Does your car have advanced safety technology? New features, including automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assist, are designed to help prevent car crashes. If you don’t have a car with these features now, there’s a good chance you’re eyeing them for your next car purchase. Be warned, though – a new report finds that they might not keep you as safe as you’d like.

The Problem with Driver Assistance Features

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) evaluated adaptive cruise control and active lane-keeping systems under different conditions. The technology did not always perform as expected. Sometimes, this resulted in annoying actions, such as braking too cautiously. Other times, it resulted in dangerous actions, such as veering toward the shoulder of the road.

The study concluded that modern driver assistance features cannot be considered adequate substitutes for human drivers.

This is something that has already become apparent on our roads, sometimes in tragic ways. For example, several high-profile accidents have involved people who crashed while using Tesla’s Autopilot system. According to Gizmodo, it appears that a man who died when his Tesla crashed in 2015 may have been watching a movie while driving.

Being overly dependent on modern safety features does not keep us safe.

The Takeaway for Drivers

The IIHS study shows that safety features are not yet advanced enough for drivers to relinquish control to technology. It doesn’t mean that the safety technology isn’t helpful.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 37,461 people died in traffic accidents in 2017, an increase of 5.6 percent over the previous year.

The increase in crashes has been blamed on several factors, including an increase in the amount people drive and a rise in distracted driving. In 2016, there were 3,450 traffic fatalities linked to distracted driving, according to the NHTSA. Drunk driving also continues to be a serious problem and was linked to 10,497 traffic fatalities in 2016.

Modern safety features can help prevent some accidents, but they cannot be treated as a replacement for good driving. Drivers should not feel that they can relax while technology does the work. Instead, drivers need to stay alert and focus on the road.

Even if you have advanced safety systems like automatic braking, keep these important safety tips in mind:

  • Don’t drive while distracted. Texting while driving is especially dangerous and is illegal in most states.
  • Don’t drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Obey the rules of the road, including speed limits.
  • Always use your seat belt in case an accident occurs.

Last but not least, always protect your vehicle and its passengers with quality auto insurance. Jupiter Auto can help with that. Get a quote here.