6 safety features that help drivers become more independent

Included are tips on how to properly use the six ADAS features.

6 safety features that help drivers become more independent

The word driving, in most situations, connotates a very involved activity where one’s attention and senses are captured by the act of controlling a vehicle. The latter, as per many driving instructors, is the right way to do it, but car technology nowadays has developed enough to provide some sort of help. 

What we’re referring to are the many advanced driver assist features found on modern cars. In a way, the latter contributes to a more independent driver—the kind that still pays attention to the road but is not totally beholden to the vehicle. 

Some of the features we’re referring to are adaptive cruise control, active lane keep assist, autonomous emergency braking, and automatic parking. Depending on the manufacturer, these may amount to semi-autonomous driving capability. 

But how does one properly use these features, and what are some locally available cars that come with them?

Adaptive Cruise Control

Adaptive cruise control (ACC) is an automated system that allows the vehicle to travel at a pre-set speed whilst maintaining a safe distance from another car. 

As one would expect, ACC makes for more relaxing drives, especially long distances. It can save drivers from fatigue brought about by the constant motion of applying the brakes, switching to the accelerator, and vice versa. 

Toyota AEB

The rules or guidelines on ACC usage can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. But in general, drivers are highly advised to be ready to apply the brakes as needed. Other brands likewise advise users to turn on the ACC with the foot on the brake, i.e., from a standstill. 

Some cars that use cameras and sensors for the ACC may not work in low visibility situations. As such, it would be better to handle all the driving during heavy rain, fog, and the like. 

Locally available cars that come with ACC include most luxury cars from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and the many sports car brands sold in the Philippine market. Individual examples from more mainstream car marques include the Subaru Crosstrek, Isuzu D-Max, Honda HR-V, Honda CR-V, Toyota Camry, and Toyota RAV4, among others. 

Lane Keep Assist

Lane Keep Assist (LKA) ensures that cars stay safely within a lane. As expected, it only works when road markings are present. 

In specific models, the LKA gets an emergency functionality that applies a more dramatic intervention to keep a car from running off the road. Otherwise, it applies gentle automated steering inputs to position the vehicle. The LKA likewise works in tandem with a lane departure warning system, which provides drivers with an audible warning when veering off a lane. 

Stargazer LKA in action

Users are advised to utilize the LKA on highways only for proper use. Also, cars equipped with this feature should take note that not all LKA systems might work on curved roads, hills, and intersections. Plus, roads with faded markings might yield potential issues with the system as well. 

Examples of cars sold in the Philippines that get versions of LKA include the Mazda 3, Toyota Alphard, Toyota Corolla Cross, Omoda 5 EV, and many others. 

Automatic Parking Assist

Parking can be challenging, especially for beginners. As such, many carmakers have sought to provide vehicles with an automatic parking assist feature. As the name suggests, this feature enables vehicles to move on their own into a marked parking slot. 

Some vehicles on the market with this feature are the Geely Coolray, BMW 7 Series, Ford Explorer, and Nissan Patrol

Coolray park assist

Like the other two features mentioned above, automatic parking assist systems rely on cameras and sensors to monitor a parking area’s markings. If there are no markings, the system might not work. 

In some vehicles, the system cannot react in time to fast-moving objects such as other cars, animals, and people. It will also see potential issues in adverse weather. 

Autonomous emergency braking

As per its name, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) works on its own automatically whenever the vehicle detects the potential of a crash. In most cars, this will work without the intervention of a user. Some models may also have similar functionality for reversing and side-to-side movement. 

How this works is that it can detect obstacles ahead of a vehicle’s path. When sensors and the car’s computer notice that it is getting to near and a collision is imminent, it automatically applies braking. 

According to a 2015 study conducted by the European Transport Safety Council, this feature has reduced the chances of rear-end collisions by 38 percent. The US-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety likewise claimed that it reduced forward collisions by 50 percent. 

So, in a sense, it's the kind of feature that you’d want on a car for peace of mind. The expansive list of cars in the Philippines that have AEB includes most cars with Toyota Safety Sense, Honda Sensing, most Subaru models, Mazda’s i-Activsense, Nissan ProPilot, etc. 

Automatic high beams

Automatic high beams are a safety feature that instantly lowers one’s headlamps to the low setting if coming across another vehicle from another lane. Essentially, it keeps other drivers on the road safe by preventing them from being blinded by your vehicle’s lamps.

automatic high beams

The most basic thing to remember about automatic high beams is to basically turn the feature on.

Driver Monitoring

Being drowsy has happened to the best of us. The latter holds true for veterans and beginners alike. To that end, some cars have a monitoring system that takes into account a driver's head, face, eye movements, etc.
Usually, the system uses a camera along with a computer familiar with the tell-tale signs of sleepiness. In many cars, an audible warning is emitted after the car judges that a driver is not fit to drive.
In some car models, the said system is also helpful for the prevention of distracted driving. As mentioned above, many of the ADAS features give drivers more independence since they make the act of piloting a car easier and more accessible. Then again, let us not forget that with independence comes responsibility. The latter, of course, is expected from drivers as they hold within their hands the safety of their car’s occupants, as well as other people on the road.

Photos from Toyota Motor Philippines, Hyundai Motor Philippines, Geely Philippines, Honda Cars Philippines

Also read: 

Here are some of the common ADAS features found in PH-spec cars

Cesar Miguel

Cesar Miguel

A car enthusiast who dreams to spread his love of automobiles through writing. If he isn’t penning stories about cars, he usually spends his time in the digital race tracks of Assetto Corsa.

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