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10 Unexpected Ways Your Car May Be a Danger to You and Others

by JC
fact checked by Darci Heikkinen

Cars are one of the primary forms of transportation for many individuals across the world. The World Economic Forum reported that over 70% of Americans used cars as their main source of transportation. Unfortunately, with cars being as highly utilized as they are, they have contributed to their fair share of accidents.

USA Today reports that as of 2024, “car crashes are the leading cause of death in the United States.” Cars are such a popular mode of transportation that it’s easy to forget how heavy and powerful they are! Luckily, car manufacturers have introduced features that make cars safer for drivers and pedestrians. However, there are a few features of cars that, if used incorrectly, can put people on the road at risk. So, buckle your seatbelts as we go through 10 unexpected ways your car might endanger you or others!

Related: Top 10 Cool Car Hacks Every Driver Should Know

10 Car Touch Sceens Can Be Worse for Drivers Than Texting

How Safe Are Touch Screens In Cars Like Tesla

If you’ve purchased a car in recent years, there’s a good chance it has CarPlay or Android Auto. These systems intend to boost efficiency by taking away the use of mobile devices while driving, but they may be doing the opposite of their intended functions. The European Transport Safety Council found that “using touch control resulted in reaction times that were even worse than texting while driving.” Additionally, they found that driver reaction times were “more than 50 per cent slower” when using car touch screens and that “controlling the vehicle’s position in the lane and keeping a consistent speed and headway to the vehicle in front suffered significantly.”

Drivers still need to take their eyes off the road to view and control the car screens, which counts as distracted driving. So, while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can take your eyes off your phone screen, it’s important not to let your eyes linger on your car screen, either![1]

9 Dark-Colored Cars May Be Blending in Too Well on the Road

Safest Car Color

Hazards on the road might be closer than you think! Shockingly, studies have found that the color of your car might determine your likelihood of getting into a car accident. A study published in the National Library of Medicine stated that “There was a significant increased risk of a serious injury in brown vehicles” and that “the risks for black and green cars were also raised.”

This is likely due to darker cars’ abilities to blend into the road and their lowered visibility in dark conditions. A study by Monash University further supports this point, stating that “black, grey and silver vehicles were estimated to have the highest crash risks” compared to lighter-colored cars.” With white cars having the lowest rates of accidents, it might be time to reconsider your taste in car colors![2]

8 Ultra-Bright Headlights May Need to Be Toned Down

Blinding headlights are growing problem on US roads

If you’ve driven down a dark road at night, you may be familiar with the feeling of being blinded by a driver who forgot to turn their high beams off. The bright, beaming lights can be disorienting and distracting for drivers. Unfortunately, car manufacturers are beginning to default to bright LED lights for headlights as opposed to more gentle light sources. As an article from NBC News states, “Vehicle headlights have shifted from primarily warm-yellowish halogen to cool-bluish LED, which human eyes are more sensitive to.”

The growing presence of bright LED headlights may be more convenient for the driver due to increased visibility, but this may be to the detriment of other drivers on the road. An article from The Telegraph reports that “around 300 accidents now occur every year due to headlight glare, with one survey finding that 91 per cent of motorists felt that headlights were too bright.” Since there’s not much that the average consumer can do to control the intensity of car headlights, it’ll be interesting to see if changes are made or if our eyes will just have to adjust![3]

7 Self-Driving Cars Aren’t as Advanced as We’d Like Them to Be

Self-Driving Cars Are a Dangerous Pipe Dream

Self-driving cars have been a popular topic of discussion ever since they were conceptualized. The idea of being able to multitask while a car takes you to your destination sounds like a dream! However, this futuristic idea still needs tweaking before it becomes fully feasible. Cars with self-driving capabilities can put drivers at risk if they put full reliance on the car’s autopilot function. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that “self-driving vehicles are involved in double the number of accidents per mile driven as traditional vehicles.”

Car manufacturers are struggling to calibrate self-driving capabilities that are able to adapt to real-life, spontaneous situations such as unexpected obstacles, narrow streets, or undetected pedestrians. So, for those of you who have been saving up for a self-driving car, it might be time to reroute![4]

6 Tinted Windows Can Dull Your Visibility

How it Looks to Have 35%, 25%, and 20% Window Tint AT NIGHT! | Night Driving Comparison

Having dark-tinted windows provides its fair share of perks. Increased privacy, improved UV protection, and glare prevention make it easy to see why drivers would desire window tints. However, these perks may be outweighed by the safety hazards that come with tinted windows. A study published in the National Transportation Library researched the effects of window tints on traffic safety and found that “low contrast targets that are difficult to detect through untinted glazing at dusk, dawn, or at night will be harder to see or be undetectable when viewed through tinted windows.”

Additionally, an article by AAA cited that windows with dark tints “prevent a driver from communicating their intentions to other drivers and pedestrians, and vice versa, making driving inherently less safe.” If you’re still interested in getting your windows tinted, it probably is best to ensure that they meet your state’s standards so you can stay safe![5]

5 Bigger Cars Are Safer for the Driver at the Expense of Others

Cars And Trucks Are Growing Larger, And So Are Their Dangerous Blind Zones

Cars are getting bigger, which has introduced new concerns among pedestrians, bikers, and drivers of smaller cars. Unfortunately, research has shown that the bigger the car, the bigger the danger to others on the road. A BBC article states that “SUVs and vans with a hood height greater than 40 inches (102cm) were about 45% more likely to cause fatalities than those with a height of 30 inches (76cm) or less.”

While the dangers for smaller cars are high, the dangers for pedestrians and bikers are much higher. A CNBC article reported that “the bigger the vehicle, the heavier they are, the more deadly they are during a crash, especially with vulnerable road users like pedestrians and bicyclists.” Fortunately, with the increased buzz around the sizing disparities among cars, there is a good chance that increased protections for smaller cars and pedestrians/bikers will become available in upcoming years.[6]

4 Catchy Music Has Its Risks on the Road

Can the Music you listen to affect how you drive

If you drive a car, it’s more than likely that you listen to music during your commute. However, a recent study indicated that this may be a risk factor for younger drivers. A study published in the National Library of Medicine studied a group of young, novice drivers and found that while listening to music, “all participants committed at least 3 driver deficiencies; 27 needed a verbal warning/command, and 17 required a steering or braking intervention to prevent an accident.”

Having music in the background also “produced the most frequent severe driver miscalculations and inaccuracies, violations, and aggressive driving.” However, for music lovers, don’t lose heart! The study also observed “elevated positive moods and enjoyment for trips with driver-preferred music.” There is no need to avoid your favorite songs on your next road trip; just drive with caution while jamming out![7]

3 The Volume of Your Music Can Put You at Risk, Too

Does LOUD Music Make You Drive Worse??

The next time you play music in your car while practicing caution on the road, make sure to pay attention to your volume as well. A study conducted by Memorial University of Newfoundland reported that “loud volume intensities impair human performance during simple vigilance and simulated driving tasks.” A study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine delved further into this statement by analyzing reaction times in relation to music volume.

The study found that “increased music volume yields slower reaction times in people under the age of 25, and this could present a problem for safe driving as the delayed reaction time of drivers can mean the difference between life and death when operating a motor vehicle.” But again, no need to fully cut out music from your commutes! As long as drivers know their own reaction times and observational skills in relation to their music, there’s no need to fear![8]

2 Overreliance on Safety Tech Could Be Drivers’ Downfalls

AAA Says Car Safety Technology Is Unreliable

With the rising risks that are appearing on the roads, car manufacturers are trying to minimize accidents and injuries by implementing safety technology in cars. Backup cameras, blind spot monitoring, collision warnings, and ABS systems provide drivers with increased awareness and perception on the road. However, many drivers overestimate the capabilities of their car’s safety technology, and this can lead to hazardous situations.

A Forbes article reported that “Nearly 80% of drivers with blind spot monitoring systems were unaware of limitations or incorrectly believed the systems could accurately monitor the roadway behind the vehicle or reliably detect bicycles, pedestrians and vehicles passing at high speeds.”

With such a high percentage of drivers overestimating their car safety technology, this can lead to a higher rate of accidents and injuries if something goes wrong. So, if you have a car with safety technology, make sure you’re still checking your blind spots and paying attention to your surroundings![9]

1 Cars Are Risky, So It’s Important to Stay Safe!

5 Defensive Driving Strategies To Be A Safer, Smarter Driver

Now that you know the risks of the road, it’s important to focus on safety. Cars are essential forms of transportation for many individuals, and the best thing you can do is stay up to date on how to best maneuver the roads to maximize both your safety and the safety of others.

Fortunately, as stated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “After spiking during the pandemic, traffic deaths are continuing to slowly come down.” However, we still have a long way to go before cars become a fully safe form of transportation. As long as you practice caution and care to other drivers and inspect your car to be 100% hazard-free, you’re helping the roads become a safer place![10]

fact checked by Darci Heikkinen