Mike Waters' blog: 21 May 2014 - No substitute
21 May 2014
Mike Waters is senior insight & consultancy manager at Arval, the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company
With the wide range of useful technology available inside modern vehicles, journeys are becoming easier, safer and more comfortable.
However, it is important that drivers strike the right balance to utilise but not become too reliant on this technology. In short, it is not an excuse to become complacent.
A great example of this is reversing sensors - they are a really effective tool so a car fitted with them should never be involved in a low-speed manoeuvring incident where the driver is at fault. Unfortunately, we still see them on a fairly regular basis.
Excuses range from the driver parking in a space forwards, therefore nullifying the impact of the sensors, through to drivers playing the stereo so loud that they can't hear the beep until its too late - all examples to show that some technology can't be utilised without the driver doing the right things.
Looking to more recent technology, electric cars also provide a good example. The range of the vehicle can be influenced significantly by the driver.
Making full use of regenerative braking can make a real difference and demonstrates that the technology can be as reliant on the driver as the driver is on the technology.
It is also worth remembering that any behavioural change introduced through EV driving will have knock-on benefits when driving conventionally powered vehicles.
Technology that replaces the role of the driver isn't a million miles away - self driving cars are being tested around the world and self parking cars already exist, not to mention the range of safety devices in modern vehicles which help to prevent accidents, often without the driver ever knowing it.
It's just important to remember that a lot of current technology is there to support the driver and not replace them, and if drivers don't remember that, they could be putting themselves in a tricky position.