Driver’s Education in the Age of Advanced Vehicle Safety

More and more vehicles are equipped with advanced driver assistance systems, but are they a replacement for driving skills? Definitely not! With drivers more anxious on the road than ever, we wanted to know how to create safe new drivers. 

Driving Anxiety

To better understand what aspects of driving make Americans nervous, we surveyed 1,500 people about their driving anxiety and whether Americans have a history of past traumatic experiences on the road. Here’s a summary of what we found:

Driving anxiety stats

Our Cars Are Getting Safer

Even though more people are anxious about driving in recent years, cars are actually getting safer thanks to new technology. Every model year, new safety features are developed and automated features get more widely adopted. 

What was once cutting-edge quickly becomes standard, raising the safety bar for all drivers (after all, features like seat belts, anti-lock brakes, advanced tires, airbags, and adaptive headlights that we’d consider standard now were once new and exciting safety upgrades.)

Now it’s more and more common to see vehicles with advanced driver-assistance systems, also known as ADAS, that utilize cameras, sensors, and computers to help keep drivers safe. ADAS features can include:

  • Blind spot detection

  • Parking assistance

  • Backup cameras

  • Pedestrian detection

  • Collision warnings

  • Adaptive cruise control

  • Cross-traffic alert and lane departure warnings

As companies experiment with AI and other technologies, these additional safety features are only going to get better and more widespread.

These Technologies Do Help

Does all this fancy tech make a difference? Studies say that it does. A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that blind spot monitoring reduced the rate of lane-change crashes of all severities by 14%, and lane-change crashes with injuries by 23%. 

And people feel safer, too: an Aceable survey found that 72% of people felt safer driving with additional safety features than they did without.

But There Are Downsides

It’s wonderful that these technologies can reduce crashes, but overreliance on automated safety features can create a new danger. Aceable surveyed 619 drivers about driving in the digital age. Our survey found that 45% of people felt safe briefly looking away from the road while driving because of their additional safety features. New drivers are more likely to lean heavily on their car’s tech: Our survey found that Gen Z drivers are 79% more likely than average to have stopped performing at least one manual safety check because of their car’s automated safety features.

Not a Replacement for Driving Skills

Additional safety features and adaptive technologies are not meant to be a replacement for fundamental driving skills. Our survey found that 98% of drivers felt that safety features should supplement safe driving techniques, not replace them. In fact, 89% of respondents report avoiding a collision by using safe driving techniques.

The Importance of Driver Education

Driver’s ed is as important as ever: 93% of respondents to our survey said they’d recommend driver’s ed to others even if it wasn’t required. There’s no substitute for driver’s education and guided practice when it comes to learning the fundamentals of safe driving.

But just like vehicles have adapted, driver’s ed needs to keep up with the times, too. New drivers need to be taught what their car’s additional safety features can (and can’t!) do. When looking for a driver’s ed course, teens and their parents should seek out education that can help them learn basic skills alongside advanced technologies. In fact, 91% of people believe that the variation in features across different automobile types makes a strong foundational driver’s ed more important than ever before. 

Interactive Learning

At Aceable, we take our responsibility to new drivers very seriously. Utilizing proven instructional design techniques, our online driver’s ed courses are designed to teach foundational skills for attentive and responsible driving while also helping students understand the array of safety features and ADAS technologies they may encounter.

Seven out of ten people surveyed said they want a driver’s ed course that is interactive. Aceable courses utilize interactive questions, videos, games, scenarios, 3-D simulations, and other interactive elements to keep students engaged and promote deep understanding of critical driving concepts.

Like blind spot detection or a back-up camera, Aceable courses use technology to supplement and enhance the experience of driver’s ed. Plus, we’re teen-friendly: students can complete their course on their own time, around their other activities. That ensures they’re doing driver’s ed when they’re ready to focus and really absorb the information. 

Safe Drivers Have Skills

It’s clear that, at least for now, technology cannot replace solid driving skills. Driver’s ed and guided driving practice are the best ways to get more safe and skilled drivers on the road. 98% of people agree: automobile safety tech is an amazing addition to a safe driver’s repertoire, but solid skills are still a must-have.

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