IT is that awful moment when you are stationary at traffic lights and you see in an instant a vehicle looming in the mirror that has no chance of stopping.
The inevitable result is that sickening rear crunch that we all fear with the resulting injuries and massive repair bills.
To anyone this has happened to the misery of it all is too real. But there are now systems that may help to alleviate, if not wipe out this type of crash which is all too prevalent.
It's all to do with the new Volkswagen Arteon Innovative driver assistance which can detect danger behind the car.
For the first time, the Pre-Crash sensors are able to react not only to processes relating to driving dynamics (detected by functions such as the ESC) and to acute risks of collision from the front (registered by Front Assist), but also to hazards at the rear.
For this the system uses data from Side Assist. Within fractions of a second it is able to initiate measures to lessen wherever possible the consequences of any accident.
Pre-Crash utilises the sensors of the Side Assist system, which during overtaking provides within the limits of its capabilities a warning of any vehicle in the 'blind spot'.
Via radar sensors Side Assist is able to register the position and speed of the cars behind the Arteon. This data is then analysed by the Pre-Crash system. It does this not only when the car is moving, but also when it is stopped with the engine running and in stop-start mode, e.g. at a red traffic light.
If the detected vehicle moves towards the Arteon, the system uses the position and speed of both cars to determine the probability of a possible collision. If the new Pre-Crash system detects an imminent risk, it duly reacts.
The hazard warning lights come on displaying the rear emergency collision alert signal and the system simultaneously closes all windows (except for a narrow gap that improves the bracing effect of the front head airbags) and the sliding sunroof. In parallel with this the belt tensioners pull the front safety belts taut.
Having experienced such a collision last year it is heartening to note that technology is catching up fast with this type of accident and aiming to minimise the consequences.