Drivers express skepticism over emerging vehicle technology



By Michael Pines, Accident & Injury Prevention Expert

Vehicle vocabulary such as GPS, airbags, and anti-lock brakes often ring familiar to most drivers across the United States. But words like electronic stability control, lane departure warnings, and rear-parking sensors can often garner a look of bewilderment, so a MetLife study suggests after concluding that Americans remain deeply skeptical over emerging vehicle technologies.

Of Americans who responded to the survey, nearly two-thirds said they did not entirely trust car technology, particularly with devices used in-cabin, due in part to the unnecessary reliance on GPS or in-car social networking. But while respondents doubted many of the creature comforts of today, chalking them up to mere distractions, nearly 85 percent remained faithfully reliant on tried-and-true technologies like seatbelts, airbags, and anti-lock brakes – safety systems proven to reduce the instances of car accidents.

While many Americans remain technologically savvy, less than a third of those who were surveyed said they were still unsure about car technology, due in part to unfamiliarity, but also due to car technology’s reputation of creating potentially unsafe driving conditions.

And in a surprising twist, many Americans expressed confusion over base safety features including electronic stability control, a feature that helps drivers gain control over their vehicle in potentially unsafe driving conditions. Over 60 percent of respondents said they would choose a GPS device over electronic stability control due in part to the lack of knowledge surrounding useful – if not essential -- car technology needed today.

Get to know your car technology

Now you can be the expert on the less-commonly discussed car technology that stands at the heart of increased driving safety.

Electronic Stability Control

Commonly referred to as ESC, electronic stability control should not be chalked up to a creature comfort. Instead, ESC can be a life-saving device since it uses computer technology to detect slipping, skidding, and even hydroplaning, instantly engaging the brakes, so collision impacts – if they occur – are significantly reduced.

Lane departure warning systems

Driving while tired is unfortunately all too common, but technology like lane departure warning systems can help drivers avoid a car accident altogether as it will warn drivers when they drift into another lane unexpectedly, thereby reducing the chance of collision and personal injury.

Rear parking sensor

If you drive a luxury vehicle, you may already have a rear parking sensor installed. But if you don’t, or if you drive an older vehicle, consider getting one installed as it can save another person’s life. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of children who are run over each year by cars backing up unknowingly. Using a rear parking sensor can help improve your parallel parking, prevent needless car damage, and most importantly, it can safe a child’s life.

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