Many newer model vehicles are equipped with all sorts of technology that helps drivers avoid crashes. Some advanced systems are able to take control of the vehicle to stop it or get it back on track to avoid a crash. Others give drivers warnings of potentially dangerous situations, and they have to act on those warnings themselves.
However, drivers can ignore those warnings or — worse — turn them off. A study last year by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that approximately half of drivers who have lane departure warning systems in their vehicles turn them off. These systems alert drivers when their vehicle is moving out of its lane. Some systems have a buzzing or beeping alert. Others cause the seat to vibrate.
Lane departure warning systems, when properly used, have been shown to reduce head-on collisions as well as sideswipe crashes by some 21 percent. According to one IIHS official, “Given the large number of fatal crashes that involve unintentional lane departures, technology aimed at preventing them has the potential to save a lot of lives.” If all vehicles had this warning, according to the IIHS, tens of thousands of crashes and injuries could be prevented every year.
Just why people opt to disable features that could prevent crashes and potentially save their lives isn’t clear. If your car has any built-in warning and crash prevention systems, it’s essential to ensure that they’re operating properly and never to turn them off. They could save you from crashes with other drivers who aren’t so conscientious about their safety.