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    Thread: Are "safety" features making us worse drivers?

    1. Member Hogan's Avatar
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      02-15-2017 11:45 AM #26
      I mean, kinda.

      I was just thinking about this on my drive in to work this morning. I was doing the brakes on my dad's CLS550 so I was driving that, and compared to my Mustang, I really don't need to do very much. It's very easy to start to rely on those safety/convenience features like lane assist, adaptive cruise control, blind spot check, etc.

      So are they making us worse drivers in the cars equipped with these features? No.

      But if you took a person that's only driven, say, newer Mercedes with all those safety features, and put them in my Mustang, I doubt they'd last a week with no traction control, a heavy clutch, disabled ABS, no blind spot check, etc.

      So as long as nothing fails, and these people keep doing what they're doing, it's probably fine when you look at it by the numbers, but when you come down to actual driving skills, it makes them way worse.
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      02-15-2017 11:54 AM #27
      Yes, nanny features allow a driver to become absorbed into a distraction other than paying attention to the road and traffic.

      Also the amazing traction control systems allow a driver to operate much closer to the point of no return. In "older" cars the driver got pretty quick feedback that the weather was bad and they needed to respect the conditions of the road. Now you can drive at very close to the limit and the ecu works wonders at applying different brake and throttle controls. Even more control and closer to the limit with a modern torque vectoring AWD system. This is why we are seeing 40-90 car pile ups on the freeway. Drivers think they have control and in fact they are not in control. The ecu is allowing them to operate way to close to that threshold and when they need to brake or emergency lane change there is no margin left.

      That said: I wouldn't buy a new car without the features. Other than Lane keep assist. Blind spot, collision, and traction controls in conjunction with a alert responsible driver makes for a very safe drive.

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      02-15-2017 11:59 AM #28
      Quote Originally Posted by GoHomePossum View Post
      Driving my Jeep regularly has made me a better driver. Drum brakes, no ABS, mediocre tires and questionable seatbelts makes you think ahead of every mile.
      if only you applied that thought process to your posts.

      but in all seriousness, all these electronic aids i dont personally think its making good drivers worse, but i think its making bad drivers think they are better drivers. these assists are put in because they are needed, because someone has died standing behind a car while said car was backing up, or because someone blindly changed lanes because they are a moron.

    4. Member DeeJoker's Avatar
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      02-15-2017 12:13 PM #29
      Quote Originally Posted by Hogan View Post
      But if you took a person that's only driven, say, newer Mercedes with all those safety features, and put them in my Mustang, I doubt they'd last a week with no traction control, a heavy clutch, disabled ABS, no blind spot check, etc.

      So as long as nothing fails, and these people keep doing what they're doing, it's probably fine when you look at it by the numbers, but when you come down to actual driving skills, it makes them way worse.
      I think Ford needs to work on an automatic crowd avoidance function for Mustangs, but that's a topic for another thread.

      To make a distinction here: I'm not talking about airbags, seat belts, or even ABS. The advent of those and as well as improved crash worthiness are not what my intent was. I'm referring to adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings, blind spot detection, auto-parking, and the trailer reverse control. They are building a dependence on tech gizmos that will always be subject to Murphy's Law.

      Is it time for Matlock yet?
      The above post may contain opinions, coarse language, offensive terms, spelling mistakes, and/or improper grammar. You have been warned.

    5. Member windycityvdub's Avatar
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      02-15-2017 12:23 PM #30
      Are accident avoidance features making us worse drivers? No. The data shows we are getting into less accidents in vehicles equipped with the technology vs. without.
      Is distracted driving making us worse drivers? Likely.

      IIHS Study: Volvo’s City Safety Reduces Rear-End Crashes by 41%, Injuries by 48%

      https://www.media.volvocars.com/us/e...injuries-by-48

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      02-15-2017 12:23 PM #31
      I saw a Toyota commercial recently. They pretty much advertised that if you're distracted by music and passengers, and you happens to drift over a lane, the car will correct itself. Way to go Toyota.

      Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk

    7. Member worth_fixing's Avatar
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      02-15-2017 12:31 PM #32
      Absolutely. People are losing touch with car control because they no longer have to control their car.

      Same thing as the pilots flying commercial jets are losing their touch because autopilot is taking their jerb.

      I say make manual transmissions mandatory.

    8. Member adrew's Avatar
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      02-15-2017 12:38 PM #33
      Our Corolla has all of the latest stuff and I have tried a few times to see what it would do if I wasn't paying attention and it will really only step in if an accident is imminent.

      They seem to have designed it so that you can't rely on it to totally "drive" for you, like if a driver wanted to text or watch a movie -- with the cruise on, it will match the speed of the vehicle in front of you, even braking — firmly, if needed — but you do have to steer. If you start to stray out of your lane it will feed in gentle corrections, beeping if you cross a line or change lanes without signaling, but if you encounter a slight curve and keep going straight off into the grass it can't correct that much.

      It will alert you if it thinks you will need to brake to avoid rear-ending someone. I have tested it a few times when I am approaching a vehicle that is turning into a business where I can see they will complete the turn before I get up there. With the cruise on it will brake down to about 20-25 MPH (kind of cool to see the brake lights come on with your foot off the pedal), then beep once while releasing them, then you have to slow the rest of the way to a stop. If you just coast up to it without applying the brakes it will start frantically beeping but will stop beeping if you juuuust breathe on the brake pedal which shows it you are paying attention. I have never gotten close enough to anything that it has thrown out the anchors though I would love to try it with a fake foam car or something.

      I thought the cruise would be great in trafficky suburbia but it is not consistent -- sometimes it brakes way too early, sometimes it waits too long and is too jabby so I pretty much only use it on 55 MPH or higher roads.

      All that said, with all the shenanigans I see out there on a daily basis from inattention, like a last-second panic stop with four locked-up tires on a 35 MPH road I can only welcome it. If it keeps someone from rear-ending me or changing into my lane, bring it on.

      I will say that when we first got the car I had a few situations where I expecting it to take over, for example, with the cruise on 75 and someone changed in front of me going 60. When I signaled left, it was like I was expecting it to steer left for me!
      Improving the signal-to-noise ratio

    9. Senior Member dunhamjr's Avatar
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      02-15-2017 12:42 PM #34
      IMO, anything 'active' like lane departure, auto braking, auto park... etc.

      absolutely.
      anything that is purposely working to do things that drivers should do, means that people will become less skilled at the how and when behind these actions.
      if you never parallel park because the car does it for you... what happens when you are forced to manually parallel park? you will suck at it.

      all these active safety items allow the driver to become less attentive and less worried about the process of driving because "the car will do it for me".
      that isnt the mentality behind gaining experience and proficiency.

      you can see this same distancing and lack of experience/knowledge in many areas outside cars as well.

      people cannot balance their own checkbooks, because Venmo will tell them their balance.
      people cannot cook, because convenience/fast food is so prevalent.
      people cannot talk to other people in person, because social media has separated them from being physically present and has allowed that digital connection to replace REAL connection.

      being 41. i am a bit in the middle. i can do both sides, tech or DIY. i can see the benefits of both sides. but i can also see the negatives... mostly on the 'less physically engaged' side.
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      02-15-2017 12:44 PM #35
      Yes they totally are. Case in point. Before cellphones could you not just rattle off everyone's number? You might have had to close your eyes and picture the pattern you moved your finger in, but you could just rattle off everyone's number. Ask someone today and they will have to look at there phone to give you someone's number. So yes the tec is doing more for us, but in that it's also dumbing us down.

    11. Member Shmi's Avatar
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      02-15-2017 01:00 PM #36
      How many people rear-end someone while looking over their shoulder vs people who have lane change assist?

      How many people **** up and hit someone's bumper while parallel parking vs people whose cars park themselves?

      The features make us better car operators, but only by virtue of keeping us safer from harm. Which is better than not.

      But they may also very well make us worse as drivers if we depend solely on them.

      Basically, if the nannies work, they make us better/safer car operators. If they fail or you take someone who depends on those nannies and place them in a situation where those are taken away, and it's all they've ever known or are used to, then the lack of experience makes them worse at driving.
      Last edited by Shmi; 02-15-2017 at 01:02 PM.
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    12. Member Maroon's Avatar
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      02-15-2017 01:04 PM #37
      Good drivers will still be good drivers. You just have to hope the electronic nannies make the bad drivers better. My personal wish would be an electronic arm that comes out of the dash and slaps the isht out of the driver after one the "safety features" has to activate.

    13. Senior Member AZGolf's Avatar
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      02-15-2017 01:20 PM #38
      Quote Originally Posted by worth_fixing View Post
      Same thing as the pilots flying commercial jets are losing their touch because autopilot is taking their jerb.
      You can claim that, but show me how there has been any kind of huge increase in US commercial airline crashes in the last 10 years? Hint: there hasn't. There's virtually no US commercial airline crashes now.

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      02-15-2017 01:23 PM #39
      Safety features? Safer for sure.

      Smartphones? Not so sure.
      Quote Originally Posted by Mk1Madness
      Back when making your car faster and better handling was the big thing.
      Quote Originally Posted by Tavarish
      The car's best safety feature includes ejecting you in the moment of impact and wishing you the best of luck.

    15. Member atomicalex's Avatar
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      02-15-2017 01:27 PM #40
      Quote Originally Posted by mdo91 View Post
      I saw a Toyota commercial recently. They pretty much advertised that if you're distracted by music and passengers, and you happens to drift over a lane, the car will correct itself. Way to go Toyota.
      Meh, VW had the "Safe happens" campaign years ago.

      It's a distraction thing, IMO. Ford did some insanely complex human interaction testing and came up with what was called the "haptic seat" - a seat that vibrated based on what was going on around you. People did not like the haptic seat because it intruded on their bubble, even though the seat was shown to improve driver attention to the road significantly. The seat was effective because it reminded the driver that they were driving. The whole project was an amazing piece of human behaviour research.

      I personally will stand up for ABS, though. ABS is the one system that makes an improvement in all cases. Whether you use it for braking or for braking training (learning threshold braking, terrain management, etc), it works and makes everyone safer. The rest of the nannies, learn to drive, *******!
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    16. Member adrew's Avatar
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      02-15-2017 01:39 PM #41
      Quote Originally Posted by atomicalex View Post
      I personally will stand up for ABS, though. ABS is the one system that makes an improvement in all cases. Whether you use it for braking or for braking training (learning threshold braking, terrain management, etc), it works and makes everyone safer. The rest of the nannies, learn to drive, *******!
      And stability control. While arguably it is an enabler of dangerous behavior for some folks, I see it save someone driving aggressively on the highway probably once a month.

      Usually it is something soft with a good bit of power like a Sonata V6. I'll see someone punch it up to 90-100 in the right lane to pass a pack of slower cars, then cut the wheel hard to the left ... I have observed multiple instances where the rear end starts to come around, only to see the car yank itself back straight and avoiding a potentially multi-car accident.

      And I 100% agree on ABS. I don't want to have to try and threshold brake on a slick, wet, bumpy road when someone runs a stop sign and pulls out in front of me. I just want to stand on the brakes and feel the EBD shift braking power from side-to-side and front-to-back searching for traction.
      Improving the signal-to-noise ratio

    17. 02-15-2017 01:50 PM #42
      Imo, I think it just evens things up from past driving generations. There are more distractions nowadays, along with more traffic pollution in general. Autonomous cars on the other hand...
      Something about a fresh start: I have mine everyday.

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      02-15-2017 02:01 PM #43
      Quote Originally Posted by adrew View Post
      And stability control. While arguably it is an enabler of dangerous behavior for some folks, I see it save someone driving aggressively on the highway probably once a month.

      Usually it is something soft with a good bit of power like a Sonata V6. I'll see someone punch it up to 90-100 in the right lane to pass a pack of slower cars, then cut the wheel hard to the left ... I have observed multiple instances where the rear end starts to come around, only to see the car yank itself back straight and avoiding a potentially multi-car accident.

      And I 100% agree on ABS. I don't want to have to try and threshold brake on a slick, wet, bumpy road when someone runs a stop sign and pulls out in front of me. I just want to stand on the brakes and feel the EBD shift braking power from side-to-side and front-to-back searching for traction.
      Thats skill, the Sonativian Flick. No seriously, I agree driver's seem to have rediscovered speed or put more confidence in their cars
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      02-15-2017 02:09 PM #44
      I am reminded of an old news story about the Mk 4 Jetta. While the car had poor crash test ratings it had high real world safety ratings. The conclusion drawn was the Jetta was a safe car because it made the driver feel unsafe. That feeling changed how owners drove.

      When you feel perfectly safe behind the wheel, why pay attention?
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      02-15-2017 02:23 PM #45
      "Are "safety" features making us worse drivers? i.e. -adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings, blind spot detection, auto-parking, and the trailer reverse control."

      Yes, Yes and more Yes.


      We should feel uncomfortable and connected to the road.

      All of these new safety features give false confidence and are a distraction.

      My 2 cents.
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      02-15-2017 02:51 PM #46
      Nearly a decade ago, on a photography forum I belong to, someone asked the question "Do Smart Cameras Make Dumb Photographers?". The consensus was yes, but nobody volunteered to give up their auto focus or image stabilization on a paying gig, either.

    22. 02-15-2017 02:54 PM #47
      Quote Originally Posted by AZGolf View Post
      You can claim that, but show me how there has been any kind of huge increase in US commercial airline crashes in the last 10 years? Hint: there hasn't. There's virtually no US commercial airline crashes now.
      No, there isn't a huge increase in the number of crashes, but there are numerous examples of crashes that happened for precisely this reason. To wit:

      http://99percentinvisible.org/episod...-paradox-pt-1/

      Key quote:

      “We appear to be locked into a cycle in which automation begets the erosion of skills or the lack of skills in the first place and this then begets more automation.”

      If you listen to the podcast it goes into much more detail than the article. Basically, the Air France crash a while back was the result of the pilots not recognizing an aerodynamic stall - something that you learn within your first 2 or 3 flight lessons and consistently practice until you get into the heavies. Recovery should have been automatic.

      See also the Asiana hard landing at SFO. Or some of these:

      http://www.flightdeckautomation.com/...-analysis.aspx

      Just because it doesn't happen often doesn't mean it's not happening at all. And these are people who fly hundreds of hours a year, are routinely quizzed on emergency procedures, and have to pass rigorous simulator checkrides on a regular basis. If they're making a mess of it, what chance does Joe and Jane Sixpack have?

    23. Member DeeJoker's Avatar
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      02-15-2017 03:08 PM #48
      Quote Originally Posted by adrew View Post
      And I 100% agree on ABS. I don't want to have to try and threshold brake on a slick, wet, bumpy road when someone runs a stop sign and pulls out in front of me. I just want to stand on the brakes and feel the EBD shift braking power from side-to-side and front-to-back searching for traction.
      I learned how to drive pre-ABS on my first car: an '86 Olds Cutlass Supreme. Wet/snowy weather and vigorous application of brakes made a certain orifice slam shut if you didn't leave enough following distance. Steering around an obstacle in the wet with brake lockup? Good luck. ABS has saved my skin and though I know how to pump the brakes, I'm certainly glad I don't have to anymore.
      The above post may contain opinions, coarse language, offensive terms, spelling mistakes, and/or improper grammar. You have been warned.

    24. Senior Member AZGolf's Avatar
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      02-15-2017 03:19 PM #49
      Quote Originally Posted by gr8shandini View Post
      No, there isn't a huge increase in the number of crashes, but there are numerous examples of crashes that happened for precisely this reason. To wit:

      Air France

      Asiana
      Note that I said US airlines, which neither of your examples is. Also - those are pretty much the ONLY major crashes in many years, and almost everyone survived Asiana 214 anyway.

      People are crashing cars because they're not paying attention to driving anymore.

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      02-15-2017 03:57 PM #50
      Two pages and no one mentioned Tesla autopilot crashes
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