person wearing a long button down shirt having their hand on a stick shift

Self-Driving vs. Manual Cars: Which is Safer?

Vehicle Type and Impact on Safety

As driving technology advances over time, the question of which vehicle era provides the most safety is often overlooked. Manual transmissions are slowly disappearing from our roadways and being replaced with more automated, “self-driving” cars that require little assistance from the person in the driver’s seat. But, is this change a good thing? Read on to learn more about the benefits of both manual and self-driving cars.

Safety Benefits of Driving Manual

Vehicles with manual transmissions (more often referred to as “stick shifts”) are not as common as they used to be, making up only about 13% of new models released in 2020. However, there are still many safety benefits that can come from driving them. One of the biggest is that they effectively reduce the chances of manual driving distractions.

Since both hands are required to actively operate a manual vehicle, the driver has to be alert and change gears according to the present road conditions. Because of this, they typically aren’t spending time texting and driving or engaging in other manual distractions.

Furthermore, studies show that drivers who drive ‘stick’ often are more adept at reacting to changing road conditions and hazards since they have to remain attentive when behind the wheel. These vehicles are also typically easier (and cheaper) to maintain, which can reduce the risk of a mechanical issue caused by maintenance.

Why the NHTSA Supports Self-Driving Vehicles

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) acknowledges that fully automated vehicles are the future of roadway safety and anticipates them to be widespread by 2025. Since 2016, the agency has been advocating for improved features within these vehicles that could provide for “active safety”—something they highlight as one of the biggest benefits of automation.

The primary reason for this advocacy is that driver error is one of the most significant contributors to crashes and could be a factor in upwards of 96% of collisions. Speeding, driver inattention, not reacting to traffic changes, and other human aspects could all be reduced when a vehicle is fully automated.

Car Accident? Trust The Attorney That Works

Even as this technology advances, drivers should be held accountable for their negligent actions that cause others harm. Chris Morrow Law, PLLC is here to provide the legal assistance you need to fully recover from your injuries and seek justice. Get started with a free consultation today by calling (512) 641-5232 or filling out this short form.

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