As automakers add more safety features into vehicles, you may feel like your car can drive itself. While cruise control has been around for a while, newer technologies like adaptive cruise control or lane-assist can control your vehicle when it gets too close to an accident.
However, when drivers start to rely too heavily on safety technology, they may feel tempted to stop paying attention. A new study from the American Automobile Association (AAA) looked at how these features affect driving habits. They found that safety features can increase distracted driving.
Technology can tempt drivers to focus on other things
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute took video of how people drove in vehicles with two new safety features. Adaptive cruise control slows cars down when they get too close to the vehicle in front of them. And lane-keeping assist will push the car back into the lane if it gets too close to the line.
The researchers found that when drivers knew that these features were active, they stopped paying attention to the road. The chance that they would drive distractedly was twice as high.
When drivers rely on technology, they stop focusing on driving
As technology improves, people have more distractions in their vehicles. Drivers have smartphones and in-car entertainment systems that can take their focus away from the road. And when cars start to take over driving responsibilities, people may feel they don’t have to pay close attention.
While technology can improve the safety of your drive, it may also lull people into a sense of false security. If other drivers rely on their vehicle to take over, they can put you in danger of an accident.
As technology improves, it may take over more and more driving responsibilities. But until cars can drive themselves, drivers must still pay attention to the road.