Dave Deslauriers /
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The Downside of Too Much Vehicle Technology

When it comes to vehicle safety, manufacturers are continually striving to develop new technology. The advancements over the past decade have been truly remarkable. From collision avoidance and blind-spot monitoring, to lane-keep assist and rear-view monitoring, today’s vehicles are safer than they’ve ever been. However, there are some drawbacks. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the downsides of advanced vehicle safety technology.

Distraction

Vehicle infotainment systems were designed with efficiency in mind. No longer do drivers have to navigate separate devices to program their GPS, pick a radio station, or make a phone call. All of these tasks can now be completed directly through the vehicle’s infotainment system. But is that a good thing? According to research conducted by AAA and the University of Utah, vehicle infotainment systems have actually resulted in an increase in driver distraction. The study found that “Drivers using in-vehicle technologies like voice-based and touch screen features were visually and mentally distracted for more than 40 seconds when completing tasks like programming navigation or sending a text message.  Removing eyes from the road for just two seconds doubles the risk for a crash, according to previous research.”

Over-Reliance

There’s nothing wrong with trusting your vehicle’s safety technology. However there is a big difference between utilizing the features, and becoming overly-reliant on them. Safety technology should not be viewed as a replacement for driver responsibility. Unfortunately, research has shown that over-reliance is becoming a problem for a significant number of drivers. A study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Iowa found that “About 25 percent of drivers using blind spot monitoring or rear cross traffic alert systems report feeling comfortable relying solely on the systems and not performing visual checks or looking over their shoulder for oncoming traffic or pedestrians.” Additionally, “About 25 percent of vehicle owners using forward collision warning or lane departure warning systems report feeling comfortable engaging in other tasks while driving.” This type of over-reliance can become extremely dangerous

Tuning Out

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably tuned out an alarm clock in the morning once or twice before. Or maybe your child’s toys make noise that you no longer even notice. Humans have a remarkable ability to ignore sounds that we find to be nagging or annoying. However, this can become a serious problem when many of the advanced safety features in today’s vehicles rely heavily on audible alerts. Heard repeatedly without negative consequences, we can end up becoming conditioned to ignore the warning sounds until it’s too late. Additionally, most vehicles give users the ability to turn down, or silence the audible alerts in their vehicle. Whether tuning out, or silencing the audible warnings, you’re leaving yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. The alerts are there for one specific reason, to keep you safe. Be sure you take them seriously and pay attention.

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