1 Advanced Safety Feature Should Be on Your Next Car, Consumer Reports Says

Car safety technology has come a long way, making driving much less dangerous. Though vehicles still aren’t as safe as they could be, advanced safety features are mitigating road risks. One example is automatic emergency braking. Consumer Reports says this advanced safety feature should be on your next vehicle. Here’s why.

What is automatic emergency braking, and why is it important?

advanced safety feature, automatic emergency braking, AEB
Test drivers sit in a test vehicle during an automatic emergency braking maneuver | Christophe Gateau/picture alliance via Getty Images

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is a feature or system designed to stop or slow a car on a collision course with another object. Typically, AEB uses cameras and sensors to check for obstacles in front or behind the vehicle, depending upon the driving direction. If it senses obstacles, the feature will check the car’s speed and whether the driver is engaging the brakes.

If it determines a crash is imminent, it will engage the brakes without driver input. Depending upon the vehicle’s speed, AEB can help prevent a collision, reduce injury severity, and mitigate damage to the car.

There’s also the front collision warning (FCW) system, which sometimes works in conjunction with AEB. As the term implies, it gives the driver audio and visual warnings of an impending crash and might prompt the AEB system to engage.

A 2017 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study involving General Motors vehicles with these safety systems revealed 43% fewer front-to-rear crashes than those without the features. In unavoidable collisions, these systems reduced injuries by 45% for the involved parties and 44% for third parties.

AAA weighs in on advanced safety features

The American Automobile Association also conducted an independent study on these advanced safety features’ ability to prevent crashes. For the study, AAA used Hyundai Highway Driving Assist, Tesla Autopilot, and Subaru EyeSight. The association eventually found deficiencies in all three systems.

For instance, most couldn’t detect oncoming cars crossing the center line on a straight road. Consequently, they couldn’t engage the brakes. Even the exception, Tesla Autopilot, couldn’t brake in time to avoid a collision. In addition, Subaru’s system couldn’t detect a cyclist suddenly crossing the vehicle’s path a short distance ahead.

However, there were instances where the systems worked, such as when the cyclist and vehicle were in the same lane and headed in the same direction. So Consumer Reports still insists that buyers seek models with AEB technology on their next vehicle purchase. CR adds that despite AEB’s limitations, this advanced safety feature has a proven record of reducing crashes.

Vehicles with AEB as a standard advanced safety feature

A dozen major car manufacturers — such as Subaru, Tesla, BMW, Mazda, and Toyota — include AEB systems in nearly all of their latest models, Consumer Reports says. Notably, this advanced safety feature is not exclusive to expensive cars. You can even find AEB in the affordable 2022 Subaru Impreza as part of Eyesight Driver Assist Technology. A new Impreza starts at only $19,295.

Tesla also includes AEB as standard equipment on the Model 3. Though this advanced safety feature is always on, the EV maker provides instructions for disabling AEB. However, it’s worth noting that drivers can disable it only for the current drive, and it will automatically turn on the next time the vehicle starts. Nevertheless, users are highly discouraged against turning it off.

The RAV4 Prime, one of Toyota’s most popular SUVs, offers automatic emergency braking as part of Toyota Safety Sense. Also included in the suite are pedestrian alert, lane-tracing assist, road sign assist, and more.

RELATED: 3 Consumer Reports TikTok Videos That Are a Goldmine of Car and SUV Info