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Mike Waters' blog: 18 November 2011 - The Trouble With Technology

Date: 18 November 2011

Mike Waters is senior insight & consultancy manager at Arval, the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company.

Vehicle technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years making it safer, more comfortable and even more fun to drive. Picking the right gadgets and gizmos has become an important part of vehicle selection and can have a big impact on the driver experience.

The risk is that some drivers come to rely too heavily on this technology which can on occasion let you down. As an example, rear parking sensors are very effective at reducing the likelihood of annoying bumper scrapes but they won't stop them altogether. There will always be examples of when they either don't pick up smaller obstacles, drivers don't hear them above the radio, or something comes out of nowhere before the driver or sensors can react.

Another example, and one of the most common cases of technology not always working in isolation, comes with satellite navigation systems. It's one of the most common gadgets that modern drivers use but a recent survey shows that sixty percent of drivers have suffered 'sat nav rage' as a result of being sent in the wrong direction or on a longer route than they expected.

Clearly a sat nav is great for guiding you from A to B, but anyone that uses one on a regular basis will know that they don't always take you on the best route all of the time. As a result, it's always advisable to have a rough idea where you are going and the main roads that you should be using rather than relying blindly on the equipment.

It would be wrong to warn drivers off in-car technology because the manufacturers spend millions of pounds each year kitting their cars out with useful and highly effective equipment. The point is that it's a support and should be used as such. Drivers should be under no illusions that they still need to keep their wits about them.

Irrespective of the car that you drive, the driver remains the key variable and relying too heavily on technology is likely to cause you some grief from time to time.

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