Why do 40 percent of drivers fail to hit the brakes in a crash? It takes the average driver a little under a second to recognize there is a situation that might require the brakes. This grim percentage as part of a recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Even if a driver recognizes a problem, they might not be able to generate enough pedal pressure to stop the car.
The solution to this problem is pre-braking, assist, or other systems that can apply the brakes if a possible collision is detected. An IIHS survey concluded that these systems can prevent or lessen the impact in 1.9 million crashes a year – reducing injury to 66,000 occupants and the deaths of almost 900 others – in the U.S. alone.
Traffic safety research indicates that only about 40 percent of drivers involved in a crash applied the brakes. The majority do not even get their foot on the brake pedal, failing to identify the situation in time to take evasive action either due to distraction or by not looking far enough ahead.
This situation was first addressed by Mercedes-Benz about a decade ago when it developed a system that prepared the braking system for emergency stops. Further advances since then have led to some manufacturers offering systems that not only warn the driver of an imminent crash but are capable of applying the brakes and bringing the vehicle to a stop – without driver involvement.