AAA says many drivers are over-relying on car safety features

In an audit report, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety addressed a dangerous trend that many drivers in New York may be familiar with -- too much reliance on car safety features. While such features can reduce the number of auto accidents and accident-related deaths, they may backfire on drivers who do not understand the limitations of safety technology.

For example, the report showed that 80 percent of drivers with a blind-spot monitoring overestimated this system's ability to detect quickly approaching cars, bicyclists and pedestrians. Furthermore, 20 percent of respondents were so confident in the feature that they never check for oncoming vehicles when changing lanes.

Among motorists with adaptive cruise control, 29 percent say they feel comfortable engaging in other activities when this safety feature is on. Unfortunately, this constitutes distracted driving. Other drivers are unable to tell apart the various functions of their features. For instance, over 40 percent of the respondents confuse forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking.

AAA believes that automakers, dealers and rental-car companies should be educating customers on the limitations of modern safety features. The results of the study raise questions about how drivers will adapt to a future with semi-autonomous vehicles. After all, these vehicles will still require the driver to take hold of the wheel if they cannot handle certain conditions.

Over-reliance on safety tech leads to negligent behavior. When a negligent driver gets into a crash, a victim may be eligible for compensation. Filing a third-party insurance claim will most likely require a lawyer, especially since auto insurance companies work hard to deny settlements. A lawyer could hire third parties to investigate the crash and gather the necessary evidence.

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