Common misconceptions about new driver assistance systems & how to use them

If you have a new car, there’s tech built in that’s supposed to make traveling down the road a much safer experience, but the fact is that technology has its limitations.

If you have a new car, there’s tech built in that’s supposed to make traveling down the road a much safer experience, but the fact is that technology has its limitations.

Sophisticated driving assistance systems are now common in newer vehicles, but new research shows drivers aren’t confident and don’t understand the new technology.

Drivers need to be trained to know how to effectively use that technology and still maintain a hands-on and heads-up attitude on the road.

Here are some common misconceptions:

  • According to AAA, many believe the system will react to stationary objects in their lane like construction cones or other obstacles, but most adaptive cruise control systems ignore stationary objects.
  • Drivers also think lane assistance is fool-proof, but it won’t work when the lines are faint or if the road is covered in dirt. Some systems are also known to have issues every 8 miles.
  • Another misconception: believing the system can operate in all weather conditions. Experts say drivers shouldn’t even use cruise control if driving in rainy weather or a storm.

So if you plan to just “learn as you go,” AAA recommends new vehicle owners follow this plan instead:

  • First, learn the purpose of driving assistance technology by requesting hands-on training at the dealership, reading the owner’s manual and visiting the manufacturer’s website.
  • You also should not make any assumptions about what the technology can and cannot do.
  • A driving assistance system should not be confused with a self-driving one.
  • Allow time for safe on-road practice so drivers know exactly how this technology works in real driving situations.
  • And never rely on this technology. Instead, act as if the vehicle does not have it, so you are always prepared to retake control if needed.

Research shows the understanding and use of the technology changed for drivers after six months of owning a car.

And those who had a strong grasp of the tech had more hands-on training.


About the Author:

This Emmy Award-winning television, radio and newspaper journalist has anchored The Morning Show for 18 years.