Technology in Cars: Necessity or Distraction?

technology in carsHas technology in cars gone too far?

There’s no doubt that cars have come a long way.  With advances in technology over the years the options now available in cars in astounding.  50 years ago cars came with the basics and some were starting to add extra features.  Such things as automatic windows and locks prove to be helpful additions over the years, but satellite radio, blue tooth for your phone,  and iPod hook-ups.  Are these really a necessity or just a distraction for the driver? Other features now found in newer vehicles include a backup system and just recently Google has partnered with GM to offer Android powered dashboards.

Has it gone too far with technology in cars?  Many may believe that these are useful and for some vital features in cars. While others may disagree and state this is more of a distraction to drivers. Can all these features and driver assists cause us to lose focus on driving? Since the cellphone (mainly smartphones), there has been an increase in accidents and deaths due to texting and talking while driving. Why add more distractions than necessary while driving?

Technology has its benefit, that’s for sure.  But how much is too much? Let’s take a look at a few of the newest technologies currently in cars and compare them to cars without them.

Backup assist:  this one is fairly new over the last year or so.  The purpose of this system is to help with backing up and parallel parking.  Allowing the driver to see where they are going without hitting another vehicle or curb.  Sounds like a great technology, but is it necessary?  Didn’t we all have to learn how to backup straight and learn parallel parking in driver’s education?  Isn’t this a skill that we improved as we became an experienced driver?  In some ways you could look at this technology as a way to take the guess work out of it and prevent incidents or accidents.  Others will argue that we lose our skills and reaction times when becoming dependent on technology.

Satellite Radio:  ok, so this a nice added feature vs just the radio.  A lot more options to listen to that is for sure.  But again, is this a necessity?  Not really.  Having all these options, now allows the driver to spend more time switching through stations.  That itself can be a distraction, taking your eyes off the road to surf through hundreds of stations.  Personally I have a favorite station I listen to, have a few preset stations for a change and that seems to do me just fine. Less for me to be distracted by.

Now what about all the extra buttons on your steering wheel?  Yes, they are supposed to assist the driver with keeping their eyes on the road while surfing through radio stations, turning on the heated seats and answering their phone. I have to agree these may prove helpful, but are they really necessary. Is it just too much technology to cause unnecessary distractions?  It seems the focus of just driving from point A to point B has changed over the years.  We are more concerned about all the extra features and technology in cars, than just keeping our attention on the road and getting to our destination safely.

So what’s your feeling on all the added technology in cars?  Is it a necessity or distraction for the driver?

Let us know what you think.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

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