In theory, adaptive cruise control is supposed to reduce the odds of an accident. A traditional cruise control system has to be turned on and off by the driver, which means that a distracted driver may forget to disengage the cruise control and rear-end another vehicle. But adaptive cruise control uses sensors to detect changes in speed around the vehicle and automatically adjusts the car’s speed so that it matches the flow of traffic.
This is a safety system that can prevent some of these rear-end accidents. But the problem that researchers have found is that drivers with adaptive cruise control are more likely to set higher desired speed targets. They may even set the cruise control at a limit that is well over the actual speed limit on the road. This increase in speed makes accidents more likely and increases. The severity of injuries suffered in those accidents, which is why adaptive cruise control is being linked to higher accident rates.
The perception of safety
Naturally, you may ask yourself why people do this. Why not simply set the cruise control in the same fashion and enjoy the fact that it makes your drive safe?
But it is exactly that perception of safety that is the issue. People believe that adaptive cruise control keeps them safe and prevents accidents because the car can react faster than they can. Since they believe they’re safe, they feel comfortable setting the speed limit higher. If they had a traditional cruise control system – or none at all – meaning that they were in charge, they would pick a lower speed and keep themselves safe.
This helps to show why technology hasn’t eliminated all car accidents yet. Those who get injured in accidents caused by other drivers must know about their legal options to seek compensation.