Not all new features in automobiles are safe. A new study released by the AAA is showing that vehicle ‘infotainment’ systems are distracting drivers more than they are assisting them. Researchers found drivers between the ages of 55 to 75 were experiencing the most difficulty with these systems, taking their attention off the road for up to eight-seconds longer than drivers ages 21 to 30.
Regardless of age, it only takes a driver looking away from the road for one second for a fatal road accident to occur. Infotainment systems that require extra attention from a driver are dangerous and counterproductive. These are the most distracting features Connecticut motorists should be aware of and the safety measures they can take to reduce accidents on the road.
The Most Distracting Features
The majority of drivers on American roads learned to operate internal vehicle functions with knobs and buttons. The switch to touch screen operations is proving to be a dangerous learning curve and requiring far more concentration than past designs. Some drivers are even having trouble turning on their air conditioning, which used to be a mindless task that could be done without a glance.
The AAA study, which is in the seventh phase of groundbreaking distracted driving research, found most current infotainment systems are poorly designed, unreliable, and equipped with technology that is difficult to use. Here are the features that are causing drivers the most problems:
- Voice Commands:Voice commands allowing drivers to text, call, navigate, or turn on the radio are taking too long, or requiring drivers to look down to cancel unwanted actions by pressing buttons or touch screens.
- Dual Screens:Some infotainment screens are set up with a dual-display that can be hard to read and navigate while driving.
- Slow Response:Certain vehicle models have sluggish response times that lead drivers to look down to see what is going on.
- Overly Sensitive Buttons:On the other end of the spectrum, certain systems are overly sensitive and jump ahead on commands drivers do not wish to make.
- Lack of useful tools:Some new systems only come with touch screens. When screens don’t work the way drivers wish, there are no alternate ways to control certain functions that we’re easy to do, to begin with.
- Small text:Screens with text displays that are hard to read lead drivers to look longer and harder instead of focusing on the road.
- Low placement:A system placed too low would require a driver to look down regardless of how well the features are working.
Experts say, however, infotainment system distractions are not necessarily age-related. Any driver can become distracted by an infotainment system glitch, particularly when models have a history of software issues.
The Most and Least Distracting Systems
Not all car manufacturers have designed their infotainment systems as well as others. In an analysis released by Consumer Reports, these are some of the most and least distracting systems on the market:
Acura: All (optional on ILX)
Cadillac (Cue only): All (optional on ATS)
Lexus: NX, RX, GS, LS, LC (optional on IS, RC, ES)
Mercedes- Benz: All
Tesla: Model S, Model X
Volvo: XC60, XC90, S90, V90
FCA (Uconnect 8.4-inch screen): Optional on all Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram models except the Grand Caravan, Renegade, and Wrangler
Ford/Lincoln (Ford Sync3 only): Standard on all Lincoln models
GM (except Cadillac)
Nissan: Standard on select models
Making Infotainment Systems Safer
The AAA and other automobile experts believe car manufactures must step up their game when it comes to making less demanding infotainment systems for aging drivers. More than one in five drivers will be over the age of 65 within the next decade. Without significant modifications to advanced safety features, accidents are bound to increase.
Making the infotainment systems in newer vehicles easier to use will also benefit the younger generation of drivers hitting the roads. Distracted driving is one of the most deadly driving behaviors in America. By reducing any number of distractions in the car, thousands of lives could be saved from unnecessary traffic accidents.
It Only Takes One Second
Looking away from the road is one of the deadliest decisions a driver can make. Too many drivers try to multitask behind the wheel, believing looking away for a few seconds is ‘okay’ when it’s anything but.
Drivers can reduce their chances of distracted driving accidents and increase their attention on the road by completing the following tasks before or after you drive:
- Setting up a playlist.
- Putting in navigation coordinates.
- Preparing kids for driving (snacks, toys, etc.)
- Getting out your wallet or other items you need on your trip and making them accessible.
- Making phone calls or answering texts.
- Eating snacks or meals.
- Checking in with social media.
All of these tasks can be dangerous when done while a vehicle is in motion. Don’t take a chance with your life or the lives of others by driving distracted.
Connecticut Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved has been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to the negligent acts of someone else, you may be eligible to receive compensation for any damages suffered. Contact our expert team car accident attorneys at Jacobs & Wallace for a free consultation to explore your options.