N ot so long ago, it would have seemed incredible that your car would be able to”see” other vehicles or pedestrians, expect collisions, and automatically apply the brakes or take corrective steering actions. But more and more cars can do that to some degree, thanks to a growing list of collision-avoidance systems.

Some of these capabilities, such as forward-collision warning systems, have been around for a few years, largely on high-end luxury cars. Others, like steering assist, are just getting ready for prime time. The good news is that the collision-avoidance systems are getting better and are spreading to mainstream automobiles.

The potential for automobile safety these systems is so great that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has additional collision-avoidance system testing to its package of security evaluations. The IIHS has determined that some of those collision-avoidance systems could prevent or mitigate many crashes. Now, to acquire top overall security scores from the IIHS, a car should have a forward-collision warning system with automatic braking. Moreover, any autobrake system must operate effectively in formal track tests that the IIHS conducts. Visit IIHS website for test results on individual models.