Drivers give their vehicle’s safety control systems a little more credit than they should. A study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found many people that have vehicles equipped with advanced safety features do not fully understand the limits of these systems.

Safety systems have limits

Most people with blind spot monitoring do not understand the limitations of the system. Only 21 percent knew vehicles travelling at high speeds may not be detected by the monitoring system. One third of drivers with automatic emergency brakes were unaware cameras or sensors used to trigger these systems can be blocked by ice, dirt or snow.

Not only do drivers lack awareness of these systems’ limitations, they sometimes engage in unsafe behavior because their cars include these safety features.

These features should not be relied on solely

Adaptive cruise control is a type of cruise control that keeps pace with the car ahead of you by slowing down or speeding up, based on that car’s speed. Adaptive cruise controls use lasers, radars or cameras to monitor the car ahead of you. However, snow, fog, heavy rain or dirty sensors may affect its ability to work properly.

AAA found 29 percent of people occasionally do other things in their cars while using adaptive cruise control. For drivers with blind spot monitoring, 30 percent of those surveyed said they sometimes change lanes without checking their mirrors.

Neither of these behaviors are safe, and the safety features were not designed to be used in these ways.

Though advanced safety systems help prevent crashes, drivers must understand that they should not rely completely on such features. Vehicle safety measures do not work 100 percent of the time and can be impacted by inclement weather. Drivers should remain alert and aware of what is going on around them to prevent potential vehicle accidents.