When you get out on the road in your new car, do you always take a look at your newest proximity sensors, traffic guidance systems and GPS gadgets? Maybe you even just look at your phone the majority of the time while driving, and even though it’s not actually legal to do so, you could probably do it in a few year’s time thanks to automatic driving systems that could pretty much take you anywhere in your city without you ever needing to look at the road.
There’s no doubt that technology is improving road safety, making our lives easier and even giving us new ways to get around in our vehicles. However, this has created a rather serious problem on the road and we’re starting to see more and more situations that point fingers at this issue; the lack of real driving skills.
Technology has made things a bit too easy
Let’s face it; all the latest technologies have made their way into our vehicles and they’re simply just too easy to drive. Now, this isn’t exactly a bad thing. No one’s complaining that proximity sensors exist and no one’s saying that GPS isn’t a good idea. After all, they’re all fantastic ways to get people into driving and make them feel more confident behind the wheel, and it’s also an extra layer of safety.
However, it’s quite the double-edged sword.
You see, since technology has created that layer of safety, many newer drivers are finding more excuses to keep their eyes off the road and on their phones, on the people in their car or somewhere else entirely. Not supposed to message on your phone and drive? Not to worry! That proximity sensor will give you a loud warning if you move too far out of your lane. Need to use both hands to eat that burger? Not to worry, your brand new Tesla vehicle will be automatically driving you to your destination.
See what we mean?
Technology has given us this added safety that causes us to take more risks. Many years ago, the most we’d do is perhaps drive with a single hand while the other was leant outside the vehicle. Nowadays, there are so many distractions in the car that it’s not uncommon to get in an accident not because of your own fault, but because of someone near you not keeping their eyes on the road. This is one of the many reasons why people take defensive driving courses–to teach them how to watch out for other drivers.
Defensive driving is not something that your car is prepared for. All of your sensors and gadgets will tell you if you’re veering too close to another lane or if you’re close to bumping into something, but it’s not going to tell you if the driver in front of you is acting suspicious or if the guy behind you is driving a little too fast. Perhaps in the future, your car will tell you these things (thus making your driving experience even easier) but that’s still no excuse to not practice good driving skills.
Two crucial driving skills that everyone should learn
There are two main skills that we should talk about:
- Defensive driving
- Reading other drivers
Defensive driving refers to a couple of things. It’s all about thinking about the safety of you, your passengers and others, it’s about paying attention to your surroundings and it’s about getting rid of distractions so you can keep your eyes on the road.
When we talk about reading other drivers, it’s all about taking note of your surroundings and noticing small things that could potentially save your life. For instance, if you’ve noticed that maniac a car or two behind you switching lanes every car, then you may want to stay clear out of his way in the event that he does something stupid. It’s also about getting used to how your car feels so that you know if something is wrong with the engine, even if your computer systems don’t spell it out for you.
Both of these skills take experience and time to build, which is why you shouldn’t worry so much about how you currently drive. Don’t put all your eggs in a single basket and rely on only technology. Build up your real driving skills because you’ll never know when those systems might fail due to an electronics error, or if you’re put in a situation that requires you to be aware of your surroundings as you drive.