Cruise control is one of the most common and popular automated features on most vehicles, and many people cannot imagine taking a trip without it. However, as with any type of technology in your car, it is important to consider the impact that cruise control has on your driving ability.
Our New York City accident lawyers know that cruise control has some safety benefits, but also has risks associated with its use. Drivers need to understand how cruise control could potentially cause an accident and should make sure they do everything possible to keep themselves safe when using this technology.
Cruise Control and Safety
French researchers conducted an in-depth study to determine the impact cruise control has on driver safety, and the Boston Herald reported on their findings. There were 90 drivers involved in the study, and the drivers were divided into different groups based on age. Each driver was then hooked up to machines monitoring eye movement and brain activity as the driver drove on a simulated driving course.
The drivers used cruise control on the simulated driving course, and they encountered obstacles along the way including a bus accident, road construction, a radar and a toll booth. Their reaction time was measured, and the motorists were asked by researchers to report how vigilant they felt they were being at any given time.
The research revealed, unfortunately, that the drivers began to pay significantly less attention as time went on and they moved through the driving course. The driving became monotonous with the cruise control doing most of the work, and drivers began to zone out, relax and pay less attention to the road.
This behavior significantly increased the time it took for the drivers to react to obstacles on the road and the time it took for the drivers to stop their vehicles. In fact, by the end of their trip on the simulated driving course, drivers were hitting their brakes 85 meters further down the road than they did at the beginning. This can have profound consequences in situations where unexpected obstacles are encountered or in situations where a car in front stops short. If it takes the motorist 85 extra meters to hit the brakes, the risk of an accident is significantly increased.
The news on drivers zoning out was the bad news, but there was some good news about the use of cruise control: it helps motorist to maintain their speed. With the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimating that speeding costs $40.4 billion a year in losses and 1/3 of all fatal car accidents, preventing speeding needs to be a top goal. If cruise control can help with this–and evidence indicates it can–then cruise control could save lives.
To make sure drivers get the benefits of cruise control without the problems associated with losing focus, drivers using cruise should continually focus on scanning the road and shoulders ahead of them and should make a conscious effort to stop their mind from wandering when driving.
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC offers free consultations. Call 1-877-313-7673.
More Blog Entries:
Protecting Our Youngest Passengers — Child Passenger Safety Week, New York Injury Lawyer Blog, September 24, 2013