While safety features in modern cars may sound attractive when purchasing a vehicle, they are of little help if drivers don’t know how to use them.
According to a recent survey, less than one-third of Canadian drivers know about the various safety features in their vehicles, such as adaptive headlights, brake assist, and collision warning systems.
Despite this lack of awareness, the survey shows the majority believe safety features would be easy to use.
“Drivers need to understand their safety features so they can make the best use of these technologies,” said Robyn Robertson, president and CEO of Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF).
The survey was conducted as part of a program by TIRF with funding from Toyota Canada Foundation designed to help Canadians learn more about modern vehicle safety features.
“At the end of the day, it is a combination of the car’s features and having an alert and skilled driver behind the wheel that gives us the best chance to drive safely,” Robertson said.
Safety is one of the top priorities when purchasing a vehicle, ranking behind price and ahead of fuel consumption and reliability, according to the survey.
A majority of respondents also said they would use safety features if their vehicles had them.
The survey shows that most Canadian drivers generally deem themselves safer motorists than others. The most common self-rating of driving safety was eight out of ten (44.6 percent), while the most common rating given by Canadians to their fellow drivers was five out of ten (27.7 percent).
One aspect of the findings was concerning, with some respondents saying that if their vehicles had modern safety features they would be more likely to drink and drive or engage in other dangerous behaviour.
“Canadian drivers continue to form opinions concerning the ease of use and usefulness of safety features despite lacking important details concerning the purposes and limits of safety features,” says the report.
“In addition, a very strong link was revealed between perceiving a safety feature as useful and being willing to use it. Thus, a large part of motivating drivers to use safety features includes helping them to understand when these safety features are useful and what they are designed to do.”
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