Useful supporting tools in road traffic – advanced driver assistance systems

In the future, driving will be increasingly supported by advanced driver assistance systems. These can partially take over certain driving tasks and prevent or mitigate accidents and additionally increase driving comfort.

The fact that advanced driver assistance systems can considerably increase driving safety is also indicated by evaluations of accident statistics. For example, up to 20% of accidents caused by distraction, fatigue or glare could have been prevented with a lane departure warning system respectively a lane keeping assistant.

Regarding rear-end collisions, evidence has been given that half of all drivers do not apply the brakes strongly enough or at all. An emergency braking system can prevent up to 40% of these rear-end collisions.

Older road users in particular can benefit from driver assistance systems, as theses systrems can partially compensate for age-related changes. Parking assistants, emergency braking and lane keeping assistants, as well as visibility enhancement systems such as light and night vision assistants are particularly recommended for older drivers.

Among other things, these systems can help to compensate reduced eyesight or slower movements due to age and therefore relieve the driver. For example, older people often suffer from limited mobility of the cervical spine. Parking assistants can compensate these limitations. In addition, they reduce the risk of failing to see pedestrians or cyclists when pulling out of a parking space.

Below you can find an overview of selected advanced driver assistance systems:

Advanced driver assistance systems focusing on road safety

Emergency braking assistant

Emergency braking systems warn drivers of possible collisions and increase the brake pressure if necessary. If an emergency braking manoeuvre is necessary, this will also be initiated automatically. In addition, sensors monitor the vehicle's surroundings and many systems meanwhile also detect/recognise pedestrians and cyclists.

Lane departure warning system / Lane keeping assistant

The lane keeping assistant detects edge markings on the road. If the vehicle approaches such a line, the system warns the driver - for example by a vibration of the steering wheel.

Light assistant / Headlamp Control

Light assistants control switching the dipped and main beams on and off. The headlights are adjusted to avoid blinding vehicles oncoming and ahead.

Night vision assistance system

The use of infrared cameras makes people, animals and objects visible on a display in the car in the dark, even when they are outside the headlight.

Lane change assist system

Lane Change Assist carefully monitors oncoming vehicles and those in the adjacent lane. If the driver starts to change lanes, it warns the driver of rapidly approaching vehicles and vehicles in the blind spot. Nevertheless, the system does not accurately detect pedestrians and cyclists.

Driver fatigue detectors / Drowsiness detection system

The driver fatigue warning system reacts to signs of decreasing concentration. If the system detects symptoms of fatigue (e.g., eye and head movements, wiggly driving), it warns the driver with an acoustic or visual signal and advises to take a break.

Advanced driver assistance systems focusing on driving comfort

Parking assistant

When passing, the parking assistant automatically measures the parkineg space with the hlp of ultrasonics. If the space is large enough, a signal is given, and the parking process can be initiated. The system steers, the driver only operates the accelerator and brake pedals and the gearstick.

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)

A sensor detects the traffic ahead and automatically adjusts the speed. If the vehicle driving in front brakes, the assistant maintains the desired distance by slowing down. When the lane is free again, it accelerates to the preset maximum speed.

It should be noted that many systems are currently only of limited use during bad weather.

Navigation devices can also be considered as driver assistance systems. More detailed information on this can be found in the blog „ What to check for driving safely – part 2”.

Hints for using advanced driver assistance systems

  • Remember that the assistance systems only increase safety if you remain focused at the wheel.

  • Remember that despite the use of advanced driver assistance systems, you as the driver remain fully responsible at all times.

  • When purchasing a new car, be sure to seek advice from a specialist on available advanced driver assistance systems.

  • Courses or trainings that include the explanation of advanced driver assistance systems are helpful. Such trainings are often offered by automobile clubs. Especially after buying a new car, a drivers' orientation and safety training is recommended, to become familiar with the new technology. This is especially important when using the adaptive cruise control (ACC), as its use requires some practice.

  • Further information on this topic can be found on the following websites, among others: ;

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