You fail to notice that the car in front of you has stopped, and before you can hit the brakes, your car rear-ends the one ahead.
The number of such very common rear-end accidents can be cut in half by the latest automatic braking systems that first warn you of an impending crash and then slam on your brakes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The problem is that you often have to pay more to get automatic braking and other safety features as options. But now an increasing number of cars offer automatic braking as standard equipment.
Twenty major automakers reached an agreement with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to put automatic braking into all their light-duty vehicles by 2022. But progress now is running well ahead of that deadline.
For 2017 models, four automakers had automatic braking installed in more than half of their vehicles. They were Tesla (99.8 percent), Mercedes-Benz (96 percent), Volvo (68 percent) and Toyota (56 percent).
Things are only improving for 2018 models, according to a list provided to MoneyWatch by the IIHS. As usual with automotive technology, luxury brands lead the way. Audi will have seven 2018 models with automatic braking that have been tested by the IIHS, Mercedes-Benz will also have seven, and Lexus and Volvo five each.
Among mainstream brands, Nissan has moved to put automatic braking in virtually all its 2018 models and has four that have been tested with a top rating of superior for the system. Toyota has seven models whose automatic braking was rated superior by the IIHS, with autobrake installed in another six models that haven't been tested yet.
Here's a closer look at five vehicles that give you automatic braking as standard equipment and that got a superior rating from the IIHS.
Luxury small car: Audi A5
The completely redesigned A5 ranks No. 1 among luxury small cars with reviewers surveyed by U.S. News. The Sportback version pictured here, new for this year, combines sedan seating with a hatchback that's convenient for luggage or gear.
Reviewers liked its opulent interior and comfortable seats. Its lively turbocharged four-cylinder engine gets an EPA rating of 24 MPG in city driving and 34 on the highway. The A5 list prices range from $42,600 to $62,300.
Luxury midsize sedan: Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Mercedes has been one of the leaders in installing advanced safety features. In addition to automatic braking, the E-class has the so-called driver drowsiness monitor, which sounds an alarm if it detects that the driver is nodding off.
Reviewers like its comfortable interior and good performance from its four-cylinder turbocharged engine that's rated 22 MPG for city driving, 30 on the highway. This luxury sedan comes with a luxury price starting at $52,950 and ranging up to $106,950.
Midsize sedan: Toyota Camry
Always a contender for best-selling sedan in America, the 2018 Camry also ranks No. 1 among midsize sedans, according to reviewers surveyed by U.S. News.
Fully redesigned for 2018, the Camry garners praise for its good handling, easy-to-use infotainment system and peppy engine rated for 29 MPG in city driving, 41 on the highway. Camry list prices go from $23,495 to $34,950.
Small SUV: Toyota RAV4
With standard automatic braking, RAV4 goes one up on its principal competitors, the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape. Reviewers note that the RAV4 has large cargo capacity for its class. And for 2018, towing capacity has increased from 1,500 pounds to 3,500 -- potentially important for an owner who wants to tow a trailer or boat.
The RAV4 is rated for 23 MPG in city driving, 30 on the highway. List prices range from $24,410 to $36,150.
Midsize SUV: Nissan Murano
Murano is one of the vehicles included in Nissan's push to put standard automatic braking in its most popular 2018 models. First reviews are just coming in but are likely to repeat the 2017 praise for an interior almost as posh as a luxury SUV but with a much lower price tag.
List prices range from $30,550 to $43,580. The Murano has a V-6 engine rated at 21 MPG in city driving, 28 on the highway.