Safety tech in cars just part of the puzzle RACQ

RACQ has reminded motorists not to let their guard down when behind the wheel, after a new study revealed many falsely believed their car would protect them in a crash.

The Herald Sun reported a Monash University Accident Research Centre study revealed confidence in a modern vehicle’s safety features gave drivers the belief their car would protect them no matter the impact.

RACQ Head of Public Policy Rebecca Michael said improvements to car safety technology were only part of the solution to road safety.

“Innovation like lane avoidance technology, crash impact minimisation systems and autonomous brakes are game changers in vehicle safety, but no matter how advanced your car is, its ability to avoid a crash or protect vehicle occupants in the event of a crash is greatly reduced if the driver is engaging in unsafe driving behaviour,” Dr Michael said. 

“There are three pillars to saving lives and stopping serious injuries on our roads – safer drivers, safer cars and better roads.

“Safe drivers will avoid the Fatal Five behaviours like speeding, having unrestrained vehicle occupants and driving tired, distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

“Safer cars assist drivers to avoid crashes, with newer technologies now able to alert the driver to brake or stay in the lane, and some can protect occupants in a crash.However, we need to see better infrastructure on our roads like safety barriers and wide shoulders which will help road users avoid crashes and mitigate their impacts.”  

Dr Michael said motorists should remember vehicle safety features were not a surrogate for safe driving behaviour urged them not to rely on technology to avoid crashes.

“We encourage motorists to buy cars with the highest safety rating they can afford but, irrespective of the safety features of the vehicle, every motorist is responsible for their driving every time they get behind the wheel,” she said. 

“No matter how safe your car is, at the end of the day if you’re not doing the basics right you risk causing serious injury to yourself or others on the road.”