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What does this button do? Are drivers more tech sorry than tech savvy?

Kwik Fit | Tuesday 21st March 2017 10:28am

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New research out this week from Continental reveals that many drivers are more tech sorry than tech savvy when it comes to the technology and equipment in their new car. March sees the release of the new ‘17’ car registration plate and it is expected that around half a million new cars will be sold in the UK over the course of the month. However, Conti spoke to 2,000 motorists in their study and found that 4 in 10 admitted they don’t know how to use all of the technology in their new vehicle. More concerning still, 40 per cent believed their safety could be compromised as a result.

The research carried out for Continental Tyres as part of its Vision Zero campaign, a long term commitment to reduce fatalities worldwide, revealed that the average new vehicle handover lasts just 51 minutes. That might seem like a long time but when you take into account that this includes everything from the financial transaction to demonstrations of the safety features, entertainment systems, basic maintenance and more, it’s unlikely that drivers will take in and understand everything that the vehicle can do in under an hour. As a result, drivers are far more likely to experiment with unknown buttons and settings while they are on the road.

With dashboard settings and in-car systems becoming more complex, Continental found that some 44 per cent of drivers agree that more time should be taken to cover and explain these settings when buying a new car.

Continental Tyres’ safety expert Mark Griffiths said: “New technologies are adding features to the devices and products we use all of the time, including the cars we drive.

If we don’t have the chance to keep pace with innovations in convenience and comfort that might be a shame, but when advances are delivered to increase road safety it is vital we have the chance to understand how we benefit to the fullest extent possible.

As a leading technology business we are responsible for many present and future systems and safety features for vehicles. We all have a responsibility to learn how to apply safety technology and believe that the vehicle handover is a vital opportunity to do this.”

Conti also revealed that car buyers were often too embarrassed to ask about an unknown setting or function in their new car, instead preferring to take a trial-and-error approach once they owned the vehicle. Only a third of buyers would ask about an automotive technology they were unsure about when receiving a demonstration of the car's features, yet innovations like Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) and ‘head up displays’ will play a big part in road safety.

Safety first

When motorists listed their order of priorities they placed safety features top, then basic maintenance, and then fuel economy.

Mark Griffiths added: “Continental and other technology businesses in the automotive sector have a job to do to educate people so that we deliver the safer ‘Vision Zero’ we are working towards.

"This study also detailed that 52 per cent of motorists are not in favour of further automation if it means a loss of control for them.

"And only a third are willing to pay extra for additional safety features – yet when drivers are placing increasing importance of safety this suggests they may expect all appropriate safety features to be standard on all models.”

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