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Common Ground

A homeowner in Waukesha for 20 years, Steve is president of the Waukesha Dog Parks Organization and enjoys motorcycling, fishing and staying on top of politics.

A Leap Forward In Car Safety

Some of you may know that my daughter-in-law and granddaughters were kill in a rear-end car crash. In the recent years some high-end automakers have been introducing cars that have sensors connected to the braking system that will engage the brakes when a hazard presents itself. I believe the first was Mercedes Benz and recently I've seen commercials for some other high end named cars that offer something similar.

I was surprised and excited when I saw that Subaru now offers a system like that too. As I presently have a Subaru and am considering a new car, I visited Wilde Subaru to see when the feature is available. I was told that it is available now and would I like to drive a car with it?

The system is called Eye-Sight. It is available on the Outback wagon. Unlike some other cars that use sensors, Eye-Sight uses a pair of cameras. This gives the car the ability to see much like we see and judge distance and rate of closure. This is an advantage over sensors because it can also "see" the lane lines and warn the driver if the car is crossing a lane if the turn signal isn't being used.

While I couldn't test the accident avoidance system without scaring the bejeezers out of the salesman and the people in the car in front of me, I did enjoy another feature that it has, intelligent cruise control.

This is a feature that you can enjoy every day. I drive on the interstate much for my job and using the cruise control is difficult. Usually I will be a little faster or a little slower than the car ahead of me. The Eye-Sight allows the car to lock on the car in front of you. There is a button that allows you get a little closer or further from the lead vehicle. If you pull into the other lane, the car will accelerate to the speed that you had set. This is the first cruise control that I've seen where you can set the actual MPH that you want the cruise control to maintain. But that is not all that it does. This next feature is like having a robot drive your car!

As I was driving on the bypass and locked on to the car in front of me, there was a red traffic light ahead on East Avenue. As the car in front of me slowed, the Subaru slowed. As the car came to a stop, the Subaru came to a stop a reasonable distance behind the car in front of me, all the time my feet were on the floor!

The Subaru continued to stay stopped by itself. When the traffic light turned green and the car ahead of me began to go, the Subaru also resumed following it! All the time my feet were on the floor and off the pedals! All I needed to do was turn the steering wheel and even then, if I drifted left or right, the Subaru sounded an alarm and flashed a light on the dash warning me of the lane change.

One of my commute problems to and from work is stop and go traffic. This Subaru with Eye-Sight will take the footwork load off the driver and prevent bumping the car in front if you if distracted. Amazing! I have to wonder what traffic would be like if all the cars on the road had this feature and would communicate between each other. That day will come I am sure.

Distracted drivers are a big problem. I encounter them nearly every day. Coworkers will often comment that they also have had issues with drivers more interested in their cell phone than driving the car.

The Subaru Eye-Sight feature can save the lives of passengers in the car and people in other cars, as would have been the case with Jennifer, Courtney and Sophia. One can argue about seat belts and air bags and how they may infringe on our freedoms and liberties, but technology such as the Subaru Eye-Sight can save others. It can't come soon enough for ALL cars and trucks!


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