Can the computers in our cars put us in jeopardy? It may be a sign of the times, but after a software upgrade caused dangerous malfunctions in a few Honda Civic Hybrid vehicles, some drivers fear increased risk of injury car accidents from a faulty software upgrade.

The Chicago Tribune reported this week that Honda’s free software upgrade – offered to Civic Hybrid owners last summer in response to complaints of premature battery failure – may in fact be making things worse.

The software was intended to prolong battery life without adversely affecting fuel economy; but according to one owner’s comments, mileage dipped from 40 mpg to only 25-28 mpg after the upgrade, including other vehicle woes which placed drivers at risk.

In fact, fuel efficiency wasn’t the only problem reported.

“In a couple of cases, it seemed as if the car did not want to accelerate from a stopped position. This has put me in a dangerous situation more than once when trying to cross an intersection,” said a Honda Civic Hybrid owner.

Consumer Reports: can hybrids be a hazard?

Despite the increased reliance placed on battery life in all hybrid vehicles, a Consumer Reports survey indicates that Honda’s Civic Hybrid has a higher rate of battery trouble than other hybrid models.

This past summer’s software fix was meant to alter the way the car used its hybrid system — but user complaints indicate this change, rather than the original hybrid system, may be responsible for mileage and malfunction concerns.

Car technology: what you can do to stay safe

Hybrid cars and other software-enabled vehicles can offer incredible advances in fuel economy, performance and even safety. However, there are also drawbacks to car computers – and consumers should be aware of the best way to keep themselves safe as auto technology advances.

Here in San Diego, we take great pride in protecting the environment and conserving natural resources. Hybrid cars are here to stay – and it is up to us to stay as proactive about vehicle safety as we are about clean air and green fuel.

Follow these simple steps when considering a hybrid vehicle or any vehicle equipped with advanced technology:

Research before buying

Read up on the car you intend to purchase and notice what concerns, if any, might be related to embedded technology. Don’t let a desire for the latest design distract you from critical safety ratings.

Schedule regular maintenance

Be sure to take your car to a dealer or shop experienced in maintaining the specific make and model of your car. Unlike a routine mechanical fix, software problems are often impossible to detect until something goes wrong. Stay up to date to avoid surprise electronic glitches.

Report malfunctions

If you notice something unusual and can’t find an obvious mechanical reason for the problem, report it immediately to your auto dealer or auto manufacturer. Never leave potential malfunctions unreported.

Accidents as a result of vehicle malfunction

Unfortunately, car accidents resulting out of vehicle malfunction can happen, no matter how diligent you may be in keeping your vehicle up-to-date. If you have experienced an injury car accident from a faulty vehicle, contact us today.

Expert personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael Pines, APC have worked with vehicle malfunction cases just like yours, and can help you determine how to proceed: call now and set up a free legal consultation at 1-858-551-2090.

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