Nowadays, all kinds of new words are popping up as a sign of the times: selfie, bougie, frenemy. Add infotainment to the list. Even our spell-check recognizes the word as a valid, totally legitimate word.

What is infotainment? Very simply, it is the spawn of entertainment and information, and most commonly found within a vehicle of transportation: airplane, train and – you guessed it – your car. Today, we can find a smorgasbord of vehicle technology at our fingertips ranging from the now-commonplace GPS to the savvier applications including Facebook, WiFi, real-time traffic and even HDMI cable ports to watch high-def TV. It’s truly a sign of the times.

In a recent article at The Blade, the power of infotainment is said to have become a “big selling point in new cars.” Needless to say, in-cabin technology has an appeal at the dealership. Now more than ever, people are springing to buy cars that keep them connected to the very busy world around them. It’s all about instant gratification and the joy (perhaps, addiction) of technology and the age of information.

“You’re bringing so much more technology into the vehicle. It’s great. Customers really want it. They’re excited about it. But it has to work, it has to be intuitive and not distracting. That’s the challenge companies are facing right now,” said the vice president of U.S. automotive quality J.D. Power.

These days, having a technologically-savvy vehicle is at the top of nearly every car manufacturer’s to-do list. The competition has stepped into high gear, making infotainment one the bigger selling points for vehicles in 2015.

The good news is that in addition to many infotainment features, cars are also taking technology into the world of safety. Features like adaptive cruise control, anti-lock brakes (a long-time favorite), rear-view cameras and lane-departure warnings are just some of the ways technology has increased roadways safety and in turn reducing thousands of car accidents each year.

But infotainment still remains at the heart of car technology. The problem, though, with car technology is its learning curve. When, exactly, does a customer have an opportunity to discover its benefits except when driving? That’s the problem: infotainment is a potential for distraction and that’s a serious issue.

“Almost all automakers are struggling to [implement infotainment] flawlessly, with some consumers indicating that the technology is hard to understand, difficult to use, or simply does not always work as designed,” said one auto expert.

“We’re still just in the very early chapters… We’re really just starting to see some ideas and innovation and creativity. If we move out five years, we’re going to have Wi-Fi connectivity in most cars.”

AUTO TECHNOLOGY IN THE 21ST CENTURY: AN ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN?

If you’re like most people, you’re probably thrilled at the idea of staying connected while driving. But just when does car technology cross the line into unsafe territory? If you’re considering a car with all the bells and whistles, be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.

THE POTENTIAL FOR HIGH DISTRACTION

By now, we all know the dangers of texting and driving and cell phone use behind the wheel. The truth is that car technology could be just as distracting if not more. That’s because there’s a lot at our fingertips: GPS, radio, cruise control, WiFi, Facebook… If you’re engaging in all these things at once, you’re likely to be distracted. Your reaction time is also going to be inevitably longer when it comes to accident prevention. Understand that car technology comes at a high risk – engage responsibly!

BIG LEARNING CURVE

In today’s age of information, most of us are fairly comfortable with technology. Smartphones, tablets and the brightest and best computers are a part of our daily world. But car technology like high-def TV, connected phones and real-time news and information is still fairly new. It takes time to learn how to operate these systems, and many times, these systems fail. Phones don’t connect. The WiFi is amiss. The navigation goes bust. As great as technology is, at times, it can fail miserably. Don’t risk learning about your new system – or worse, attempt to fix it – while driving. Go to your dealership and ask for training to get acquainted with all your vehicle can do.

Lastly, be careful! It’s an exciting world we live in, but it shouldn’t be at the risk of our safety. Drive responsibly.

DISTRACTED DRIVERS CAN CAUSE CAR ACCIDENTS

It’s no secret that distracted driving can lead to car accidents. If you’ve been involved in a car accident and believe the other individual was distracted behind the wheel, you may be entitled to legal rights including financial compensation. Call us today for a FREE consultation at 1-858-551-2090.

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