Not in the Know about Car Tech? DIY.

Not in the Know about Car Tech? DIY.

Are you in the market for a new car? Has it been a few years since you’ve bought one, or since you’ve even looked at a new model? You might be stunned to discover the amount and variety of technical features on the latest models, even the lower-priced ones.

Americans are keeping their cars and trucks longer; for all passenger vehicles on the road, the average age is approximately 12 years. We tend to keep our vehicles for around six years. Because a lot of us are buying used and keeping a vehicle longer, you might feel awfully out-of-touch with tech when you find out what’s available on new (or newer) cars and trucks.

Are you counting on the salespeople at the dealership to clue you in when it comes to technological advances? We hate to tell you this, but you should do your own homework. Often automobile salespersons don’t have any more of a clue than you do, so DIY—do it yourself—should become your mantra.

The MIT Study

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Agelab went undercover during the spring of 2016 in order to interview car salespeople at 18 dealerships in the greater Boston area. The goal was to discover how much the salespeople knew about automotive features that are fairly common these days, such as adaptive cruise control (automatically adjusts the vehicle’s speed to maintain safe distances between you and others), lane departure prevention (lets you know you’ve drifted out of your lane), blind spot monitoring (detects others in your blind spot and alerts you if a crash seems likely), and other crash avoidance technologies.

The results? Not so hot:

  • Only 6 out of 17 salespersons provided explanations of a vehicle’s technological features that were considered “thorough.”
  • Four out of 17 salespersons provided explanations that were considered “poor.”
  • At least two of them gave out information that might be considered dangerous. One salesperson said that Ford’s pedestrian detection technology works at all speeds, when in reality it doesn’t activate until you reach at least 30 mph. The other salesperson claimed that you don’t have to use your brakes with Chevrolet’s parking assist feature, but you do.

The researchers also discovered that most of the poor responses were in the lower-priced brands, such as Ford and Chevrolet. Subaru and BMW, on the other hand, generally provided more informed responses when it came to automotive tech. At Subaru in particular, salespeople seemed well-trained, providing content to help buyers learn about the new technologies.

Overall, the researchers were astonished at the large disparity between the salespeople who knew their stuff and those who appeared to know very little. The lead author of the study, Hillary Abraham, commented, “It was just really, really shocking and sort of confusing to walk in and have someone do such a phenomenal job of explaining safety technologies in a very understandable way, and then turn around and have someone else at a different [car] brand say, ‘I don’t know where to begin.’”

Finding Information on Your Own

There is a way to learn about all the new technologies before you set foot in a dealership. The University of Iowa, along with the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and the National Safety Council, have set up the web site in order to educate consumers. Find out for yourself how features work, what they do and don’t do, and even enjoy a game by downloading an app on your smartphone that teaches you about safety technology.

The best news of all is that these new features really do work and help save lives. Almost all of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) 2017 top safety picks come with these driver assistance technologies. But you need to be informed to make wise choices. Bryan Reimer, who worked with the MIT study, noted, “As technology continues to increase, consumers’ need for education and understanding at the point of sale is critical.”

Serving Indiana Accident Victims Since 1982.

When you are considering hiring an Indiana car accident lawyer, you should look for an attorney who will give you competent and compassionate representation with a “client first” approach. That’s exactly what you’ll get with proven advocate attorney Mike Stephenson. His entire legal team is committed to doing whatever is necessary to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

If you were injured in a crash as a result of someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation. Don’t lose the opportunity to obtain the money you need to put your life back on track and to make your family’s future financially secure. Keep in mind that in Indiana there is a statute of limitations – or a deadline – for filing personal injury claims, so it is unwise to delay. Call Mike Stephenson at 1-317-825-5200 or contact us online for immediate help.