New cars such as the Ford Edge, Lincoln MKX, and the Audi A6 allow travellers to connect to the Internet from the front seat. These Internet connections over Wi-Fi or 3G networks allow motorists to enjoy streaming video, audio, spoken text messaging, and current traffic information. We typically view tech advancements as a positive. But connectivity in the car begs an important question: Is this a good thing?
Challenges of the Connected Car
People get sidetracked when they text or chat with their phones while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that 80 % of traffic accidents involve driver inattention within 3 seconds of the crash. So, if basic cell phone use is a disruption imagine what it would be like if a person is video Skyping with their closest friend while driving or watching that funny Super Bowl advertisement.
Does Tech Distract Drivers?
Drivers ought to focus on the road. Anything that takes their focus from it—regardless of whether it’s chomping upon a fast-food burger or hunting for traffic information—can lead to potentially fatal accidents. That’s why the news that cars are on pace to become much more connected is met with with as much uncertainty as excitement.
Browsing the Web Inside Your Car
Soon motorists will have the ability to receive Facebook updates and browse the web on in-car navigation screens. We might even see the advent of short-range communication allowing drivers that are sharing the road to interact with each other.
Once again, this would normally be deemed a positive advancement of technology. The possible negative impacts, though—an increase in the number of unfocused drivers on the road—do give pause. It’s important for drivers to realize that these tech goodies are nice features. However, it’s equally critical for them to remain focused on the road, regardless of how badly they want to sneak a peek at the video streaming into their vehicles.