A number of motor vehicle manufacturers have released technology aimed at driver safety and preventing accidents. And while names with claims like "lane-keeping technology" do sound rather promising, it's important for drivers to remember that these systems are not always reliable, and that as drivers we are more prepared to deal with an unexpected event than the technology in our car is.
Last month Ford announced that the 2013 Fusion and Explorer would both be offering the lane-keeping technology. With this technology, a camera is attached to the rear-view mirror. Once the vehicle is in motion and traveling at least 40 mph, the technology uses the lane markings on the road to detect if the car is edging near the lines. If so, power steering will bring the vehicle back to center.
However, this only works if the lane-keeping technology is on. If not, the vehicle will still think the drifting is not intentional, but instead of activating the power steering, the steering wheel will vibrate.
Of course, for many this may sound like an ideal technology that could potentially stop a driver from veering off the road, or crossing the center lane into another vehicle. But, since this is technology, it is not 100 percent. And, according to some, the camera may not always be able to detect when a vehicle is drifting, especially in cases where the driver is traveling into direct sunlight.
A deputy administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also already come out and said that more research still needs to be done, and that this type of lane-keeping technology is not currently recommended to the general public.
Additionally, the director of the Center for Automotive Research fears that these types of systems can evoke a "risk accommodation" problem, where drivers will rely too heavily on technology to keep them accident free, and will therefore exhibit more risky driving behaviors.