Car safety technology

Looking to buy a used car soon.  I’m struggling with the new safety technology available and whether it is worth getting a newer car to take advantage of things like lane departure warning, blind spot monitor/rear cross traffic alert, intelligent cruise control, forward / rear emergency braking, 360 degree camera, etc.  Do I spend a couple of grand more to get more of these features?  I read about some cars hitting the automatic brake on the highway for no reason making the car less safe which makes me second guess this tech.  

I drive a 15 year old car so I don’t even have a backup camera.  Anyone have experience / feedback with these technologies?


Consumer Reports just published this article on the current state of active driver assistance systems: https://www.consumerreports.org/car-safety/cadillac-super-cruise-outperforms-other-active-driving-assistance-systems/  The takeaway seems to be there's a pretty wide variation in how well these systems perform.  

I've driven a 2020 Civic with it installed, and the lane keeping system/radar cruise control work acceptably when you've got good lane markings and clear weather, but fall down otherwise. I thankfully never had the occasion to test any of the emergency braking capability, but it never activated itself on its own accord either.


Wow, great article.  Seems like the cars I am looking at aren’t rated super well for this technology so I can save some money and get an older model.

If anyone else  has real life experience with this tech I’d love to hear about it. 



It save my friend's life. We were on a road trip. Me, 2018 Sonata with forward collision avoidance. He was on his motorcycle and directly in front of me. We were stopped for a red light on an 8 lane highway. 

Light changed. Mike proceeds to go forward as did I. Suddenly, an ...hole decides to cut across the four lanes, from left most lane to make a right hand turn onto a side street. Mike stopped to avoid hitting the dillwad and I was beginning to stop with my foot moving from the gas pedal to the brake BUT the F.C.A. system engaged before I could hit the brake. 

Without that happening, I would have hit the bike at about 3 m.p.h.


i found the lane departure alarm to be annoying, unless they improved, it would go off when you purposely changed lanes.


jmitw said:

i found the lane departure alarm to be annoying, unless they improved, it would go off when you purposely changed lanes.

 Not if you use your turn signal.


You get an insurance discount with the safety tech-- my insurance decreased going from an 8-year-old used car with no safety technology to a new one with lane departure (which I turned off, too annoying), forward collision (which has helped me more than once), and blind spot monitor (also helpful).


Great info all, thanks!


Steve said:

jmitw said:

i found the lane departure alarm to be annoying, unless they improved, it would go off when you purposely changed lanes.

 Not if you use your turn signal.

 I don't remember exactly, but I was test driving a car about 10 years ago and merging onto a highway and didn't know about the alarm....  I normally use a signal when changing lanes, from what I remember it did go off after that.


jmitw said:

Steve said:

jmitw said:

i found the lane departure alarm to be annoying, unless they improved, it would go off when you purposely changed lanes.

 Not if you use your turn signal.

 I don't remember exactly, but I was test driving a car about 10 years ago and merging onto a highway and didn't know about the alarm....  I normally use a signal when changing lanes, from what I remember it did go off after that.

 Older ones used to get confused by tar lines in the road.  I’m told newer ones can now differentiate between tar repairs and painted lines. 


I’ve had the brakes slammed on me- totally deserved it.  I have actually changed my driving habits ( the machine has “learned” me)

2018 Subaru Forester 


Also, look closely at the description of exactly what happens regarding the automatic braking. Some attempt to make a complete stop before a collision but not all of them. I love our new CRV (I cannot believe I went without one for so long) but instead of forcing a stop, it has a collision mitigation system. It warns the driver in a sequence. First is a visual warning on the dash right in front of your eyes. Second is a loud beep warning and then the brakes automatically come on if you haven't responded yet. BUT, it only slows the car way down, not to a complete stop. It gives the driver a little more time to react but it is not like Subaru's EyeSight tech.

I've never tried this but it would be an interesting experiment to suspend a tarp or banket like a wall somewhere, like from a clothesline type setup. Nothing behind it so you could easily drive right through without damage. Then drive your car up to it at various speeds and see what the experience is like. 

Obviously, you would want a spotter to make absolutely sure no one is behind the blanket. Or maybe use one of those 4-6 mil plastic drop cloth sheets. You can see through them but the radar would still get triggered.


Three Hyundais with collision avoidance since 2015.  All three stopped the car, stone dead still.  


I have a 2016 Outback with Eyesight, Subaru's collision avoidance system.  I like it.  I have managed to activate just about every part of it at some point or other, but always within the scope of expected functionality (it has probably stopped me from hitting the bucket of snowmelt in the garage more than once).  It does ping and beep more than my '98 Odyssey did, but it also has accumulated dents at a much slower pace.  Active cruise control alone has been worth the price of the system.  Lane change/blind spot warning system is a New Jersey necessity. 


ril said:

You get an insurance discount with the safety tech-- my insurance decreased going from an 8-year-old used car with no safety technology to a new one with lane departure (which I turned off, too annoying), forward collision (which has helped me more than once), and blind spot monitor (also helpful).

 ...by how much? 


For me it was a decrease of about $75 when I got a new Hyundai. I don't know what it might be in your area, I'm in a different state now.


All of this is very helpful, thanks!




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