all to do better for the long haul.  Right now, our roads are safer simply because far fewer people are driving on them. When stay-at-home orders are lifted and trips to the office begin in earnest again, we’d argue that demand for and usage of the new advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) making their way into millions of vehicles will be one small, but important factor in driving a long-term reduction in auto accidents.

Safety has been a primary focus for car manufacturers for decades and is even more critical now. With the help of AI and technology, advanced safety features in cars are becoming the standard. According to Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, “When properly utilized, ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) technologies have the potential to prevent 40 percent of all vehicle crashes and nearly 30 percent of traffic deaths.” With this in mind, companies like Volvo, Ford and Honda have standardized ADAS in the majority of their 2020 models. Other companies are going beyond typical ADAS features, and have added Level 2 autonomous capabilities in their cars as well. Companies like Tesla and Nissan have incorporated both sophisticated safety features and level 2 semi-autonomous capabilities into their vehicles. This means that with Tesla’s Autopilot or Nissan’s ProPILOT you can monitor the road while the car does some of the driving! 

Next time you’re shopping for a car, take a look at what features come standard in the vehicles you’re considering to get maximum safety for your money. Below we’ve listed the five safety features that we will be looking for in our next cars and think you should be too.

Our top 5 car safety features (aka ADAS)

(It is important to note that although these features are very helpful, they do not replace you as the driver. ADAS features are there to assist, but you still are responsible for your car, so make sure you do not rely solely on these features.)

1. Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) + Forward Collision Warning (FCW)

   AEB: Your car automatically brakes when it detects a potential collision. 
    FCW: Visual and/or audible warning intended to alert the driver and prevent a collision.
  • Stats: Forward Collision Warning + Automatic Emergency Braking reduced rates of rear-end striking crash involvements with injuries by 42% and rates of rear-end striking crash involvements with third-party injuries by 44%.
  • Cars that have it:  Comes standard on 2020 Honda Civic, 2020 Subaru Outback, 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan, all 2020 Volvos, and more! 

2. Lane Keep Assist (LKA)

    Automatic corrective steering input or braking provided by the vehicle when crossing lane markings.
  • Stats: According to Consumer Reports, 65% of users say that they trust this system to work every time.
  • Cars that have it: Honda, Infinity, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla.

3. Assisted Driving with Auto Steer

    You monitor the road while the car drives itself.
  • Stats: “Automated vehicles’ potential to save lives and reduce injuries is rooted in one critical and tragic fact: 94% of serious crashes are due to human error.” - NHTSA
  • Cars that have it & system name: Tesla Autopilot, GM Super Cruise, Nissan ProPILOT, Audi Traffic Jam Assist, Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot, and Volvo Pilot Assistant. 

4. Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)

    While backing up, your car alerts you to approaching traffic.
  • Stats: 82% of AAA users trust this technology to work, 52% of users said it helped them avoid a crash. 
  • Cars that have it: Now comes standard on many vehicles. According to Consumer Reports, Hyundai, Lincoln, and Cadillac have the best systems.

5. Blind Spot Warning (BSW):

    Your car warns you when it detects something in your blind spot
  • Stats: 60% of users claimed it helped prevent a crash.
  • Cars that have highly rated blind spot warning: Genesis, Jeep, Lexus, Volvo.

We like these five ADAS features for our next cars because they’re popular with drivers and they’ve also shown improvements in collision prevention. According to AAA, if key ADAS (Blind Spot Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking/Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning/Lane Keeping Assist) were installed in all vehicles, these safety technologies would have the potential to prevent more than 2.7 million crashes, 1.1 million injuries and nearly 9,500 deaths each year.  While it’s impossible to know how many car accidents could be prevented if everyone used these features, having a good chance of preventing an accident is good enough for us!