If you have bought a new vehicle in the past few years, it probably came with a wealth of safety features and driving technologies. This is especially true for luxury vehicles and high-trim models of any vehicle.

Technology can warn you when you are drifting out of your lane or when a passenger is in your direct path while backing up. Some vehicles are so advanced that the car returns itself to the lane or applies the brakes to avoid hitting the passenger. These technologies save lives, but are they also creating bad drivers?

The potential for distracted driving

The AAA Foundation found that when people rely on driving technologies, they do become less alert. Using adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance correlated with an 80% rise in the chance of engaging in manual secondary tasks and a 50% increase in the likelihood of doing any type of secondary tasks. Drivers using both systems also spent more time looking away from the road and at non-driving-related tasks.

The impact of different technologies

Ironically, drivers of vehicles equipped with “mixed function automation” did not react the same as those using cruise control and lane-keeping assist. Instead, they paid closer attention to the road while the vehicle had these technologies engaged. They were actually more likely to engage in secondary tasks while operating the vehicle manually. Researchers believe that a distrust of the technology may cause this.

As drivers become more trusting of technologies, complacency on the roads may become more evident. Remember that you should remain alert while driving as even cars make mistakes.