Motor vehicle technology has advanced beyond the imagination of our parents or grandparents. Our vehicles provide entertainment, navigation and luxuries.

They also can make us more dangerous drivers. That is the conclusion of researchers who examined driver complacency and technology.

Putting technology to the test

Auto safety enthusiasts tout developments such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. They say the technologies are among those that keep motorists and passengers safe. The features, they say, give drivers fewer things to think about when they are behind the wheel.

A study by AAA is less enthusiastic. Drivers, it found, can become too comfortable with new technologies. As a result, they think less about safe driving and are twice as likely to engage in distracted driving.

Researchers say drivers adapt to technology in stages. They take time to learn how it works before testing it in real-life situations. As they gain experience, they also begin to rely on the technology instead of their own skills. They become overconfident and careless.

“ACE” the test

People love to talk about having the latest gadgets in their vehicles. AAA reminds us, though, that safety is still the driver’s responsibility. Warning lights and sounds cannot protect someone when she or he relies on technology to do the work.

AAA calls for drivers to follow the “ACE” model:

  • A: Always remain “active and engaged.”
  • C: Commit to learning how to use technology.
  • E: Expect the technology to have limits.

A technology-related distracted driving accident can change your life in a second. You may face major medical expenses, lost wages and lifelong injuries.

Put yourself to the test

Everyone knows the use of some technologies is dangerous while driving. People who talk on handheld phones, for instance, place the health and lives of others at risk.

You can do only so much to protect yourself against careless motorists. The steps that you take, however, can save the lives of you and your loved ones.

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