The Latest Cars can NOT Drive Themselves!

If you are feeling drowsy, please don’t trust your car’s gadgets. They are nowhere close to that extent of trust yet…

Overestimating what your latest car can do is a terrifyingly good way to kill yourself or somebody else.

Even driving with one hand off the wheel increases reaction time and reduces a driver’s ability to respond to a sudden crisis such as a front tire blowout, but this driver was way down the ladder from that! (Copyright image, 2019.)

Neither Teslas (see photo) nor other semi-autonomous cars are anywhere near the ability to drive themselves. That’s why they are called semi-autonomous rather than fully-autonomous!

Having a car that uses cameras to monitor lane lines or the shoulder line to keep you in the lane doesn’t work if the lines are worn-out or missing (perhaps due to patches of new asphalt), nor might it work if rain or dirt has partially blocked the lenses of the cameras in question.

If you are feeling drowsy, please don’t trust your car’s gadgets. They are nowhere close to that extent of trust yet, and are not likely to be for many more years than automakers would currently like you to believe!

If you need a nap, find somewhere safe to stop, and do it the old-fashioned way!

The same applies to letting yourself be distracted at the wheel. Please remember that it is not just your own life you are gambling with.


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Author: EddieWren

Eddie Wren is the CEO and Chief Instructor at Advanced Drivers of North America. His driver safety background is given at:

2 thoughts on “The Latest Cars can NOT Drive Themselves!”

  1. For many drivers, a brief nap can cure drowsiness. However, that does not work for me. For me the best solution is to stop, get out, and walk around. That should be included in the advice.

    Once, when nothing worked to cure my drowsiness, I spent the night in a motel and continued on the next day.

  2. Well said Eddie!
    Yes, unless you really understand how all the sensors work, it is difficult to truly understand their limitations. In one infamous Tesla incident, the vehicle ran under the trailer of a crossing tractor trailer. The incident was overly publicized since the driver had engaged ‘autopilot’- the advanced driver assistance features that Tesla markets. – I can attest that the sensors ‘look along the road surface’ as I have experienced the same scenario, and the vehicle will not slow down without intervention. Interestingly, I drove a similar vehicle in the UK in June, and the same scenario occurred, but the vehicle did respond in a timely fashion. The difference- I think -is in the design of the ‘trailers’, where in Europe they are designed without the large opening between the hitch and the rear wheels. This I believe is a legal requirement in Europe instituted for safety reasons.
    Related to the interaction with heavy vehicle trailers in the US, that large opening will generate a low pressure area (vacuum, if you like) in that opening if the trailer is being pulled at speed. Driving alongside that trailer your vehicle will have a tendency to be drawn into that opening. Potentially another problem, if you are using advanced driver assistance features without paying attention.

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