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How Brake Assist Works

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brake light braking
Brake assist is just one modern safety system that helps reduce the risk of collisions
Photo: Lothar Wandtner via CC

Brake assist systems might have different names, depending on the make and model of the vehicle, but they have the same result: helping you stop faster in emergency situations. Here’s a brief overview of how this technology works.

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What brake assist is and why it’s important

According to Lifewire’s Jeremy Laukkonen, brake assist systems come in one of two designs. Either they have pre-set thresholds to know when extra braking force is needed, or they continuously learn and adapt to an individual driver’s braking habits. When the technology senses that the driver is implementing an emergency stop, it automatically applies extra stopping power. This helps the vehicle come to a total stop faster and within a shorter distance.

According to a 2015 study, only about 10 percent of drivers applied sufficient braking power during emergency stops. A recent statistic from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that automatic emergency braking systems have the potential to reduce rear-end collisions by 40 percent in the U.S.

The future of brake assist technology

Europe has led the way to implement AEB as a legal requirement that vehicles must meet. The U.S. has followed suit. Many mainstream automakers (including GM) have promised that by 2022, all units will include automatic emergency braking as a standard feature.

By all appearances, it seems that brake assist is here to stay for the foreseeable future. It will be interesting to see what other driver-assist tools become mandatory as more automakers continue to push the boundaries of safety tech.

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