As manufacturers continue to move toward the end-goal of a fully autonomous vehicle, drivers rely on more and more electronic features to keep them safe. These advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) cover a range of potential hazards such as blind spot monitoring and collision detection. Unfortunately, these systems were only designed to assist a driver, not take over the safe control of the vehicle.
Numerous authoritative agencies note a reduction in different types of collisions involving vehicles using ADAS technology. Unfortunately, the inclusion of these systems can lead to additional crashes due to many factors, including:
- Drivers might not fully understand the technology and its limitations.
- Drivers might not realize which features are included, and which are not included, in the vehicle’s systems.
- Drivers forget that the systems are designed to assist rather than control the vehicle.
- Drivers confuse the features of one system with the features of another.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported that in one study nearly 40% of drivers made one or more of these critical errors centering on their own ADAS features. In a real-world setting, these errors could have led to serious motor vehicle collisions.
Vehicle safety has come a long way over the last few decades. From passive safety systems such as seatbelts to active safety systems such as forward collision detection, many drivers feel safer than they ever have behind the wheel. Unfortunately, issues seem to grow at the same rate. From impaired drivers such as those impacted by drugs, alcohol and medication to distracted drivers who take the time to eat a meal or check email while driving, roads can be a dangerous place.
Whether it is a fast-moving highway or a city street crowded with commuters, vehicle traffic will never go away. Drivers must remain focused on the road and rely on their ADAS technology only as an assistant for safe driving. Safety features do not actively take control of the car. Drivers must remain attentive and in control so they can prevent devastating collisions and catastrophic injuries such as brain damage, paralysis and amputation.