Does new safety technology in cars really work?

The price of new and late model vehicles seems to keep going up even though vehicles haven’t become much more efficient or radically changed in function or features in recent years. One of the reasons that manufacturers demand premium pricing for newer models is often the integrated technology they have built into these vehicles.

Some car companies have protective programming that will keep your dog safe while you run into the store. Others have the sensors that will tell you if you’re getting too close to the back end of another vehicle or starting to veer out of your lane in traffic. Do these new forms of technology really keep people safer on the road? Are they worth the impact they have on the cost of the vehicle and the frustration of trying to master new, confusing technology?

Safety technology can give people a sense of overconfidence

When people know that they have a technological solution to a potential issue, they may become dependent on that technology without understanding its limitations. Not only do these drivers become less attentive and less proactive about driving safely, but they may also engage in more dangerous habits that could directly lead to a crash, like texting at the wheel.

For example, drivers with software that alerts them when they start to drift out of their lanes may be more likely to look down at their phone to send a text message or email. Drivers with lane warnings and adaptive cruise control have admitted to texting at twice the rates of drivers without this technology.

Technology itself can be a risk in a vehicle

Trying to give your car a voice command or input information on a touchscreen installed by the manufacturer isn’t any safer than making a phone call or typing on your phone while driving. Some people mistakenly feel like technology installed by the manufacturer is safe to use at the wheel of a car, a misconception which might give them an unearned feeling of safety at the wheel.

Although some safety features can be beneficial in certain circumstances, becoming reliant on those safety features could spell disaster. If you don’t feel comfortable navigating screens or built-in systems in your vehicle, it may be better to leave them alone rather than to risk distracting yourself while driving or to purchase a model without distracting and unnecessary technological features.