Are vehicle safety systems compromised in bad weather?

Are vehicle safety systems compromised in bad weather?
ADAS Consumer Education Homepage - News

Are advanced vehicle safety systems being compromised in bad weather? An article on was published subsequent to findings by the AAA that suggest they might be. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) were tested and appear to have underperformed in simulated bad weather tests. According to the AAA, “advanced safety systems are still no substitute for a fully engaged driver”.

The AAA in collaboration with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center ran tests on key safety systems in four SUVs from the 2020 model year. A Buick Enclave, Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota RAV4 and Volkswagen Tiguan were used. The ADAS systems were put to the test in simulated rain and other adverse environmental conditions, like bugs and dirt.

Cars equipped with forward emergency braking traveling at 25 mph nonetheless collided with a stopped vehicle 17 percent of the time. At 35 mph the vehicles crashed a whopping 33 percent of the time. One could assume there would be even higher percentages of system failures at highway speeds.

Closed-circuit Testing Findings

  • During simulated rain tests, the cars with forward emergency braking, travelling at 25 mph (approximately 40 km/h) collided with a stopped vehicle 17% of the time;
  • In the same conditions, at 35 mph, the cars crashed 33% of the time;
  • In ideal conditions testing, these vehicles did not crash;
  • Lane-keeping systems, when tested, showed a result of 17% of vehicles jumping the lanes in ideal road conditions;
  • Dirty or driving or bug-smashed windshields did not show any significant effect on the ADAS’ performance.

Listen to or read the full article Rain Dropped: AAA Says Driver Assist Systems Can Fail In Poor Weather

Advanced safety systems are no substitute for a fully engaged driver.

Staying Safe When Driving In Bad Weather

According to the article, the AAA Recommends that consumers with ADAS-equipped vehicles take the following precautions in bad weather:

  • Keep the windshield clean;
  • Ensure that wipers are not streaking the windshield—if you can’t see the road clearly, don’t expect the ADAS sensors to do any better;
  • Slow down and drive smoothly;
  • Increase your distance from the traffic ahead. If you can, follow in the tracks of other vehicles;
  • Avoid using cruise control to remain alert to changing conditions;
  • Respond quickly if the car’s tires begin to lose traction and if the vehicle begins to skid, gradually decrease speed until the tires regain traction. Continue to look and steer in the direction you want the car to go.
  • Don’t slam on the brakes, which can only aggravate the situation.

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