The Dangers of Relying Too Much on Vehicle Safety Features

We have all heard that too much of a good thing can be bad for us. That same adage can be said for many vehicle safety features. In fact, numerous sources have reported that advanced safety features may actually make drivers themselves less safe.

In September 2018, WebMD published an article from HealthDay titled “Many Drivers Rely Too Much on New Car Safety Features”. Research highlighted in this article offered a disconcerting look into driver behaviors when they rely too heavily on vehicle safety features. A few examples include:

  • 8 out of 10 drivers using blind-spot monitoring don’t know how the system works, or its limitations.
  • 40 percent of drivers surveyed did not know the difference between forward-collision warning systems and automatic braking systems.
  • One out of every six drivers were unsure whether their vehicle had automatic emergency braking.
  • 25 percent of drivers relied so heavily on blind-spot systems that they failed to use their mirrors or do visual checks for pedestrians or oncoming traffic.
  • 25 percent of drivers with vehicles equipped with forward-collision warning admitted to feeling so comfortable with the technology that they engaged in other activities while driving.

What does this research tell us? Humans are still ultimately in control of vehicles and have the power to make decisions about safety. If we choose to rely on the technology more than our own thoughts and actions, then we put ourselves and others at risk.

Yes, there is a great deal of potential in vehicle safety features that are current and emerging. Some studies show that such technology could prevent around 40 percent of all auto accidents, and 30 percent of auto accident fatalities. In order for these goals to be reached, however, drivers must understand the technology, its proper use, and its limitations.