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Is overconfidence in automation causing car wrecks?

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Semi-automated vehicles are all the rage, whether they’re made by Tesla, Nissan or Cadillac or some other manufacturer – but the hype surrounding “self-driving” cars seems to have made drivers a wee bit too complacent for anybody’s good.

Studies indicate that the more high-tech and automated features in a vehicle, the more likely drivers will develop a sense of overconfidence in the infallibility of the machine. 

How does the overconfidence manifest?

A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that up to 53% of drivers using certain types of semi-autonomous driving systems were inclined to treat their vehicles as true “self-driving” machines…but they’re not. Overconfidence in the tech leads to:

  • Distracted monitoring: In all semi-automated vehicles, drivers are still required to monitor the road and be ready to take control at a moment’s notice. However, some drivers really do assume that the vehicle can handle everything – so they feel free to take their hands off the wheel and their eyes off the road whenever they want.
  • Carelessness: Drivers sometimes start to trust their advanced warning and driver-assistance systems to do all the work for them when it comes to watching for pedestrians as they back up or do other important tasks. That can cause drivers to simply stop checking their blind spots or taking other routine precautions.
  • Transition confusion: Drivers sometimes need to take over when prompted, and there can be confusion during the transition between automated and manual driving. Complacent drivers may not be prepared to regain control when necessary, leading to dangerous situations.

Most automated and semi-autonomous systems have limitations. Drivers who don’t fully understand these limitations may place undue faith in the technology, assuming it can navigate any scenario, which can lead to easily avoidable accidents. If you’re injured in one, find out more about your right to compensation for your losses.