Vehicle safety technology aims to reduce the number of car accidents and keep everyone safer on the road. Common solutions right now include blind spot monitoring systems, lane-keeping systems, automated breaking systems, and parking systems. This technology takes out the chance for human error, which contributes to most car accidents. When a driver is inattentive, misjudges how much space they have, is distracted, or accidentally overcorrects their steering, they can get in a car accident. As more cars include safety technology, there has been a significant decrease in car accidents.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted two tests looking at crash rates for cars with lane-keeping systems and blind spot monitoring. Lane-keeping systems nudge the driver when they start to drift out of their lane, and blind spot monitoring informs the driver of another car in their blind spot. Both systems helped lower the crash rates vs. the cars that did not have those systems. They found that lane-keeping systems lowered rates of sideswipe and head-on crashes by 11%. Blind spot monitoring systems helped reduce crash rates by 14%. In all, 86% of fatal crashes was reduced because of the safety technology.
While this is a great advancement for car safety technology, there is still some skepticism because of how these systems change the drivers. When drivers have this safety technology, their driving behavior changes because they rely on the technology to tell them when something is wrong. This means less people looking when they change lanes or parallel park on a busy street.
The new technology might also distract the driver because of everything they need to watch on the dashboard, especially when parking. A driver navigating a tricky parking spot with a built-in parking system could end up paying more attention to the dashboard display rather than looking at the parking spot or the road around them.
While there’s push for cars with safety technology, there are still plenty of cars sold without it. For those who have the technology at their disposal, they might not always opt to use it. Automakers have found that users often turn the systems off because the warnings come as beeps or buzzes. They find it annoying or distracting, and it sounds like they’ve done something wrong. Automakers are already thinking about changing the beeping and buzzing to a subtler approach, like a vibration from the steering wheel or driver’s seat.
While numbers support that safety technology does help people and saves lives, people must also remember that this technology doesn’t take the place of their awareness. Think of the technology as a tool, but don’t depend on it for everything. Drivers need to remember that systems can fail. If something goes wrong with your blind spot monitoring and you’ve stopped checking when you switch lanes, then you’re putting yourself and others at risk.
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