Your Automatic Braking System Just Shut Off - Why You Should Not Worry
Automatic emergency braking systems are now standard equipment on almost all vehicles. These systems can help us to avoid a forward collision, or mitigate the severity of a crash. However, they are not perfect. If your warning light is on, or if your Subaru, Toyota, Honda, or any brand of vehicle just told you the system has turned off don't worry. It is not broken (probably).
How Automatic Emergency Braking Works
The automatic emergency braking system in your car uses optical and radar-based sensors to determine if an accident is about to happen. The sensors can be blinded by the sun, or blocked by snow. They also have a hard time seeing through very heavy rain.
If you are driving in such a condition and the car sends you an alarm via a warning light or a message from your infotainment system, don't worry. It is temporary and the system will work again when the unusual weather passes.
No system is perfect. These safety systems are proven to be effective ways to reduce the occurrence of accidents. However, they need to also be affordable. So the designers opted to use affordable sensors that work in almost all conditions. But not every condition.
Should you drive differently when the system actuated? The chances are you are already doing your best driving when the weather is this bad anyway. Automatic braking systems work best when we at our normal level of alertness (or not paying attention).
If your warning light remains on as you drive take note if it returns the next time you restart the vehicle. The chances are it will reset on its own. If not, call your dealer for advice.
John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of battery thermal control designer. For 20 years he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career to chase his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin
Images by Maximus Goreham (Passenger). Subaru EyeSight owner's manual page courtesy of Subaru.