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Study: Automotive Safety Features Confuse Many Drivers

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 8/17/2015 Kelly Pleskot

While automakers are busily working toward an age of autonomous cars, a new study suggests drivers may still be stuck in the past. Researchers at the University of Iowa found that a large number of drivers are confused when it comes to even the most basic safety features in today's cars.

2014-mercedes-benz-s-class-distronic-plus© Provided by MotorTrend 2014-mercedes-benz-s-class-distronic-plus

The study examined more than 2,000 adults across the U.S. and their understanding of nine vehicle safety technologies. It found that a majority of drivers had heard of (or interacted with) at least one safety feature, but there was a high level of uncertainty about all the technologies.

Research

Some of these technologies included systems like traction control, cruise control, forward collision warning, blind spot alert, and backup cameras. But the least understood feature of all was adaptive cruise control, with 65.2 percent of responders reporting feelings of confusion. Uncertainty surrounding tire pressure monitoring systems was high (45.3 percent), and knowledge of lane departure warning systems wasn't much better (35.6 percent). More than a quarter of participants were confused about anti-lock braking systems, which have been standard equipment on new cars for many years now.

To educate drivers about these safety features, the University of Iowa has teamed up with the National Safety Council to create a national awareness campaign. The Campaign, called MyCarDoesWhat, aims to inform consumers how best to interact with safety features to ensure safer driving. Head to the campaign website for some good information on over 30 safety technologies in today's vehicles. Yes, there's even a detailed explanation for push-button start.

Source: The University of Iowa

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