Not long after the invention of the automobile came innovations to make driving safer. While there will always be inherent dangers to driving, dozens of developments have made it safer.
Some of the latest attempts to improve driving safety include reducing driver errors by making cars more autonomous. The last decade has seen changes ranging from one assisted driving task to vehicles that can actually drive themselves.
These are some of the risks that come with these potentially problematic autonomous features.
From distracted to disengaged
Whether drivers are distracted by cell phones, other drivers, children, or the radio, there will always be something that takes a motorist’s attention off the road.
One of the intentions for developing autonomous features was to give drivers some latitude if their focus was elsewhere. For example, adaptive cruise control (ACC) can help drivers maintain a specific following distance, even if the chosen cruising speed is too fast for the road’s current traffic.
Unfortunately, drivers sometimes become dependent on these features.
The human factor
So far, driving still requires the skills, ability, and adaptability of a human driver. In an emergency, humans are better at evaluating the risks of taking several actions to choose the best option.
When drivers depend too much on autonomous features to drive for them, it causes serious problems, especially when unexpected situations occur on the road. If you have a vehicle with these features, consider them a safety feature, not a replacement for your good judgment. As you are driving, watch for distracted drivers who may be reliant on these autonomous features so that you can respond quickly and safely.