ARE SAFETY FEATURES MAKING CARS MORE DANGEROUS?
Posted on: Aug. 21, 2017 in Driving, Safety, Cars

Every day, cars seem to be getting safer through the use of technology. New cars are increasingly fitted with systems to keep drivers from veering out of lanes, following another vehicle too closely, or colliding with another vehicle. There was a time when cruise control only maintained your speed, but now it can practically drive the car for you.

But all these new capabilities have some people very worried. Some feel that drivers will be less engaged in the process. Others fear that people will test the limits of their vehicles or show off. Still others believe that skills will decline as drivers have to rely less on their own ability to maneuver.

Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) said, “There are lots of concerns about people checking out and we are trying to monitor that now. Everything we do that makes the driving task a little easier means that people are going to pay a little bit less attention when they’re driving.”

Organizations like IIHS and AAA are urging manufacturers to consider the risks and consequences of these new technologies as they add them to vehicles, and to also incorporate safety measures to avoid excessively distracted drivers.

If autonomous, self-driving cars are the future, then what does it matter? A lot, actually. Until a car can fully automate the driving process, some level of driver engagement is always going to be required. What’s more, if drivers cannot properly operate a vehicle without these enhancements, what happens when they drive a car without them – for example, when borrowing a vehicle or rending one?

Another added layer of complication is that these new advancements vary widely from one model to another. As a result, drivers may feel confident they understand how a car may operate and may find out too late that they do not. They may have the expectation that a car will brake automatically to avoid a rear-end collision, only to learn that it will not under certain circumstances.

As technology continues to advance, drivers must commit to staying alert regardless of how much of the driving their car can do for them. Learning and retaining driving skills will be critical even in the years to come.

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