How Do Collision Avoidance Systems Work?

Sep 8, 2017

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), one of the most effective measures for keeping cars and drivers safe on the road is the development of collision avoidance technology. This new technology helps alert drivers when a potential collision is imminent by monitoring drivers and other vehicles with sensors, AI technology, and cameras. Collision avoidance systems can alert the driver through sounds or lights or even in some cases, like automated braking systems, help you prevent a car accident or serious injury by partially applying some of your vehicle’s braking power.

These systems make roads safer and decrease motor vehicle accidents, potentially preventing traumatic brain injuries, reducing car accident victims, avoiding drunk drivers and buzzed driving accidents, and reducing common injuries from car accidents. In other words, collision avoidance technology is the wave of the future.

With support from large organizations such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it’s tempting to think car accident avoidance technology is the greatest thing since sliced bread. In many ways, it is, but there are also some potential pitfalls of the burgeoning technology, such as the liability it creates for insurance companies and the possible legal fees that can occur from a malfunction. Collision avoidance technologies are by no means failproof, which can ironically increase the risk of physical injury, head injuries, fatality, and car accident lawsuits.

This blog takes a closer look at collision avoidance to understand how these systems work and the potential benefits and drawbacks to the technology. As with most other technology advancements, there is good news and bad news. It reviews how effective these advanced systems can be at reducing automobile wrecks while at the same time causing some confusion regarding the at-fault driver or who the negligent party is in a car accident case.

Paul Wilkinson Law Firm is a team of experienced Denver car accident attorneys who fight to achieve maximum compensation for their clients. Whether you have minor injuries such as whiplash, or more serious injuries such as a concussion, we investigate your case to ensure you achieve fair compensation.

We take accident victims’ expenses into account, such as their medical bills, property damage, economic damages, and any non-economic damages. Call Paul today to find out what a trusted car accident lawyer can do for your case.


Also known as driver assistance systems, this advanced technology is essentially a safety system designed to prevent collisions between motor vehicles. Each collision avoidance system looks a little different, but for the most part, they utilize AI technology, sensors, and dash cams to detect an imminent collision. Once detected, the vehicle will alert the driver, or even in some cases, respond automatically by pumping the vehicle’s brakes to prevent the car accident.

As crash avoidance systems advance and their algorithms account for more potentially hazardous conditions, more and more auto makers are outfitting their new vehicles with these driving systems.


There are several different types of collision avoidance systems. While each one works uniquely, and it is up to automakers to decide which ones to implement, they all serve the similar purpose of preventing auto collisions. Here’s a closer look at the most popular features:

Collision Avoidance Features:

Adaptive Cruise Control:

Adaptive cruise control is a preventative collision avoidance feature. These tools help prevent rear crashes by utilizing radars and lasers and implementing imminent braking systems. Not only do these systems help you relax on the road, but they also issue collision warning systems that help assist you in your driving experience.

Automatic Emergency Braking:

Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB): AEB is another brake system that helps prevent potential hazards. This system uses feedback from sensors to control automatic braking while issuing both forward-collision warnings and helping you avoid obstacles on the road.

Rear Automatic Braking: This collision warning system issues imminent braking when using reverse on your vehicle.

Electronic Stability Control (ESC): In inclement weather conditions, ESC uses sensors to automatically apply brakes when your vehicle struggles to maintain traction. This system determines which brakes to apply and appropriate acceleration depending on where the traction issues reside.

Parking Assist: Parking assist uses sensors and assisted steering to guide you into the appropriate parking space while controlling your speed and steering angle.

Forward Collision mitigation.

This type of collision avoidance measures the speed of your vehicle, any vehicles in front of you, and the change in distance between your vehicles. If the vehicles get too close, the car will alert the driver.

Lane Departure Warning System.

Even experienced drivers will occasionally drift into other lanes. Lane departure collision avoidance is designed to signal drivers when they do so and can also effectively avoid rear crashes from other cars when changing lanes. Lane departure warning comes in handy with cars lower to the ground who have trouble seeing the whole road.

Pedestrian detection.

Collisions with pedestrians occur most often at intersections. Pedestrian detection uses sensors to detect movement on the road to prevent these collisions between vehicles, pedestrians, or cyclists at intersections and alerts the driver so they can effectively respond.

Collision Avoidance Efficacy

In a recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, researchers found that collision avoidance tech effectively prevents many types of car accidents in Colorado and throughout the U.S. The vice president for research at IIHS said that collision avoidance tech is “saving lives.”

Furthermore, she added that anti-crash technology warning systems are working as intended. In its study, the IIHS found that collision avoidance systems reduce single-vehicle, sideswipe, and head-on car crashes by 11 percent. Moreover, injury-inducing car crashes of the same types get reduced by 21 percent when drivers operate vehicles equipped with anti-crash systems.

The findings by IIHS are interesting because they do more than simply show the effectiveness of these collision avoidance systems. The results also demonstrate that it’s likely that many drivers disable their crash avoidance technology. The researchers at IIHS found that car accident and injury reduction numbers were low compared to findings from other studies that tracked US fleet vehicles and Volvo cars in Sweden. Researchers in those studies found a 50 percent reduction in crash rates when collision avoidance systems were included in a vehicle and actively utilized by the driver.

Drawbacks to Crash Avoidance Technology

Whether you have a Toyota or BMW, your new car likely has some form of crash avoidance technology, but how much can we trust this technology, and how does it account for determining fault in car accident law?

Can its drawbacks potentially cause serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, concussions, or even fatalities? Can we rely on this technology to detect pedestrians at intersections every time, or could one failure prove you guilty of negligence and put you behind bars?

Car crash avoidance technology poses a few potential legal implications. The first has to do with the insurance company. Insurance companies use insurance adjusters to determine the extent of property damage and determine whether a claim is legitimate. If someone is involved in a car wreck caused by crash avoidance technology, who the police assign designate as the negligent driver, and who will wind up bearing the impact of the personal injury lawsuit?

All of these questions display how car accident attorneys and car accident law itself may have to adjust to accommodate car crash avoidance technology. Insurance companies, adjusters, and police officers filing police reports will also have to shift their focus to better account for the challenges these emerging technologies pose.

TOP CARS WITH Crash Avoidance Technology

In recent years, crash avoidance technology has become much more common in new cars and trucks. Here are just a few of the top-rated vehicles that come equipped with advanced automated safety features.

1. 2021 Genesis G80.

This car comes with automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-control assistance.

2. 2021Audi A8.

This new Audi comes with predictive suspension that raises the side of your car in the event of a collision. There’s also a laser scanner that works with the front camera to detect other vehicles’ motion.

3. 2021 Nissan Altima.

This model is equipped with a one-of-a-kind Safety Shield 360 that combines automatic braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and forward collision mitigation.

4. 2021 Subaru Outback.

Subaru’s patented EyeSight technology includes adaptive cruise control, driver-focus monitoring, forward collision mitigation, and automatic emergency braking.

5. 2021 Tesla Model 3.

For those interested in a safe and environmentally friendly vehicle, this car is for you. The new Tesla Model 3 comes with adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, emergency lane departure avoidance, and emergency braking.


The federal government’s support in organizations such as the NHTSA shows how car accident avoidance systems are here to stay. Automobile manufacturers show no signs of ramping down. This is understandable considering crash avoidance systems reduce the likelihood of accidents.

However, they do not eliminate this risk. In 2021, we stand at an intersection between the benefits technology brings and how to account for their inherent bugs. How automobile manufacturers continue to adapt to the emerging issues will dictate how easy the transition to car accident avoidance technology will be.

Motorists who have been injured in car accidents by negligent drivers should reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney. These professionals can help you understand your accident, assess your case, and determine whether or not you’re eligible for financial compensation.

Here at the Paul Wilkinson Law Firm, our team of experienced personal injury attorneys is dedicated to helping those involved in a wide range of personal injury cases, including car accidents. We can help assess your case, educate you on your rights, and help you receive financial compensation if your case warrants it. If you’re ever involved in a car accident, don’t hesitate to Call Paul and contact us at 303-333-7285 for more information today.

The Paul Wilkinson Law Firm | Website | + posts

The Paul Wilkinson Law Firm is a team of personal injury attorneys in Denver, CO serving victims of car, truck and motorcycle accidents. Each of our lawyers is licensed with the Colorado State Bar (CBA) and specialize in injury law.

We've recovered tens of millions of dollars in personal injury settlements and verdicts for our clients. For 13+ years we've helped thousands of people get back on their feet after experiencing serious injuries. We will take your case to trial and get the maximum settlement possible.

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