More and more cars today are being equipped with Traffic Jam Assist, which is supposed to make driving in a jam more bearable.
But how does Traffic Jam Assist work? We explain what it does, what you can expect from it and how to use it safely.
TRAFFIC JAM ASSIST HELPS LESSEN FOOTWORK
If you’re familiar with Adaptive Cruise Control, then Traffic Jam Assist is pretty much an extension of it.
Traffic Jam Assist works when you approach traffic and slow to a crawl. With the system on, you can take your foot off the pedals.
Traffic Jam Assist brakes and accelerates the car for you, while maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front.
This is essentially a low-speed version of Adaptive Cruise Control.
Adaptive Cruise Control tries to maintain your set speed, but takes other vehicles into account.
Let’s say you set your cruising speed to 90km/h, but the vehicle in front of your car is only doing 80km/h due to traffic.
Adaptive Cruise Control will maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Your car will not travel at 90km/h.
TRAFFIC JAM ASSIST DOESN’T MEAN HANDS-FREE DRIVING – YET
Traffic Jam Assist works when the driver has his or her hands on the wheel. Most systems are designed to disengage if the driver’s hands leave the wheel for too long.
This is done to help ensure that the driver can take over in case of an emergency.
TRAFFIC JAM ASSIST HAS ITS DRAWBACKS
Like Adaptive Cruise Control, Traffic Jam Assist systems err on the side of caution and leave big gaps to the vehicle in front.
In places like Singapore, expect cars to filter into your lane. Impatient drivers behind you may even honk and/or flash their headlights.
Traffic Jam Assist isn’t very reactive either. An attentive driver who is situationally aware will be able to start accelerating the car faster, too.
Also, when you have been stationary for too long, the system won’t move the car when traffic starts to move.
You have to tap the accelerator pedal to “re-activate” Traffic Jam Assist.
USING TRAFFIC JAM ASSIST SAFELY
There is really only one rule to remember here: Never fully rely on or trust Traffic Jam Assist.
That means keeping your hands on the steering wheel at all times, and letting your foot hover over the brake pedal.
You never know when the system might fail to detect a car and end up “kissing” it.
Remember, until autonomous systems are perfected, a driver’s skill, experience and attention are still paramount.