Can New Car Safety Features Harm Instead of Help Motorists?
Have you purchased a new vehicle lately or are shopping for one? Maybe you have heard about all the new technological features that car manufacturers are putting in their vehicles and are intrigued or overwhelmed at the thought of more in-vehicle technology. While some technologies are helping drivers avoid crashes, such as blind spot monitoring and collision warning systems, other in-car technologies can leave drivers bewildered.
Although some of the new technologies sound impressive and can help improve safety on the road, technology can also be overwhelming and lead to drivers crashing their new vehicles for the following reasons:
Confusion: Let’s face it, technology can be confusing. Not everyone can understand how a computer works, and cars are becoming much more like a computer. In order for drivers not to be confused by their in-vehicle technology, they need to spend time at the dealership and practicing with the technology when they get home. Dealerships are supposed to go over the technology in the vehicle with new buyers, but because it happens so fast many people go home not fully understanding what their vehicles can do. As a result, many buyers of new cars end up confused about how to use the technology or what the technology does. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that many drivers thought collision warning systems would actually bring their cars to a stop for them. While there are some cars with collision mitigation systems that actually apply the brakes to avoid a crash, most cars with collision warning systems alert drivers to the possibility of a crash. However, the driver still has to apply the brakes. If people believe that the safety system will bring their car to a complete stop in order to avoid an accident, they might get confused and fail to apply the brakes.
Not using the technology or turning off the technology: There are many drivers who buy cars but aren’t interested in certain technologies or don’t understand how they can help or how they work. As a result, many drivers turn off certain technologies that are supposed to help them avoid collisions or reduce the severity of a crash. “If people don’t understand how that works or what the car is doing, it may startle them or make them uncomfortable,” said Deborah Hersman, president of the National Safety Council. In some vehicles, for example, blind spot monitoring warning systems can be turned off, and some drivers do this because they don’t like the noise the system makes. However, by turning the system off, drivers can potentially change lanes into another car and cause a crash.
Alert noises can scare drivers: Many of the new safety technologies have alerts to notify drivers of the impending dangers. While they all vary from car to car, model to model and manufacturer to manufacturer, most safety technologies have audible sounds that attempt to notify drivers of crash possibilities. However, some of the technology alerts can scare people with piercing beeping sounds. As a result, drivers who are startled could actually crash.
Don’t Let Technology Leave You Confused at the Wheel
Because the auto industry continues to make more in-vehicle safety technologies standard in many cars, it is beneficial that all drivers learn what their cars do so they aren’t confused or startled by the technology.
As a car accident attorney in the Fort Lauderdale area, I have seen too many needless collisions and injuries occur. For this reason, I encourage all drivers to visit the National Safety Council’s website, MyCarDoesWhat.org, to learn more about the technologies that could help save their lives on the road.
If you have been injured by a feature that is supposed to be safe, contact the Law Office of David Benenfeld for a free consultation and case evaluation.