What’s Your Tech IQ?

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - AUTOMOTIVE - By Lynn Wal­ford Mo­tor Mat­ters

Many car buy­ers and own­ers don't un­der­stand au­to­mo­tive safety tech­nol­ogy that can save their lives. A re­cent Univer­sity of Iowa study found that most driv­ers ex­pressed un­cer­tainty re­gard­ing many of the tech­nolo­gies avail­able in cars to­day. The study also found that 40 per­cent of driv­ers in the study re­ported be­ing star­tled or sur­prised by how their car be­haved.

In or­der to ed­u­cate driv­ers, the site MyCarDoesWhat.org is an ed­u­ca­tion re­source op­er­ated by the Na­tional Safety Coun­cil and the Univer­sity of Iowa. The goal of the cam­paign is to help driv­ers be more com­fort­able with the ad­vanced fea­tures in their car, par­tic­u­larly since only 10 per­cent of driv­ers read their ve­hi­cle man­u­als.

"We hope that MyCarDoesWhat will help users un­der­stand tech­nol­ogy in ve­hi­cles," said Alex Ep­stein, se­nior di­rec­tor of dig­i­tal strat­egy and con­tent for ad­vo­cacy depart­ment of the Na­tional Safety Coun­cil, "Safer be­hav­ior on the road will pre­vent crashes, in­juries, and fa­tal­i­ties."

MyCarDoesWhat of­fers in­for­ma­tion for new driv­ers, ex­pe­ri­enced driv­ers, those look­ing for a new car, those rent­ing a car, or those want­ing more in­for­ma­tion about cars. It is also help­ful for those who learned to drive in Driver's Ed in at school and haven't learned about new fea­tures since then, says Ep­stein.

"As fast as new safety fea­tures are com­ing online, it's not dif­fi­cult to see why peo­ple are hav­ing trou­ble catch­ing up. Thanks to the Na­tional Safety Coun­cil and the Univer­sity of Iowa, the My Car Does What cam­paign will help change that. It's un­der­stand­able, it's in­ter­est­ing, and it will help you keep your­self and your pas­sen­gers safer. I urge you to take MyCarDoesWhat. com for a test drive to­day," said Sec­re­tary An­thony Foxx of the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion.

New car tech­nol­ogy can help driv­ers see, park, brake, stay in their lane, main­tain proper car dis­tance, and more. How­ever, if the driver doesn't un­der­stand the tech­nol­ogy it may not work prop­erly. The web­site can help driv­ers and en­thu­si­asts learn more about the safety tech­nol­ogy found in many of the new cars be­ing sold to­day.

Vis­i­tors can start at the home­page of www.MyCareDoesWhat.com, where the site lists ad­vanced safety fea­tures with the fea­tures' sym­bols so users can rec­og­nize them in their car dash. Users can click on the icon for each safety feature or view a video in­tro­duc­ing or the con­cepts. Tech­nol­ogy is ex­plained through a short video, a "Quick Guide," "How it Works" and/or "Q&A."

The videos feature spokesman Rick and his dog Scout. A sec­tion named "Dash­board Blitz" al­lows vis­i­tors to down­load games to play on smart­phones. The site gives in­for­ma­tion on how to use the tech­nol­ogy and also warns what the tech­nol­ogy can't do ev­ery­thing. For ex­am­ple, when ex­plain­ing backup cam­eras, Rick and Scout warn that driv­ers should al­ways walk around the car first and that the cam­eras them­selves have blind spots and may not show a ball, bicycle ly­ing on the ground or other low ob­jects.

MyCarDoesWhat.org ed­u­cates driv­ers on the dozens of tech­nolo­gies that are now stan­dard fea­tures in new cars like elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, tire pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing sys­tems, and backup cam­eras. It also cov­ers tech­nolo­gies that are op­tional in­clud­ing adap­tive cruise con­trol, lane de­par­ture warn­ing sys­tems, au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing, adap­tive head­lights, au­to­matic par­al­lel park­ing, for­ward col­li­sion warn­ing, rear cross traf­fic alert,

New car tech­nol­ogy can help driv­ers see, park, brake, stay in their lane, main­tain proper car dis­tance, and more.

blind spot mon­i­tor (side view cam­era), and many other new tech fea­tures when they are re­leased.

The Univer­sity of Iowa study showed that con­sumers re­ported they least un­der­stood adap­tive cruise con­trol (65%) and lane de­par­ture warn­ing sys­tems (36%). How­ever, the study also showed con­sumers were also un­cer­tain about fea­tures that have been stan­dard in Amer­i­can cars for more than 20 years -- such as anti-lock brak­ing sys­tems -- to re­cently emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies, such as au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing.

Ep­stein warns, how­ever, safety tech­nol­ogy does not re­place good driv­ing skills, "You are still your car's best safety feature; tech­nolo­gies are en­hance­ments."

MAN­U­FAC­TURER PHOTO

Na­tional Safety Coun­cil Pho­tos: MyCarDoesWhat.org ed­u­cates driv­ers on the dozens of tech­nolo­gies in new cars like adap­tive cruise con­trol, blind side mon­i­tor­ing, and backup cam­eras. MyCarDoesWhat.org is an ed­u­ca­tion re­source op­er­ated by the Na­tional Safety Coun­cil and the Univer­sity of Iowa.

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