Self-Parking Cars: Are They REALLY Safer?
Easy question for those of you who are getting ready to get your first driver’s license: what part of your driving test are you most worried about? If your palms are sweating just thinking about the Parallel Parking requirement, you’re not alone—parallel parking can strike terror into the heart of even the most experienced driver. And the auto industry seems to know your fear, and stands ready to capitalize on it: many manufacturers have started to add automatic parking features to new models. Here’s a Ford Motor Company marketing video, touting the technology on their Lincoln MKT and MKS models:
Pretty fancy, right? According to a recent study conducted by AAA, it’s also pretty safe. Autoblog.com’s Pete Bigelow reports that AAA’s research into self-parking cars—conducted using 5 new model cars that have auto-park features—shows that self-parking cars did a much better job at parallel parking than those driven by humans.
The article also mentions a survey conducted by DriversEd.com’s parent company, eDriving; we’ve talked about that poll before, but it’s worth revisiting when talking about the pros and cons of automated parking systems. As part of their research into self-parking cars, AAA found that most Americans actually think they’re quite good at parallel parking, and don’t need to relinquish the wheel to K.I.T.T., thank you very much. But the results of AAA’s tests of those cars—as well as our poll results, which reveal that most of us think we’re better drivers than we actually are—both make a good case for the self-parking car.
That said, we think learning how to parallel park is an essential part of your driver training. Is it tricky? Sure, but with the proper instruction, it’s a skill that’s easy to master—and it’s crucial to do so, since parallel parking is something that all drivers will need to do at some point. It’s also worth noting that only a handful of current car models come equipped with automatic parking systems (and most of those tend to fall on the high end of the pricing spectrum). Finally, as with just about every automated system, the technology in self-parking cars is not infallible. By taking the time to learn how to parallel park, you’ll reduce your chances of a collision (and possibly an injury to yourself and others), you’ll help keep your insurance costs down, you’ll give yourself a bit of confidence—and you’ll give your parents some peace of mind. And you won’t be this person: