Nowadays, smart technology is everywhere, including in the cars we drive. Almost every new vehicle comes with advanced technology to prevent accidents and increase safety on the road.
These systems, such as lane departure warnings and automatic emergency braking, can be very helpful to Illinois drivers. However, the features that are meant to protect you and other drivers on the road could also be one of the factors behind the increasing risks of accidents.
How does safety technology increase risk?
The safety features so common in today’s vehicles certainly help drivers avoid accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, they also involve a certain amount of risk.
There are two primary concerns regarding the actual effect these features have in action:
- The features can be distracting: It is possible to grow accustomed to the way these features work, often with flashing lights or noises to alert the driver to risks. However, many drivers report that the features can serve as a distraction that pulls their attention away from the road.
- They give a false sense of security: A 2019 study from AAA found that drivers in vehicles with many of these features were twice as likely to engage in distractions behind the wheel. Whether it was because drivers did not fully understand how these features work or they simply relied too much on them, the technology makes many drivers feel more comfortable taking their attention off the road.
The point of many of these features is to combat distracted driving, but in some cases, it seems to contribute to it.
Remember: Safety features do not replace defensive driving
These tools are the most effective when paired with a defensive driver behind the wheel. It is critical to stay vigilant, so you can stay safe.
Whether or not you have advanced safety features in your vehicle, you should make sure you:
- Plan your trip and your route ahead of time
- Are always aware of your surroundings
- Avoid all distractions, including texting or even eating
- Do not speed, so you have time to react to hazards
Assistive technologies are not a bad thing, but drivers cannot rely too much on them to ensure their safety behind the wheel.