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Would self-driving cars increase roadway safety?

When asked about self-driving cars, people often talk about their fears and concerns. It makes them nervous to think of sitting in a vehicle over which they have little control. What if the computer makes a mistake and causes an accident?

That's a valid concern, which is why such extensive testing is being done before these vehicles are released to the public. However, the reality is that it's almost guaranteed to be safer than the system that is in place right now, according to some experts.

After all, they point out that a full 90 percent of car crashes come from little more than human error. Roadway safety should skyrocket if people were simply removed from the equation.

Part of the reason for the fear may be that people still think they can do what it takes to avoid accidents. Never mind that it's not true, as the tens of thousands of deadly wrecks every year prove. If they can hold the wheel and steer the car, they feel like whether or not they crash is all on their shoulders.

That's an illusion, because plenty of law-abiding drivers are killed when other drivers make mistakes. If a driver runs a red light while texting, you can follow all of the traffic laws perfectly and still get hit. But it's an illusion that makes people comfortable because they like that feeling of control. Giving that up is what really scares them, even though the statistics paint a very clear picture: The vast majority of accidents are caused by people.

With that in mind, make sure you know what legal rights you have if one of those negligent drivers hits you, no matter what type of vehicle you're in.

Source: Bloomberg, "Self-Driving Cars Will Kill Things You Love (And a Few You Hate)," Jess Shankleman, accessed Feb. 23, 2018

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