It won’t be too long now before we see driverless cars traveling our highways! Who would have believed technology would advance so far in our lifetimes? But even though driverless cars might be a scary thought, in many other ways technology is helping to turn us into safer drivers and passengers – provided we use it correctly.

For instance, car seat belts have improved immensely through their ability to detect sudden emergencies and auto lock to protect their users. There’s no excuse for not using them.

When it comes to airbag protection, things get a little more complicated. Though they save hundreds of lives every year, their effectiveness depends on the age and size of passengers. In fact, they can be downright dangerous. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under 13 should always travel in the back of the car. AAP also warns that you shouldn’t use a rear-facing safety seat in front of an airbag. In a crash, the airbag comes out of the dashboard with a force that would line up with the back of an infant’s head if traveling in the seat.

Side airbags in the back can also pose a threat if a child is not properly restrained or is leaning against the door. “Do not place your child next to an active side air bag unless the vehicle manufacturer says that it is safe,” says AAP.

Other technology developments that can help reduce dangers while driving include:

Ø  Tire pressure monitoring systems that flash up an early warning well before we might spot trouble.

Ø  Rear view cameras and sensors that show or tell you when you’re in a parking danger zone.

Ø  Lane departure warning devices. They let you know if your car is wandering outside the boundaries of your lane.

Of course, not all aspects of technology are designed to turn us into better drivers. Take smartphones for example. Built-in GPS applications can be a boon when we’re in unfamiliar territory, but that phone can also lead to danger if you use it to answer a call or send a text message while you’re at the wheel. Texting is the main cause of what safety experts call “driver distraction”, which accounts for thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries every year.

So remember: Keep technology in its place in your auto!

This is the latest installment in our ongoing client education series Roseville Auto Insurance and Rocklin Auto Insurance.