Don’t trust these two features of cars when it’s raining


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Sudden heavy rain can make it difficult to see while driving. A new test has discovered that heavy rain can also block the “see” of your car’s security system, potentially putting you at risk.

According to an analysis by AAA, moderate to heavy rain can significantly reduce the performance of a vehicle’s safety system. In a closed-cycle test that used rainfall simulation, AAA found that:

  • Test cars with automatic emergency braking hit a parked vehicle 33% of the time when traveling at 35 mph
  • Vehicles using lane-keeping assist technology leave their lanes 69% of the time

AAA notes that vehicle safety systems are often evaluated under ideal operating conditions rather than using real-world conditions that drivers typically encounter.

In a press release, Greg Brannon, director of automotive engineering and industrial relations at AAA, said:

Vehicle safety systems rely on sensors and cameras to see road signs, other vehicles, pedestrians and road obstacles. So they are naturally more susceptible to environmental factors such as rain.”

In additional testing, AAA found that a dirty simulated windshield covered in a concentration of bugs, dirt, and water did not adversely affect the overall performance of the safety system.

However, the AAA notes that dirty windshields can still affect security system cameras, and the organization urges drivers to keep their windshields clean.

This isn’t the first time that AAA has revealed flaws in vehicle safety systems. Previous tests found that the compounds:

  • Struggling to stay in their lanes in moderate traffic, on curved roads and near busy intersections
  • Failure to stop for pedestrians in many situations, including when people are crossing in front of a vehicle or when a child contributes between two parked vehicles
  • Hit the disabled vehicles or swerve too close to other vehicles or guard rails

The AAA says such failures underscore the need for additional tuning of safety systems. For now, the AAA recommends drivers take steps such as:

  • Keeping the windshield clean
  • Avoid hard breaks and sharp turns
  • Stay behind the car in front of you for five to six seconds
  • Reducing the accelerator pedal – instead of applying the brakes – when the vehicle begins to drive the hydroplane

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