Vehicle technology: Are driverless cars an inevitable part of our future roadways?

by Michael Pines, San Diego’s Accident and Injury Prevention Expert

As car technology advances, the stakes can increase as well. At least that’s what experts say about driverless cars -- a new type of vehicle programmed to operate without a human driver. Google, Audi, and Volvo have all taken turns in developing what experts say are the future of our roadways: automated vehicles operated by a computer, not a human.

As technology progresses and we get closer to the reality of self-driving cars, the thought of safety arises. Surprisingly, according to press reports, driverless cars have been tested extensively, in many conditions, and they are said to be safer than ordinary vehicles equipped with human passengers since driver error is eliminated.

That’s the good news.

And, if driverless cars make it to mainstream – as experts predict they will in as little as ten to fifteen years – car accidents, traffic fatalities, speeding tickets, the cost of insurance, and traffic jams would become a thing of the past. Even drunk driving can be safely eliminated with automated vehicles.

The promise of driverless cars may be near our reach, but until then, car accidents in San Diego still happen every day. That’s the bad news. And since automated vehicle technology can be up to fifteen years away, there’s a lot to do in terms of keeping safe today.

Until then: practice better driving habits

Our personal injury attorneys in San Diego have compiled the top 3 essential driving habits that should be employed by every driver on our roads today. Consider the following tips as you head out on your next driving adventure. For more information on better driving and accident prevention, visit our blog at

#3: Don’t drive drunk. Period.

Even though most drivers know that drunk driving is against the law, many injury accidents and even wrongful death collisions occur every day in San Diego due to intoxicated drivers getting behind the wheel. There are many options that still allow partygoers to have a good time including prepaid cab rides and designated drivers. You can also help by being a responsible host and reporting potentially drunk drivers. The message is simple: save your life and the life of others and do not drink and drive.

#2: Posted traffic signs aren’t just roadway art -- they can save your life

Here’s a tip that deserves its own reminder no matter how palpable: pay attention to posted traffic signage. This includes signage like ‘one way’ designations, yield, stop, railroad crossing, slippery surface, no turn on red, and construction zone signage. Posted traffic signs can help you avoid a car accident when followed properly. It may be a given, but it bears repeating: pay attention and render to all posted placards and traffic signage.

#1: Don’t fiddle with distractions: stay focused on the road

Our vehicles have transformed into their very own entertainment zones with radio, DVD, navigation, and even Facebook and Wi-Fi connectivity. Today, our vehicles are savvier than ever and appeal to a large mass of technology-enabled people. But despite the comfort creatures that technology advancement can bring, a vehicle should not be confused for an entertainment zone after all. In fact, all distractions should be kept to a minimum. Try to use one to two select devices at a time such as a radio and GPS device or a Bluetooth-enabled call and navigation and so on.

For more safety advice, log onto or follow me on Twitter @MichaelPines.