Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florid...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Nov 15, 2020

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Forward collision warning systems are fairly new to many automobile manufacturers, however, the use of them have been implemented since 2005 to improve the safety of large commercial vehicles via a document from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

collision warning system

Although the document states forward collision warning systems are “voluntary requirements” (which is an oxymoron), the trucking industry was the first to be mandated by the DOT for safety of drivers on U.S. Highways.

The development of collision warning systems were in collaboration with:

  • Manufacturers

  • Insurance companies

  • Stakeholders in the trucking industry

  • Drivers

  • Academia

The development of warning systems in passenger vehicles

Mercedes-Benz, in 2002, was the first manufacturer to unveil a system using ESP sensors to measure steering with lasers and lateral acceleration. The system was combined with Brake Assist sensors to detect emergency braking. The BAS system could do the following:

  • Tighten seat belts.

  • Adjust all seat positions.

  • Raise folded headrests.

  • Close the sunroof if a collision was detected.

  • Close any windows if a collision was detected.

In 2003, Toyota introduced PCS (Pre-Collision System) in Lexus and other Toyota brand vehicles, but wasn’t introduced to the U.S market until 2004. PCS uses a forward facing wave radar system which will do the following if a collision is unavoidable:

  • Tighten seat belts.

  • Remove any slack in the brake system for maximum stopping power.

By the year 2006, Toyota had improve the system to do the following in the event a collision is imminent.

  • Everything mentioned above.

  • Twin-lens camera located in the windshield.

  • A radar system which is more sensitive to detect objects such as pedestrians.

  • Near-infrared projector located in the headlights to allow the system to work at night.

  • Change suspension damper firmness.

  • Automatic steering adjustments to ensure the vehicle stays in the drivers lane.

The forward collision warning systems are technically “avoidance” systems and not warning.

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Fast forward to Nissan’s Safety Technology

In 2011, Nissan introduced Predictive Forward Warning Collision (PFWC) systems which brings automobile safety to a new level. The Infiniti Q-50 is the first vehicle in the U.S. Market as of 2013 with PFWC installed.

Nissan used the same radar-based sensor mounted in the front bumper. The question is, “How does the system detect two vehicles ahead?” The system is able to extend the radar’s range underneath the vehicle in front of the driver.

If the vehicle in front doesn’t brake in time to avoid an accident the system will alert the driver with an audible warning. If the driver ahead swerves out of the way the driver will get an audible and visual warning alerting the driver of an imminent collision which will tighten the seat belts.

Check out the video below to get a glimpse of Nissan’s new technology.

From trucks to passenger vehicles safety has been enhanced with state of the art technology to keep drivers safe on the roads. With such systems the safety rating of the vehicle is going to be higher which will help drivers save more on auto insurance. While many believe expensive cars cost more to insure this is not the case since insurance companies are going to use the safety rating.

If you want to buy an Infiniti Q-50, manufactured by Nissan, with a predictive forward collision warning system, the price tag may be hefty, however you will be driving one of the safest vehicles on the planet.

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