Are safety features making car accidents worse?

Are safety features making car accidents worse?

On Behalf of | May 24, 2021 | Car Accidents

Even if you have not been on the hunt for a new vehicle in several years, you probably know that most new cars come with a host of built-in safety features. Crash avoidance technology that focuses on maintaining vehicles’ lanes or alerting drivers’ to surrounding vehicles are perhaps some of the more well-known new features. There is a new type of cruise control too, although it might not actually be doing much to prevent car accidents.

Cruise control is nothing new. This feature is fairly standard in most vehicles and allows drivers to set and maintain a specific speed without having to press on the gas or brake. However, adaptive cruise control — ACC — is a little different.

What is adaptive cruise control?

ACC is not that different from traditional cruise control in that it maintains the vehicle at a specific speed. The biggest difference is that it can also maintain a specified following distance between you and the vehicle ahead. ACC usually has lane centering capabilities too, and it uses sensors to maintain the speed, following distance and lane simultaneously.

Drivers who use ACC usually do not have to brake and reset their systems. This is something that drivers with traditional cruise control have to do when they get too close to another vehicle. However, with such a hands off approach it can be easy for a driver using ACC to become distracted and not pay attention to the road.

Adaptive cruise control is not perfect

ACC does not prevent drivers from choosing speeds that are above the legal limit, making it easy to speed without giving it a second thought. The many capabilities of ACC also make many drivers think that it is a kind of “set it and forget it” system. However, there are many issues with ACC, including its inability to handle:

  • Certain road features
  • Some driving scenarios
  • Other drivers’ behavior

Researchers did find that ACC can help with limiting speeding in some situations. On average, drivers speed the most in areas with speed limits of 55 mph, traveling an average of 8 mph over the posted limit. Drivers with ACC tend to only go 1 mph over in those same areas. However, that 1 mph over the limit still translates to a 10% higher chance of causing a fatal accident.

Drivers must be vigilant

New technology has created an opportunity for Louisiana drivers to be safer than ever before. This really only happens when drivers work with the technology instead of expecting it to do all the work. Unfortunately, this is why technology like ACC still has its limitations.

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