While cars are constantly being updated with safety technology, most of the innovations in vehicles are meant to save a driver’s life in optimal circumstances. Unfortunately, many safety features cannot compensate for the effects of driver distraction—and in many cases, distraction will compromise the benefits of modern safety technology.

Distractions cause delayed reaction times and give safety features less time and space to work, dulling their effects. Here are just a few ways distracted drivers are working against a car’s safety features:

  • Anti-lock braking systems. Anti-lock brakes can provide constant braking pressure without skidding or slipping, stopping the vehicle much faster and over less distance. However, these brakes still depend on the driver to press the brake as soon as possible—and a driver whose eyes are off the road may depress the brake several seconds later than necessary to avoid an accident.
  • Lane departure warning. Cars that are equipped with lane departure warning systems alert the driver when the vehicle leaves the lane of traffic. However, these systems are made to alert the driver only for unintentional lane changes, so if the driver has left a turn signal on, the alert will not sound. In addition, a driver may ignore the lane departure beeping noise until the text is sent—leading him or her to overcorrect the mistake and cause an accident on the opposite side.
  • Adaptive headlights. Adaptive headlights are designed to show a driver more of the roadway with respect to his direction and location. These headlights can light up the road around corners, over hills, or increase brightness in low-light conditions. But if a driver’s eyes are taken off the road, it will not matter if an object has been illuminated in front of him in time for him to avoid it.

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James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.