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      An (Almost) Spoiled Joyride 

      Travis Smith is a Senior Simulation Engineer in Auburn Hills, MI. This is his #SafelyThere story. 

       What started as a normal spring afternoon could have ended much worse. As I backed out of my driveway to run an errand, I was surprised when my vehicle began to beep and abruptly stopped. My heart raced as I realized what had happened – I was looking one way and a neighborhood kid had sped across my driveway on his bike from the other direction.  

      I am grateful that my automatic emergency braking (AEB) kicked in just a second earlier than my own reaction – that one second could have changed everything. 

      The boy was able to continue his joyride, and hopefully he will be more aware the next time he is crossing a vehicle’s path.  

      Living in a suburban neighborhood, I am used to children playing outside in warm weather and I strive to remain aware of my surroundings. However, despite our best intentions, our awareness can be flawed. This experience reinforced my belief that advanced driver assistance systems do not replace the driver, but instead they assist when our own reflexes are not quick enough. 

      According to IIHS, backover crashes account for approximately 15,000 injuries annually – meaning that stories like mine are very common. I am grateful that my vehicle has a backup camera and AEB, because I know that without it my near-crash would have contributed to this statistic.  

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