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New vehicle technology makes cars safer—but they don’t drive themselves

Posted at 3:58 PM, Nov 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-27 18:55:20-05

BOZEMAN – According to AAA, 40 percent of Americans believe automated features on new vehicles have the ability to drive the car by itself.

Well, that’s not exactly true.

Newer vehicles have features to keep you safer on the roadways, and recently there has been a misconception about them.

“This car has what they call adaptive cruise control, which is a safety factor and side warning which is all safety, front and back up cameras. So these cars don’t drive themselves; the features they put in are to keep you safe,” said Scott Keyser, owner of Keyser Automotive in Bozeman.

While these features in new cars are excellent for safety, it doesn’t mean you can pay less attention to the road.

And they do in fact keep you safe. This technology saved Keyser’s wife and sister-in-law.

“Her and her sister are coming back from Helena, they’re out by Wheat, Montana and they went up over a hill 65 mph. Coming over the top there’s 16 deer in the road. Before my sister-in-law could hit the breaks, they stopped,” he said.

With winter upon us, no matter what technology your car may have, the roadways become much more dangerous. Montana Highway Patrol responds to several accidents due to the poor road conditions and drivers using cruise control.

“It’s because we are over-dependent on the technology of these cars,” said MHP Trooper Alex Velasquez. “A lot of people set their cruise control, and whether they’re looking down at the radio or looking at the mountains or the scenery or anything like that, bad road conditions can sneak up on you. It can go from bare dry roads in the sunlight to a sheet of ice in the shade.”

Technology does indeed make our lives easier, but cars do not drive themselves.

“Don’t be over-dependent on the technology. It’s easy with the lane adjustments and the cruise controls and all that stuff. Definitely pay attention to the road and the road conditions. Speed, I mean slow down. People really need to give themselves more time to get to their destinations. The following distance between the car in front of you drastically needs to increase, especially on icy roadways,” Velasquez said.

Reporting by Emma Hamilton for MTN News