It’s annoying, it humiliates drivers, and you rarely avoid an accident.
It’s easy to think that those older guys who garage their 7 Series and pull a classic car out of storage every weekend are just trying to relieve their youth. But in all reality they may just be trying to preserve their sanity. That’s because a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that some of the safety nannies present in modern cars are annoying and still worse, useless. As Automotive News reports, not all driver aids are annoying. Just ask those who’ve been saved by a forward collision warning system.
While automakers place an "Off" button inside to cancel driver aids if desirable, the study shows that only 1% of drivers turn off forward collision warning systems because consumers see the benefit after only a single instance of intervention. On the other hand, around 66% of drivers shut off the lane departure warning system. Humiliation may be a factor in this since drivers don’t appreciate the car beeping at them and pointing out mistakes to passengers. When the warning method of the system was switched from an aural one to a physical one by means of a vibrating steering wheel, the study found that the percentage of drivers who shut off the aid dropped to about 33%.
Findings like this not only help automakers see which of the aids need to stay and which need to go, but they also allow manufacturers to refine the way cars interact with drivers. The general dislike of having a car point out instances where it thinks the driver is wrong isn’t the only reason that consumers don’t like these systems. It’s also because lane departure warning aids can be wrong. They were initially intended to warn drivers who may be drowsy (or buzzed) when they were swerving outside of the lines. But as we all know, plenty of drivers don’t use turn signals when merging, so many times lane departure warning systems sound the alarm when no danger is present.