If you’re about to choose a modern car with new gadgets, then read on! Technology has moved on, just a bit and driving has evolved beyond recognition in the last 10 years. We are less connected to the outside environment which may lead to over-confidence for the road conditions. GPS is an obvious distraction, but collision control and front/rear view cameras or sensors bleeping can become down right annoying because they are oversensitive and could be ignored, or relied upon too heavily.
Cars have grown in stature, in fact, they’ve just plain “grown-up”! The ever-popular VW Golf has put on a little more bulk too, it’s now 6 inches wider, 3 inches taller and nearly 2 feet longer. Most cars have gotten taller and that bit chunkier with some even masquerading as mini-SUV crossovers. This may lead to an increase in accidents. With sweeping lines and chunky body coloured bumpers many cars now have smaller back windows, and reduced visibility with greater blind spots.
Collision warning alarms and cameras included can all cause distraction when reversing due to high pitched beeping. Worse still, there’s a tendency to zone out and ignore them as they can be over-sensitive. Low-speed accidents could end up being very nasty because there is so much going on in the cabin. Safety features can contribute to nasty accidents.
Distraction accidents have risen dramatically in the last decades, and gadgetry in modern cars, however helpful, can be the culprit. Take the Volvo XC60 which uses a laser system “City Safety” to detect if drivers are proactively breaking to avoid a crash. If the driver is not braking sufficiently to avoid collision, the car automatically brakes. Rear-end accidents may well increase alongside whiplash.
GPS can cause accidents due to drivers checking the screen rather than following audio instructions. There have been horror stories where drivers have ended up off-road due to incorrect directions or out of date road information.
4. Night vision cameras
High performance cars like the Audi Q7 or Mercedes Benz CS class now have standard night-vision cameras. This is another feature which has the potential to distract the driver which could be particularly hazardous at night. If you come to rely on high-tech features which subsequently fail, it may limit your ability to avoid an accident. Night-vision is undoubtedly very effective in detecting obstacles, but reliance on such features may reduce observation and increase accidents.
5. Traction control & ABS
Our modern cars are finely tuned to provide better control. If we break too heavily, our traction control systems and abs will kick in to regulate our heavy handed breaking. Stability control systems and power steering gives us an increasingly insulated feeling to the point that we are not full in touch with how heavy our car is and cushions us from noise vibration and harshness (NVH), and there’s even hill assist to help smooth out your clutch control and give you added traction when on a steep gradient.
Airbags, and pre-sense systems have increased safety, but evidence suggests there are now too many distractions for drivers in modern cars. It’s even more important to ensure that your tyre pressure is correct to ensure that your car stability is at its optimum in case you do have a collision. Nothing else stands between your car and the road, so no amount of anti-collision technology or safety equipment is going to help if you don’t take care of the fundamentals yourself way before you hit the road.