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New auto safety tech - do you use it?
Old 05-05-2019, 12:01 PM   #1
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New auto safety tech - do you use it?

I bought my 2017 Honda Civic with the "Honda Sensing" package. I've only used part of the package (My previous car was from 2003, so I was getting used to the backup camera and right lane camera at the same time! And cruise control is seldom all that useful in NJ) But I've gradually been experimenting and finding myself growing more confident in the tech. Lane departure, which was the first thing I started using, is actually the least useful.

I rather like the lane-keeping function, though it wants steering assistance every 5 seconds or so. And - where do you put your hands? Just resting them lightly on the wheel is not that comfortable. And I just started using the "safe distance" function. I was astounded that it kept back a distance I was comfortable with. I though 4 car lengths was the max for that function, and that's not enough at 65 mph.

I haven't used the emergency stop tech yet. The braking notification already seems awfully sensitive, telling me to brake in some non-useful situations. I'll have to read up on it. Maybe it really does know the difference between a judgment call and an emergency.

But it's all so imperfect that I think self-driving cars - really useful ones, ones that are not just glorified trolleys on a set course - are much longer away than I thought.

But I bought this stuff and I'm going to use it. What about the rest of you?

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Old 05-05-2019, 12:06 PM   #2
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I do use it. Better yet, I called the insurance agent, told her what was all on the car, and got a good discount on the policy, even though I had given the model when we bought it and the features were standard.

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Old 05-05-2019, 12:11 PM   #3
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The prospect of getting all that safety tech to do the driving tasks that I am used to handling on my own, is part of why I haven't bought the new SUV I have been talking about. I will buy the least amount of safety tech possible, but honestly they all have a huge amount of it and I'd rather that it wasn't there.

My 2009 Venza does have a rear view camera, and I use it but don't rely upon it if that makes any sense. In other words, I turn around and LOOK like I always used to do, but then also glance into the rear view camera at the very last minute to make sure that no short kid or dog is right behind me in my blind spot.

It also has cruise control and I have never once used it in the ten years I have had my Venza. I'd rather drive it myself!
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Old 05-05-2019, 12:20 PM   #4
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I use the backup camera but still don't trust it fully and verify with my own eyes

I disable the lane departure function and have shut off the blind spot monitor. I use cruise control all the time, except in winter.
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Old 05-05-2019, 12:21 PM   #5
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Our cars don't have this tech (except for a BU camera, which I use like W2R does--as another source of information). I won't be seeking this tech out when we buy replacement cars, and I'm hoping cars suitable for our needs are still available without the gizmos in a few years. I use cruise control infrequently, though I suppose I might engage it more often if it was paired with some sort of following distance input.
Driving (including paying attention) is just not that strenuous IMO. Maybe I'll change my mind later.
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Old 05-05-2019, 12:24 PM   #6
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Since my neck has gotten stiff, I use the lane clear sensors all the time. The forward and rear sensors are a convenience, especially for low barriers.

The lane alert sensors are great except on lonely roads where I get a bit lazy.

I have an older car in Mexico so have to be cautious when I start driving it.
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Old 05-05-2019, 12:27 PM   #7
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I only have backaup cams as extra feature on two vehicles. In late sixties learned to backup using outside mirrors. Still use them, once in while remember to look at backup cams.
I do find ABS useful, it is much faster than pumping brakes.
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Old 05-05-2019, 01:15 PM   #8
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My cars are 17 & 21 years old so I am the TECH. I like it that way.

DW's 2013 Santa Fe has a back up camera which is nice, but I don't trust it as something (or someone) can dart in back of the car from either side without any warning.
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Old 05-05-2019, 01:23 PM   #9
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Adaptive cruise control is wonderful. In addition to the safety benefit of not rear-ending the car in front of you, it greatly reduces fatigue when driving long distances. No more braking when you get stuck behind a slower vehicle, passing, getting back up to speed then resetting the cruise...
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Old 05-05-2019, 01:40 PM   #10
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I find my truck sets off a lot of false positives for collisions in snow. It gets a little confused by large banks. Problem is if you don't pay attention it may be a real warning you missed. I use the back up camera but don't trust it. It's hard to keep it clear and usable in winter. Downhill assist is pretty weird, truck starts downshifting itself.
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Old 05-05-2019, 01:42 PM   #11
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Almost can't remember how things were without a backup camera.
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Old 05-05-2019, 01:43 PM   #12
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We don't have much in the way of safety tech. The pickup truck is a 2003 model so it doesn't have any other than a set of airbags. The 2014 Honda Accord has a backup camera which we use for that last two feet when backing up but not much else.

I use the cruise control frequently on both, but it's the "dumb" kind that will happily cruise into whatever happens to be in front of the vehicle.

Mostly I see all the "safety tech" as imperfect bells 'n whistles that will do little more than substantially add to my maintenance costs when they break. My first car didn't have so much as an automatic choke so I think I can survive the deprivation of not having all the latest gewgaws.

When they come out with a real fully automatic driverless car I'll be interested, but I strongly dislike things that only work sometimes. When they feel like it. And when the correct planets and stars are all properly aligned. Until then, they can keep the halfway measures.
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Old 05-05-2019, 01:48 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by aja8888 View Post
My cars are 17 & 21 years old so I am the TECH. I like it that way.
DW's 2013 Santa Fe has a back up camera which is nice, but I don't trust it as something (or someone) can dart in back of the car from either side without any warning.

Our two vehicles are also too old to benefit from the latest safety tech, but I did install a back up camera on the truck for better visibility and as an aid when hitching up the trailer.
By the time we replace them, collision avoidance (forward collision warning) w/automatic braking will probably be standard.

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Old 05-05-2019, 01:48 PM   #14
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When I got my 2014, I was advised against (possibly by my salesman) to avoid Subaru eyesight, because the 1st gen had trouble with trees on the curvy mountain roads I'd drive and would break for them.

Love my backup camera and use it every time. I'd like to get the one that has a 180 view so I can better see the sides as I'm backing out of a spot.

I use cruise control whenever I can to reduce fatigue, and keep my speed from varying too much, especially when I pass someone. I used to have a tendency to speed up when passing, and not slow back down all the way so my speed would creep. Adaptive cruise, that'd probably work, as long as it doesn't leave too big of a gap that makes people jump in all the time.

Blind spot detection sounds great, but if it's one of those things that works almost all of the time, will I rely on it and have it fail that 1% and cause a problem? I learned from the Car Talk guys how to adjust my mirrors to avoid blind spots.

Lane detection, doesn't sound like it's still quite ready to be relied on. Maybe the same with the braking thing, but maybe both are good aids I'd use.

I'm probably 2-5 years from replacing this car so we'll see what the state of these things are when I buy my next car.
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Old 05-05-2019, 01:50 PM   #15
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Subaru X Drive is something I don't use much, but when I do, it's really really helpful. It goes the braking and everything for me at a speed I set (under 18mph). Really helpful on a snowy/icy downhill where it can sense slippage a lot better than me.
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Old 05-05-2019, 02:01 PM   #16
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We just bought a 2019 Subaru Forester, which is our first car equipped with all this stuff. I've got it all turned on and I'm still learning how it works. So far I like it, especially the adaptive cruise control. The lane assist is OK but it's a little weird that it nudges you back into your lane. It's also our first back-up camera, which is very useful. I'm really liking Android Auto, which IMHO is exactly how all NAV and infotainment systems should work.
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Old 05-05-2019, 02:08 PM   #17
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I love the little warning lights on the side mirrors. The beeping and flashing red "rear ender" warning is a little jarring, but alll in all I like the new safety stuff.
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Old 05-05-2019, 02:09 PM   #18
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I love all the new hi tech on my car. The only thing I don’t use is the park assist for parallel or vertical parking. I find that with the camera and all round proximity sensors that I can handle reverse parking quickly and safely enough myself.

The rear view camera has quite a wide angle to help in viewing when backing out between high sided vehicles in a parking lot plus the rear passing alert is great if traffic is approaching while reversing, particularly in parking lots.

The adaptive cruise control works great, and it is easy to set how far you want to be from the car in front. Emergency Action Braking is something I use all the time as my car only just fits length wise into the garage so I drive forward slowly until the brakes activate and stop the car, then I inch it forward another foot or so. The EAB actually deployed once when a car launched itself from a side road into my lane while I was doing about 50 and the car started braking just before I managed to brake myself.

The lane check and assist is very easy to turn on and off so I have it off unless I am driving on a freeway when I find it useful to have on to warn and nudge if I drift out of lane either right or left.

Blind spot is a good 2nd check, but I still turn my head to look. I have also become used to using the auto dipping headlight feature. Where I live has country roads with lots of curves.
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Old 05-05-2019, 02:20 PM   #19
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We have rear parking radar and a rear camera. DW loves the camera, but I would gladly drop it to also have front parking radar.

We both love the speed limiter (we call it "inverse cruise control") feature that we've found on a few rental cars recently. You set a maximum speed and as you get up to it, the gas pedal basically stops working (but you can always kick down for a temporary override). This is great when driving in town or anywhere else where cruise control isn't a viable method of stopping you from going over the speed limit.
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Old 05-05-2019, 02:59 PM   #20
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We have a Volvo with all of the tech features. I use them all the time, especially on freeway driving. I had a horrible commute for several years (3+ hrs), so have a fair amount of experience and they’re mostly great. That said, all of these features are subject to failure in specific scenarios. I would *never* take my hands off the wheel unless maybe it was at 10-15mph, but even then cars can cut in and the tech doesn’t realize it.

They are meant to be additive, not replace the driver. So far, the only tech where I’ve never observed a failure is in the blind spot assistance. It’s so good that I’ve gotten lazier that I should be about checking over my shoulder.

A cloudy day with a whitish sky and a white car in front will cause almost all of the adaptive cruise controls to miss the car. A poorly painted lane or a crack in the asphalt can easily push you astray.

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