Are Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Making Us Worse Drivers?

by AutoExpert   |  7 June, 2024

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Ever wondered if we're аctually getting worse at driving becаuse of all the fancy tech in our cars? Well, you're not alone in that thought. Take the Audi Q7, for example. This SUV is decked out with stuff like Audi pre sense city that spots other cars and even pedestrians, not to mention collision avoidance assist. Super cool, right? But here’s the kicker: as car safety experts have suspected for a while, the more gadgets we have, the less attention we seem to pay to the actual driving.

The folks over at the American Automobile Association (AAA) funded a study by University of Utah researchers that looked into how distracting infotainment systems can be. They checked out 30 different cars and found out that messing with navigation systems or changing the radio station can take your eyes off the road way longer than making a call or texting. And guess what? All those entertainment tasks make us think harder, which isn't great when you're trying to stay focused on the road.

Advanced Driver Assistance

Another study, this one by the University of Michigan and sponsored by a carmaker, revealed something interesting about blind spot warning systems. Most drivers with these systems hardly ever bother to check for traffic themselves before lane changing. This and other findings point out a few things:

  • Some safety tech can distract us more than help.
  • Drivers tend to rely too heavily on these systems.
  • Car manufacturers are in a race to pump out new tech, but not all are doing it cautiously.

Advanced Driver Assistance

Bill Van Tassell from AAA sums it up pretty well. He says these new techs are a bit of a double-edged sword. They can boost safety big time if used right. But if they glitch or if drivers misuse them, it could mean more risks on the road.

Despite tech аdvancements, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted a slight increase in traffic deaths from 2015 to 2016, though distracted driving deaths actually dropped. Still, with more drivers not paying attention, it's clear we’ve got a problem.

Advanced Driver Assistance

Modern cаrs are getting equipped with all sorts of autonomous tech, like blind spot monitoring, self-park features, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and auto emergency braking systems that watch out for pedestrians, large animals, and cyclists. You'd think with all these aids, drivers would be safer than ever. But it turns out, the more these systems are in a car, the less likely drivers are to think they need to watch the road closely.

Advanced Driver Assistance

Here’s another challenge: a lot of these systems are still new to many drivers and aren't standardized across different brands. So, there's a big learning curve and not much uniformity in how they work.

As we move toward fully self-driving cars, safety experts like Van Tassell think we should keep focusing on what our car tech can and can’t do. He believes carmakers and dealers need to do better at educating buyers.

Advanced Driver Assistance

Despite concerns, Van Tassell is somewhat optimistic. He notes that drivers today need to learn how to handle a lot more technology, which might actually be improving our driving skills in some ways. So, while traditional driving skills might become less necessary over time, for now, we need to stay sharp and use that tech responsibly.

And let's not forget Tesla's "Autopilot." It's gotten a lot of buzz, but it’s had its share of issues. It's a reminder that letting the car do all the work isn't quite as simple as it sounds.

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