If you’ve bought a car in recent years, you’ve probably noticed several new features designed to keep you safe on the road. And thanks to the advanced technology and technology, today’s cars are safer than ever. (Having the right auto insurance can also protect you on the road.)
However, a national survey by Erie Insurance found that not everyone is taking advantage of these new safety features.
According to the survey, which asked 500 U.S. licensed drivers (ages 18 and older with vehicles manufactured in 2016 and later), whether they intentionally turn off or disable these safety features that could ultimately help them avoid crashes.
So, which features do drivers turn off – and why?
Most common reason for disabling: “Irritation”
In the survey, drivers said their most common reasons for turning off or disabling features is that they find them “annoying” or “distracting.”
Jon Bloom, senior vice president of personal products at ERIE, said automakers are always working to refine and improve features. But in some cases, drivers just need to learn how the feature works and get used to it.
“Ideally as the features improve and drivers become more comfortable with them, their use will become a matter of course like seat belts are today,” Bloom said. “The payoff could be huge in terms of reducing crashes and saving lives.”
What if you left them behind?
We took the investigation one step further. In consultation with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, we estimated the proportion and number of certain types of accidents that could have been avoided if drivers had left the safety features on.
The analysis also looked at the potential safety improvements that could be achieved if all cars had the safety features and left them on. For example, if all cars had automated emergency braking and drivers left it on, crashes could be reduced by 750,000.
The analysis also showed:
- Leaving on automatic emergency braking could have reduced front-to-rear crashes by 60%, resulting in 16,000+ fewer crashes.
- Leaving on file change warning could have reduced single vehicle, side sweep, frontal crashes by 14% or nearly 8,000 fewer crashes.
- Leaving on blind spot monitoring could have reduced lane change collisions by 15%, resulting in approx 1,000 fewer of these types of crashes.
“We hope that the tremendous benefits of these safety features will encourage drivers to use them,” said Bloom. “It’s one thing to intuitively know that a certain feature makes driving safer, but it’s another to see the effect in hard numbers. These safety features can help prevent thousands of crashes.”
Even experts who welcome technological advances that improve safety admit there is an adjustment period.
“Every new feature in a car takes some training to use. But when it comes to safety features, the data clearly show that the time it takes is well worth the effort,” said Paul Atchley, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of South Florida who has studied distracted driving for more than two decades. “Although I think the blind spot in my new car is overly protective, even a useful warning can be the difference between a safe lane change and a near-crash.”
Protection for you and your vehicle
From the safety features to the paint color, there’s a lot that goes into choosing a car that’s just the right fit. When it comes to your car insurance, you deserve an experience that’s tailored to you, too.
See what’s different about car insurance from ERIE by contacting us today.
ERIE® insurance products and services are provided by one or more of the following insurers: Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home office: Erie, Pennsylvania) or Erie Insurance Company of New York (home office: Rochester, New York). The companies within the Erie Insurance Group are not licensed to do business in all states. See the company’s licensing and business information.
The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this blog are effective as of July 2022 and are subject to change at any time.
Insurance products are subject to conditions and exclusions not described in this blog. The policy contains the specific details of coverage, terms, conditions and exclusions.
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