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Researchers: Bad Weather Has a Bad Effect on Vehicle Safety Systems

Driving in Rain at Night

A Colorado car accident lawyer explains why

Automotive manufacturers love to tout the latest in safe driving technology when advertising their vehicles. Known as advanced driver assistant systems (ADAS), they include everything from adaptive cruise control and anti-lock brakes to collision avoidance and lane departure warnings.

Unfortunately for motorists, these systems are far from infallible and don't always prevent drivers from causing car accidents. In bad weather, in fact, they can be downright dangerous, according to AAA research. In testing on closed courses in simulated rainfall, AAA found:

  • Vehicles with automatic braking systems traveling at 35 mph hit stopped vehicles 33% of the time.
  • Vehicles with lane-keeping systems drifted out of their lane 69% of the time.
  • Something as simple as a dirty windshield compromised ADAS technology.
  • Vehicles failed to stop in simulations for pedestrians crossing in front of a vehicle, children running out between parked vehicles, and people walking at night.

The problem is that advanced safety systems depend on sensors and cameras to identify road markings, vehicles, pedestrians, obstacles, and other potential traffic hazards. The systems, therefore, have trouble “seeing” through rain, snow, fog, and other less-than-ideal weather conditions.

The human safety system

The key takeaway from the study is that there is no substitute for an alert driver behind the wheel, no matter how well-equipped the vehicle is with the latest safety systems. The first step for motorists is to read the vehicle owner’s manual to learn how each safety system operates, its proper use, and its limitations.

When driving in the rain and other poor weather, AAA advises:

  • Keeping the windshield clean to maximize visibility. Replace the wipers on a regular basis as soon as they show any signs of wear and streaking.
  • Slowing down to decrease your stopping distance.
  • Avoiding hard braking and sharp turns so you do not alarm other motorists.
  • Allowing yourself more time for emergency maneuvers by driving 5 to 6 seconds behind the vehicle immediately in front of you.
  • Disengaging cruise control, which forces you to pay a little more attention and enables you to react more quickly to hazards.
  • Easing off the accelerator gradually if the car begins to hydroplane. Continue looking and steering in the desired direction until the tires regain traction. Do not brake, which decreases traction.

Legal help is available for crash victims

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you have recourse through the civil justice system. Depending on the specific details of your accident, you may be able to pursue compensation for damages such as your medical bills, lost wages, replacement services, your pain and suffering, and potentially more. The problem is insurance companies care more about protecting their profits than paying crash victims what they deserve. That's why you need an attorney on your side who won't let insurance adjusters push you around.

At The Longo Firm, LLC, attorney Stephen A. Longo knows how to build strong cases and deal with insurance companies. Let our law firm handle every aspect of your injury claim and fight for the compensation you need and deserve.

Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, we serve the entire state, as well as car accident victims in Arizona. Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer.

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