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Tech in cars may not always prevent crashes

Most cars produced today include technology far superior to that of just a few short years ago. In-car navigation systems were about as high-tech as a car used to be. These days, cars not only navigate, they can also show you what is behind them, parallel park for you and stop in case your reflexes are slower. Some cars can even drive without you touching the wheel.

All this new safety technology must mean a reduction in crashes, right? A new study published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that while some technology does help avoid collisions, highway safety is still not a guarantee.

Blind spot assist and back-up cameras

Many cars have lane or blind-spot cameras that alert the driver if they drift outside their lane. This technology, as well as back-up cameras, have proven to be effective in preventing accidents at low speeds. Side-impact crashes at highway speeds remain steady.

Automatic braking

There are quite a few models that have automatic collision detection which will apply the brakes automatically when it detects an obstacle. This advancement is a step away from self-driving automobiles becoming more common. If a car can locate vehicles, pedestrians and other obstacles, at some point it may avoid accidents altogether.

The jury is still out on self-driving cars, but as for the other, more popular advancements, the good comes with some bad. Having a car that can stop for you does not mean that it will. There are flaws in every system, and becoming reliant on the car taking the lead and reacting for you may ultimately lead to more crashes.

Think of it this way. A driver with zero driving assistance should pay complete attention to the road at all times. A vehicle operator who believes a camera will detect a sway in the lane or a car stopping short in front may feel confident reading an email or sending a text. Collisions will still continue to occur. The new technology only works if drivers continue to pay attention and use it to assist not replace.

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