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Automobile Driving: The Myths and Misconceptions

August 19, 2014 by The Parrish Law Firm

Safety features and driving behavior

1. My vehicle safety features will allow me to drive faster and will make it less likely to be involved in a crash. – False

Speeding while driving a vehicle equipped with safety features is still dangerous because excessive speed could undermine the overall performance of the safety features.

2. Vehicle safety features help me to maintain traction on slippery roads, so I can drive less carefully in low-friction conditions. – False

Whether or not your car has modern safety features, in low-friction road conditions such as wet or icy roads, reduce speed, leave additional room between vehicles and be very attentive to driving.

3. Vehicle safety features help me to stop sooner so I can follow other cars more closely. – False

Tailgating and following cars ahead of you too closely is extremely dangerous, it also puts other drivers in a significantly increased risk for involvement in a collision.

4. Vehicle safety features protect passengers and drivers, so seat belts are not important. – False

Seatbelts are an effective feature to help prevent serious injuries that can occur during hard braking or in a crash. Seatbelts are still the single most important safety feature to help protect vehicle occupants involved in an accident.

5. Vehicle safety features allow me to pay less attention to the road when I drive. – False

Driving takes a significant amount of mental alertness by the driver. Activities that take away from the focus on driving greatly increases the risk of a crash regardless of the safety features on the vehicle.

6. Vehicle safety features allow me to drive safely while overly tired because safety features reduces crash risk. – False

Fatigue and drowsiness undermine performance of modern safety features and put other drivers at an increased risk of a collision.

7. Vehicle safety features reduce crash risk so I can have more to drink, even if I am driving. – False

Being impaired by alcohol or drugs will significantly increase crash risk.

8. With ABS I have to pump the brakes to ensure the vehicle maintains traction. – False

Pumping the brakes in a vehicle equipped with ABS does not help ABS work or help the vehicle maintain traction. In fact, pumping the brakes has the opposite effect of preventing ABS from working properly. The best way to brake in a vehicle with ABS is to press down on the brake pedal with firm, consistent force.

9. I can drive the same way that I normally drive in adverse weather conditions because I have four-wheel drive (4WD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) – False

Bad weather will always make it more likely that the tires of the vehicle will lose traction or “slip”. Four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive can help drivers make more effective use of the traction available on the road in slippery conditions; however it will not create extra traction. Tailored driving to fit road conditions is always the safest way to drive.

10. Anti-Lock Braking Systems (ABS) systems help to reduce stopping distance. – True & False

Sometimes, ABS might reduce stopping distance, this typically is not true. ABS was not designed to reduce stopping distance. ABS is intended to help drivers maintain steering control by preventing wheels from locking up during heavy braking. When wheels “lock”, they stop spinning all together, and the vehicle will slide causing drivers to lose steering control. ABS is designed to detect when a wheel is about to lock and to initiate corrective action right away by preventing the wheel from locking. This allows drivers to simultaneously steer away from hazards while slowing down the vehicle.

Usefulness of safety features

1. Vehicle safety features are for other drivers who don’t drive as well as I do. – False

Everyone is better protected by modern vehicle safety features such as traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), brake override, and brake assist. It doesn’t matter if you have never been in a collision, have never received a ticket, or have never driven in bad weather.

2. Vehicle safety features do not protect me or my passengers from being seriously injured in the event of a collision. – False

Modern safety features can greatly help reduce the severity of any injuries when a crash occurs.

3. People who drive in the city have a higher need for safety features than people who drive in rural areas. – False

Safety features will help protect drivers in all type environments and road conditions. There are some different challenges associated with driving in an urban versus a rural setting, a vehicle’s safety features may be a useful asset for drivers regardless of the setting.

4. Safety features like electronic stability control, electronic brake-force distribution, and brake assist are only beneficial in extreme situations. I am a careful driver so it is not important to have these features on my vehicle. – False

Hazardous situations when a vehicle’s safety technologies are important are usually not “extreme”, but they are often unexpected. Slushy roads, poorly-maintained driving surfaces, unpredictable traffic, and large animal crossings are not uncommon and many people are injured as a result of these kinds of situations every day.

5. Vehicle safety features can make up for a lack of driving experience. – False

Inexperienced drivers have a higher crash risk than all other groups. Vehicle safety technologies may not help protect them.

6. Vehicle safety features activate instantly when I run into a problem. – False

While safety features are designed to be easy to use, in some cases their activation is not instantaneous.

7. Vehicle safety features – especially the newer and more technologically advanced vehicles are difficult to understand and difficult to use. – False

Vehicle safety features are not that difficult to understand especially with the help of your Automobile Manual.

8. Larger vehicles like pick-up trucks and SUVs are always safer than smaller vehicles like passenger cars. – False

Sometimes, a heavier vehicle has a safety advantage – specifically involving a two-vehicle collision with a lighter car. Many motor vehicle crashes involve only one vehicle. In single-vehicle crashes, heavier vehicles safety advantage is diminished and the vehicles occupants may experience a more forceful collision.

The Parrish Law Firm Automobile Accident Injury Lawyer works with northern Virginia residents who have been injured because of another party’s negligence and are looking for fair compensation. Contact us today for a free case consultation or call us at 703-906-4229.

A representative of the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC researched and wrote this article with Mr. Parrish’s consent. If you have any questions regarding the legal implications of what you have just read, please send us your question by clicking here so we can have our attorney review it.

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