Are modern cars making us worse drivers?
How much do you rely on technological aides when driving?
I’m a country girl and learnt to drive on a tractor at an early age like many others. As a teenager I progressed to what we Australians call a ‘paddock basher’, an early 1970’s Toyota Corolla, that I eventually killed when the battery fell into the fan and I roasted the engine.
I got my license more than 20 years ago and I’ve always driven modern cars on the road and never had a major accident. Although I enjoy spirited driving, I know my ability is not good enough to ever switch off the traction control on these cars. I’m happy to let a computer keep me on the straight and narrow.
As such when I have participated in driver training events where I have turned traction control off, I have more than once ended up facing the direction I entered the corner.
I was speaking to friend recently who said that he was not even going to bother teaching his children to drive a manual car, as they would most likely never have to drive one in their lives and would most likely be soon in a car that would drive itself.
Modern cars now come with 360° cameras, adaptive cruise control, lane departure detection, driver alertness monitoring and blind spot warning technology, to name just a few aides. These are all designed to reduce the likelihood of us crashing.
I recently went from driving a modern car fitted with all of these aides to a Hyundai i30. This is when I had the realisation that all the technology I was now used to has actually made me a worse or lazy driver.
I reversed out of my own driveway feeling almost scared because I did not have a reversing camera even though there was nothing I could hit. I felt like I was paying a lot more attention to my surroundings as I was driving than what I would be in my regular car.
This is when I came to the conclusion that although all of these technological aides on modern cars may reduce our accident rates, they are actually making us worse drivers. I would love to hear your thoughts about this.