We’ve obviously moved far away from those first days of motoring when a man carrying a warning flag would walk in front of the vehicle.
Mind you, many would say that in cities the current speed of travel would still permit this to happen! Vehicle manufacturers today seem determined to provide an ever-increasing number of gadgets within vehicles.
Accidents are now caused in ways unimaginable just a generation ago – from texting on the move to watching a DVD while motorway driving.
In terms of safety, it would be an easy assumption that anything that makes the driving experience less dangerous could be nothing but a good thing.
Do you believe that?
For example, cruise control has now become a fairly standard feature. It does help you stay within speed limits and can make driving a more relaxing experience.
However, does it also lessen your levels of concentration? If you were to add a Lane Departure Warning System, could this lead to a sudden uncontrolled swerving panic whenever it’s activated?
Here’s a more recent example. An increasing number of vehicles are being fitted with an Advanced Emergency Braking System (AEB). This uses sensors to monitor your proximity to the vehicle ahead of you.
If a collision appears imminent then automatic braking can take place to avoid or lessen any impact. Studies suggest accidents could be reduced by around a quarter if this became standard. Interestingly, the “Automatic” is sometimes replaced by the alternative “Autonomous”. One dictionary definition of this word is: “Able to make decisions and act on them as a free and independent agent”. In other words, you have ceded control.
Does this mean that sub-consciously you become less vigilant, more reliant on the technology? Would this then spread to other driving actions? It might even be that some fools would try and test the system to see if it actually works!
Comedian Dudley Moore once said that the best car safety device is a rear-view mirror with a cop in it. The inference is that we need to be reminded of how we should behave.
So, are you comforted by these attempts to improve the safety of your driving experience?
Or do you recognise the assistance for what it is and feel that there is a danger of over-reliance on technology and a diminution of individual driver skill?
Please let us know your views – but only when it is safe to do so!