We expect innovation and technological advancements to improve our quality of life and keep us safer. This certainly applies to the semi-autonomous vehicles that take to the streets more frequently every day.
The intent of moving towards automation and increased tech in vehicles makes sense. Millions of vehicle accidents happen each year, and human error is at the root of many of them. Semi-autonomous driving addresses this human error in an attempt to make drivers safer; however, there are concerns that it might actually cause accidents by contributing to distracted driving.
The Benefits of Driving Semi-Autonomous Vehicles
Many of the features modern cars include can help prevent a lot of the little mistakes people make which lead to accidents. For example, driver-assisted technology can help keep cars in their lanes and warns you of vehicles in your blind spots. In many cases, semi-autonomous vehicles will even brake for you when you are about to rear-end the vehicle in front of you.
All these features are very valuable and often prevent accidents before they happen. But there may be an unintended consequence of semi-autonomous vehicle technology: it may make us more prone to distracted driving and cause more accidents in different ways.
How Semi-Autonomous Vehicle Technology May Contribute to Distracted Driving
When people think of distracted driving, they often picture someone talking on the phone or sending a text while flying down the road. However, the semi-autonomous technology included in newer vehicles can contribute to inattentive driving in two ways:
- Drivers grow overly dependent on the features and believe it is okay to engage in more distracted behaviors.
- Their vehicle’s safety features distract them while they are driving.
Dependence on Features
Instead of making drivers more aware of their surroundings on the road, it appears many drivers almost depend on their semi-autonomous vehicles to drive for them. This can allow drivers to be laxer with their driving or even to engage in distracting behaviors. One pertinent example is an assist feature which keeps your car centered for 30 seconds if your hands are not on the wheel.
While this centering technology is a very useful feature, it still requires drivers to keep their eyes on the road to avoid an accident. However, many drivers might use this as an opportunity to send a text or look for something in the car.
Distracting Features in the Vehicle
Of course, our own devices are not the only things distracting us on the road these days. Newer vehicles are filled with new gadgets and devices that can distract even the most disciplined drivers. For example:
- 29 percent of drivers surveyed by Esurance say their car’s warning beeps such as those that occur when drifting into adjacent lanes are distracting.
- 47 percent of drivers said that viewing GPS navigation is distracting.
In addition, many of a newer car’s functions are only available to you through your car’s touchscreen panel. In some cases, you might only need to glance at the GPS image to determine your next step in the directions to your destination; in another, you might need to manually scan through your features to find what you need.
Navigating that touchscreen requires you to take your eyes off the road (and sometimes a hand off the wheel), which often leads to accidents even with your car’s safety features.
Contact an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer
We are at risk for car accidents whether we drive semi-autonomous vehicles or traditional cars. If you are driving a semi-autonomous vehicle, S. Burke Law recommends exercising the same level of care you would when driving any other vehicle.
However, we know that even the safest drivers can be involved in accidents. If you or a loved one was recently injured in a car accident, you may want to consider contacting a car accident attorney to discuss your options. Our team has two decades of experience and is dedicated to helping you in any way we can.
Call S. Burke Law today for a free consultation: 404-842-7838.