Technology in Vehicles: Potential Source of Distraction?

Technology in vehicles: Potential Source of Distraction?

My friend Lisa has a brand new car. It’s really nice! Full of gadgets and safety sensors, this rolling splendor gives me the feeling of travelling in a motorized “iThingy”. See, it’s got plenty of cameras, even in the rear‑view mirror. Lisa reminds me that I can adjust the A/C on the passenger side, should I wish to do so, by using the central touchscreen. Wow! This screen looks like a giant tablet! It’s a geek’s paradise on four wheels, and I’m impressed!

However, throughout the trip, the car won’t stop beeping. I ask Lisa what her car is trying to tell her. She replies, a bit annoyed, “It’s a really nice car but it never stops beeping. I’ve had to learn to ignore them!” It made me realize that technology, though well-intentioned, can sometimes be a major source of distraction.

In-car technology

As drivers, we must never forget we share the road with other drivers. On-board gadgets can help make driving feel more secure — as long as you know how and when to use them — but they also have the ability to make it more hazardous since they pull your attention away from the road. A split second is all it takes.

Safe Driving Technology is meant to assist you, not to do all the work for you. For example, backup cameras can add a layer of safety when reversing. However, you should also always look around you to double check the way is clear, as the range for the camera angles is still limited. Just ask my neighbour. He’s had quite an impactful relationship with his recycling bin! Never forget that you are still the driver and it’s your observations, in addition to your car’s gadgets, that make the ride a safer one.

Technology brought into the car

In addition to built-in technologies, smartphones can be another major source of distraction while on the road. Despite more severe penalties, how often do you look to the driver beside you at a red light and see his head tilted and hands texting while perfectly unaware that the light has just turned green? Or, how often are you tempted to take a peek at what’s happening on your social media pages, while slowly creeping through what seems like never ending traffic, only to have to hard brake because you weren’t paying attention?

According to a recent study conducted by Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ), distracted driving has accounted for 34% of road deaths, on average, since 2013. A Léger Marketing survey, conducted for Allstate Canada, also shows that 90% of Quebecers admit to being distracted while driving.

Don’t get me wrong; I love technology. The advances in the automotive sector are astounding and I feel lucky to live in such an exciting time. But before jumping in your car, whether you’re headed to work or on vacation, don’t forget to plug in your “GCS”! Good Common Sense doesn’t take up any room in your car and will keep you safer than any well-intentioned, yet distracting, technology being used on its own.

There’s never an excuse to lose focus behind the wheel.

Check out Allstate Canada’s Distracted Driving Survey results and tips below to help you become a safer driver.


Click here to download the infographic.