Is technology in vehicles safe, or is it more distractions for drivers to engage with? The jury is still out, particularly for new drivers. DrivingMBA’s approach to technology in vehicles emphasizes that it is there to assist a driver, not to “do” the function for the driver. If the vehicle(s) your teenager is driving has driver assists, turn them off when they first begin to learn to drive. They need to learn how to back up, make lane changes, park, etc., without assistance. If they start with the assists, they will learn to “rely on them” vs. using them as intended, as an assistant.
Once your teen has been on the road and shown proficiency in those areas, turn on the assists one feature at a time. This way, it is introduced as an “assist” in the process. We are not in self-driving vehicles yet, and new drivers must learn how to manage vehicles without the assistance of technology.
The AAA Foundation for Safety conducted a study regarding new vehicle technology and the results indicate that drivers tend to use the “learn as you drive” method when utilizing the technology and are not well versed in the proper use.
The Foundation recommends following a PLAN:
- Purpose: Learn the purpose of driving assistance technology by requesting hands-on training at the dealership, reading the vehicle’s owner’s manual, and visiting the manufacturer’s website.
- Limitations: Do not make 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 Practice: Allocate time for safe on-road practice, so drivers know exactly how this technology works in real driving situations.
- Never Rely On It: Do not rely on this technology; instead, act as if the vehicle does not have it, with the driver always prepared to retake control if needed.