In recent years, driver assistance technologies are available in most cars. These systems are really useful for the driver and help to minimize risks on the road. As long as you know how they work, of course. According to this study conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) , many motorists do not know how they act or what these systems really do. Or even worse: if they even know that their car takes them …
The US federation, in collaboration with the University of Iowa, has conducted a survey of model drivers between 2016 and 2017 , which, in a large majority, have active safety systems such as the frontal collision warning, the detector of Blind spot or automatic emergency braking. And the results are quite worrisome: many motorists are not only unaware of how these technologies work, but also overestimate their capabilities .
Thus, according to the survey conducted by the AAA, 80% of the questioned drivers believed that the blind spot warning system , which visually warns in the side mirrors of the proximity of another vehicle in the adjacent lanes, in reality what it did was to detect everything that happens behind the car. Others, however, thought that this system is responsible for detecting pedestrians or cyclists or vehicles that pass at a higher speed.
For its part, 40% of respondents confused the frontal collision warning and automatic emergency braking. Many of these drivers believe that the shock warning also acts on the brakes, when this is not the case: the first simply warns the driver that there is a risk of collision, while the second self- activates the braking system.
Also, one in six of the respondents did not know if their car was equipped or not emergency braking.
The AAA warns that this lack of knowledge can be fatal, and can lead to an excess of confidence in technology, overestimating its functions. For example, 25% of the drivers in the study stated that if they are alerted to the blind spot or the subsequent cross-traffic, they visually check that it is indeed safe to make a lane change or a turn.
Also a quarter of the total, said that with frontal collision warning technologies or active warning of lane departure, stop paying attention to the road to devote to other things, such as looking at the smartphone: if my car tells me about the danger, why should I look at the road?
In short, not knowing how these technologies work, as well as believing that they have functions that they do not have is a real danger, both for the driver himself and for the rest of the road users. And that’s where the salesmen and dealers enter, do they really inform us about the capabilities of our car?
According to the AAA study, only 50% of drivers who purchased their car from a dealership said they were duly informed of what assistance systems they equipped and how they worked. Thus, 90% who did receive instructions from the seller, knows perfectly how the technologies available in your vehicle operate.
Therefore, the North American automotive federation urges dealers to ‘train’ drivers in this matter, while advising motorists to ask sellers and request a demonstration on site . On the other hand, he advises motorists that they should read the car manual to know what systems they equip and how they work.
If educating consumers about vehicle technology was as much a priority for car manufacturers and dealerships as selling cars, we would all get benefits.