Cars are now equipped with almost as much technology as our homes, much of it designed for our safety. By May of 2019, all new cars and small trucks in Canada must be equipped with backup cameras, something that will not be too far off in the United States as well. Automakers are working to make automatic braking standard by 2022. There is significant research that these types of technology reduce crashes but experts are finding that there is now a generation of drivers who are too dependent on technology, believing those tools will fully protect them.
Blind Spot and Lane Change Warning
Driving instructors are particularly worried blind spot and lane change warning technology. Many are finding that drivers no longer check over their shoulder or in the rearview mirror when changing lanes in cars that have those options. Some drivers also believe that a car equipped with the lane change warning allows them to continue texting behind the wheel. A study conducted by the Intelligent Design for Adaptation, Participation and Technology (iDAPT) found that lane-keeping skills of drivers dropped in cars with lane change protection technology.
It is not a new theory that cars with safety feature technology can lead drivers to drive less carefully. Studies have found that when people drive cars equipped with anti-lock brakes, they drive faster, follow others more closely and hit the brake later. Other studies have found that as drivers become accustomed to safety features, they become lazy, take more risks and depend far too much on the safety feature to step in if they make a mistake.
Understanding Safety Features
One of the most important things to remember is that, although safety features provide additional protections in a vehicle, they have their own limitations. For example, backup cameras also have blind spots so it is important to walk around your car to be sure there is nothing behind you before backing up. Never use only the backup camera for guidance as the camera cannot see things coming at the car from the side or corners. Sensors can be faulty which is why drivers should never fully depend on safety features like blind spot and lane change warnings or automatic braking features. In addition, it is important to understand how your safety features work before you leave the dealership in a new car. One study found that 37 percent of drivers with lane change or blind spot technology turned off the systems because of false alarms, irritation or misunderstanding how they work.
In one study, 30 percent of those asked said that they believed their cars were so advanced they could almost drive by themselves, a scary statistic in today’s world of busy highways. If you need to understand the safety features of your car, schedule an appointment today by calling or filling out the online form.