Jul 04, 2020 | Updated: 11:00 AM EDT

What New Technology Is Distracting to Drivers?

May 09, 2020 10:43 AM EDT

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What New Technology Is Distracting to Drivers?
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When it comes to vehicle distraction, smartphones are what you likely expect. Car technology is another cause that you might overlook.

Modern cars are packed with technology designed to improve experience and safety. Unfortunately, new vehicle technology can lead to distracted driving rather than preventing it. 

Technology is often viewed as a welcome change and many advances certainly improve the way that people drive. However, the deployment of some concepts has created highly distracting features.

With this in mind, you should know what car technology is distracting to new drivers. Understanding this will help you avoid engaging with it in your car, keeping you safe and focused on driving. 

We've listed four dangerously distracting car technologies below for you to be wary of. 

Interactive Infotainment Systems

Arguably the largest problem is with interactive infotainment systems.

These are the dashboard screens found in the center console. They often include access to features like navigation, radio, text messages, and audio apps. 

These screens must be navigated through to use a function. As you might imagine, this can be dangerous if someone is looking at an infotainment system instead of the road.

For example, say you're listening to the radio and a song you can't stand comes on. In a rush to turn the song off, you interact with your infotainment system and don't notice a car pull out in front of you.

Examples like this happen almost every day. Infotainment systems are confusing and too much effort to use while driving. If you're less familiar with your infotainment system, then your risk of getting in an accident only increases should you try to use it on the road. 

Limit how much you use your infotainment system and never use it while moving.

Assisted Safety Features

A counterintuitively distracting technology is assisted safety features.

Specifically, this applies to features like automatic emergency braking, lane assistance, and automatic cruise control. As useful as these can be, the problem is that drivers can get complacent and rely on them rather than using their driving skills and awareness.

If you become comfortable with the modern safety features of your car, then you may distract yourself because it feels like there's less need to focus. This is a mistake because these safety features are merely backups and are not failproof. 

Treat your safety features like a small safety net that you want to avoid needing at all costs. They're there for extra protection, not to allow you to let your guard down. 

Semi-Automated Driving

If assisted driving is distracting, then surely semi-automated driving is worse.

Some particularly advanced cars like Teslas have autopilot features. This is an assisted driving mode that will automate most features necessary to operate a car.

The amount of automation varies depending on the car that you have. Low-level automation includes safety features mentioned above while the highest level is fully automated.

As you can likely imagine, not driving a vehicle creates an easy scenario for a driver to get distracted. The issue is that all automated driving modes are meant to have a driver ready to react at all times.

This means having your hands on the wheel and always watching the road. You can't react quickly enough if you aren't paying attention! 

Non-Essential Amenities

You should also be careful about using any non-essential amenities in your car.

These are the features in your car that are certainly cool, but they may be doing more harm than good if you try to use them while driving. 

This includes actions like messing with climate controls, adjusting your seat, watching a DVD player, or speaking on the phone through Bluetooth.

Modern cars have several amenities that boost your enjoyment while driving, but this may come at the cost of higher distraction. It's important to avoid using any of these features to prevent yourself from getting distracted. 

Switching your eyes away for even a second to do something like adjusting the heat can be enough to cause an accident. 

You may not notice a hazard because of the time spent looking at something else and the delay between looking back at the road and registering what's going on.

Remember this and be careful to only use your vehicle's amenities when stopped.

Closing Thoughts

Vehicle technology is useful, interesting, and in high demand. It changes the way you experience driving and offers many conveniences.

It can also cause a distraction if a driver is not cautious. Many technologies can be misused or interacted with at inappropriate times, making you switch your focus. 

A few particularly distracting technologies include interactive infotainment systems, assisted safety features, semi-automated driving, and non-essential amenities.

Nothing is more important than your safety while driving. Anything else can wait - including the fancy features of your modern car! 

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