A lot of us have anxiety about driving, perhaps now more than ever. It’s one thing to know how to drive and another issue entirely to know how to drive without severe anxiety. There are a lot of issues that can lead people to feel anxious when they hit the road. For one thing, driving doesn’t always come as easily to some of us as it does for others. It’s not necessarily like riding a bicycle. Furthermore, learning how to drive is really different for everyone. Indeed, not every state has the same requirements for student drivers seeking their licenses. Some have strict requirements of hours spent on the road with a professional teacher; others merely require that students record their hours individually, which could potentially be fabricated.
More still put a lot of weight on a written test rather than a practical test. Despite the fact that our driving tests may or may not be as thorough as we might want them to be, the real issue lies in the safety of the roads. Even if you are a careful driver, you cannot control how the drivers around you will act and react. This is why many people practice defensive driving, in which they are attempting to anticipate and protect themselves against reckless driving from other people. Yet no matter how defensively you drive, you may very well end up getting into a car accident with another driver. It’s actually estimated that American roadways average over 5,891,000 car accidents every year. With those numbers in mind, it’s easy to understand why people get nervous when they hit the road.
Yet hit the road we must. Due to the spread-out nature of the United States, you may live quite a long drive away from your family; and though it may be tempting to fly rather than take a road trip to visit people, sometimes that’s simply not economically plausible. For that matter, a lot of people can’t rely upon public transportation for their commutes. This is both due to the fact that public transportation can cause a commute to take much longer than it would by personal vehicle and the fact that it’s not always reliable. It’s inevitable: most of us will have to drive, whether we want to or not. Fortunately, there are tools available that can make driving easier and safer, and they come in the form of technology that outfits cars today. Let’s take a closer look at some of this tech that’s making driving more doable for all of us.
1. Obstacle Avoidance Technology
Technically, obstacle avoidance technology covers a lot of different devices and systems. Many new cars today are outfitted with rear-view cameras, which allow drivers to see behind them as they back into certain areas. Now, these cameras only work when someone is in reverse, but they’re still rather useful. This kind of technology makes parking much easier, especially the ever-tricky parallel parking. Parking may not seem like a big issue to some, but it gives many of us anxiety, and with good reason. It’s easy to injure a pedestrian if you’re attempting to parallel park without a good view, and it’s also highly risky for your car’s body. Plenty of people have damaged their cars beyond repair when attempting to park without a full view, which is why it’s great that this kind of technology is becoming the norm. Furthermore, it makes it easier for people to access valid parking spots that they would normally be too afraid to try for; as drivers spend about 17 hours each year looking for parking spots, you could potentially shave a lot of time by simply utilizing these cameras. But they aren’t the only types of obstacle avoidance technologies added to cars. Electronic Stability Control systems have been required within personal passenger vehicles since 2012, and Forward Collision Warning Systems as well as Lane Departure Warning Systems make it less likely that you’ll hit an obstacle on the other road, whether that’s a pedestrian or another vehicle.
2. Automated Technology
People are buying new vehicles for a reason, with total new vehicle sales surpassing $1 trillion in 2017. They’re buying new because newer systems are easier and safer to use, typically, and this in itself often has to do with increased automation capabilities. There is a lot to appreciate about automation. For one thing, it takes a lot of the overthinking out of driving, taking processes that would usually require four steps and cutting them down to two. They also eliminate issues that you as a driver may normally forget about. Think about how often you might forget about turning on your headlights at night or in dark spaces like tunnels, therefore creating a risk for you and other drivers. Automation makes it easier for people to drive safely in other ways, too. Some cars are also utilizing automatic parking systems, which actually take control of the parking process for you. This may make parking even safer than rear view cameras would.
3. Reactive Features
Remember what we said about defensive driving? Reactive features would help take care of that for you so that you don’t have to do as much worrying. One piece of technology that’s been around for quite a long time has been anti-lock brake technology, which keeps brakes from locking up when drivers stop. Adaptive headlights are similarly reactive, adjusting to the road as you drive. An adaptive cruise control system similarly ensures that your car stays at a safe following distance, therefore cutting down your risk of a collision significantly.
You may or may not be aware of these systems and technologies already, but if you weren’t before, you need to educate yourself before buying a new car, and for that matter see if the car you already own can be updated in any way. Though it isn’t always possible to do so, you should do everything you can to make a car safer.