Does technology help in road safety?

By Ruchika Beri, Ziqitza Health Care Limited,  contactus@zhl.in

We live in an era where vehicles boast of state-of-the-art technology, safety equipments, air-bags, alerts, auto-parking and other facilities that ensure the safety of the passenger. So much so one of the prominent car-markers is in the process of equipping its car with a technology which alerts the driver, if the car is shifting the lane abruptly & brings it back on track. This apparently is to ensure if the driver falls asleep behind the wheel, it shouldn’t lead to any fatalities.

Why, in spite of all these precautions, the accident rate continues to rise along with the fatalities in all the countries including India.  The technology seems to assist drivers at each and every juncture but still hasn’t been much of a help when saving lives. Here is why:

It turns out every human is hard-wired into taking certain amount of risks in life. These levels differ basis a person’s  ability but whenever these risks are accompanied by a safer option then, we automatically move up the ante by taking higher risks to maintain the levels.

So, if your car has air-bags, you know you can take a chance with speeding. You let your guard down while taking a reverse knowing the sensors will help you out and in future might start taking eyes off road knowing the lane driving would be taken care of by the system.

In upping the ante, the driver might be safe but others on road might not be that lucky. Its difficult for even technology to predict where children are playing on the street or where elderly people are crossing the road. And most of the times these lapses cost a lot.

Also, all of those who complain women of slow driving, rest assured that they are the safer of the two as their concentration levels while driving are higher. Here’s how

On September 7, 2009, Pacific Island of Samoa decided to shift from right hand driving to left hand driving. The main reason for Samoa’s switch is that two of its biggest neighbors, Australia and New Zealand, drive on the left-hand side. There were wide-spread protests that such an act would lead to more accidents & fatalities whereas the result was exactly opposite.

The accident rate in fact fell in the period following the switch than going up. Why?

For most people driving quickly becomes a practice run by habits and automatic responses. However, relying on habits means that we are sometimes surprised which doesn’t account for people crossing or anything out of the ordinary.

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