Has Technology in Modern Cars Dumbed Down Driving?

by on May 26, 2015

tech-drivingIt’s clear that technological advancement have helped to fuel improvements in the auto sector. It has brought plenty of excellent safety features into our trusty vehicles. However, as great as some of these advancements have been, criticism has grown regarding modern technology and its ability to make us dumber the more we rely upon it. So is this true? Could modern technology really be making drivers dumber on the roads?

Sat Navs – the modern day map

Remember those big, confusing maps you had to follow whenever you wanted to travel somewhere? For younger and newer drivers the answer to this will, sadly, be no. Sat navs have managed to practically eliminate maps, with very few choosing to use them in favour of the extensive capabilities of a sat nav system. So what’s wrong with that? Well for the large part, nothing. You will reach the majority of your chosen destinations with ease if you use a sat nav. However, as featured by the BBC, sat navs haven’t always proven to be so reliable.

Many sat navs have sent drivers the wrong way and some have even had fatal consequences, leading them to bridges and roads that don’t exist. They aren’t fault-proof and you can’t afford to zone out and blindly follow the sat nav. Using these systems has stopped drivers from thinking for themselves and has reduced the capability to find destinations without them.

Decreasing basic driving skills

The advanced safety features installed in cars these days are also changing the nature of our driving experience. Many are designed to automatically take over in certain situations, even controlling the steering. The fear is that as you rely more upon technology to keep you safe, you become less alert to the dangers of the road yourself, with technology making you complacent and lazy.  After all, the computer will take over if there’s a problem. It’s not clear yet if technology has taken us this far but it’s a very real threat and something that will need to be addressed as we progress further towards driverless technology.

The learning process

Modern cars have numerous features today that they didn’t have a decade ago. The challenge for instructors is to keep up to speed with the latest developments to ensure the training process keeps up with the reality of the modern day.

Of course, some technological advancements have made it easier for learners. Mock online theory tests are a good example. There is an abundance of free help out there which can make passing your theory and practical test much quicker and easier. A shining example of how technology can help.

In general it probably depends on your own experience as to whether you think driving has been dumbed down by technology. It has helped us to learn to drive but as to whether life behind the wheel is better or not is open to debate.

Time has also published an excellent article on how technological advancements are making us dumber. This looks into more than just driving and broadens the focus into the digital impact on our daily lives.

The truth is some of us will allow ourselves to become lazier and more complacent thanks to the technological innovations in the automotive industry. Others will embrace ‘progress’ and welcome anything that makes us safer on the road. The trick for manufacturers is to try to tread a fine line between the two.