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AAA study finds people misunderstand vehicle safety systems

Some Oklahoma motorists who purchase vehicles with advanced safety features might overestimate the capabilities of those systems. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a study that found issues with driver understanding of features like adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, forward-collision warning and blind spot monitoring.

Adaptive cruise control adjusts speed automatically. According to the study, over one-fourth of drivers who have it are sometimes comfortable engaging in other activities while the cruise control is activated. This is widely considered unsafe.

Furthermore, drivers tend to confuse the functions of the forward-collision warning and emergency braking. Over 40 percent do not understand that the former simply warns while the latter acts. Almost 80 percent of drivers overestimated the capabilities of blind spot monitoring, and one-quarter said they did not check for other vehicles when changing lanes.

Experts say many people seem to fundamentally misunderstand the purpose of these safety systems. They are intended to supplement rather than replace human drivers. AAA's director of traffic safety and research said that people should be educated at the point of sale about those limitations. He also said that the vehicles should not be marketed in a way that is misleading about their capabilities.

When people do not use these safety systems correctly, they might cause car accidents. If someone is hurt in a crash, the at-fault driver may be liable for expenses such as medical treatment and property damage. A car accident victim may want to contact an attorney because the driver's insurance company might try to avoid paying compensation. Even if compensation is offered, it might not be sufficient. An attorney could help a victim obtain compensation or file a lawsuit if necessary.

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