GREATER training is needed to help motorists understand the automated driving systems that are now being fitted to new cars.
The call comes from road safety organisation IAM Roadsmart which is calling on all vehicle manufacturers, dealerships, driving instructors and the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency to take action.
Some of the most widely known ADAS safety systems - many of which will become mandatory in new vehicles from July 2022 - include adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking systems, lane keeping assist and driver monitoring for drowsiness and distraction recognition.
However, awareness and understanding of these systems is generally low among drivers.
An influential report from the FÃ©dÃ©ration Internationale de l'Automobile which represents driver organisations and auto makers across Europe has found that most motorists do not receive any training when first encountering ADAS but have to rely on information from the user manual, and most alarmingly by applying a ‘trial-and-error' method.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: "Advanced driver assistance systems have the potential to improve road safety, but only if used correctly.
"If used incorrectly, not least without a full understanding of what the systems are and are not capable of, they can have the opposite effect, with potentially worrying consequences for all road users.
"IAM RoadSmart therefore believes the time has now come to include a comprehensive lesson from every car dealer supplying vehicles and further, for more about ADAS to be included in the UK driving test. This is crucial as these tools begin to be supplied as standard on an increasing number of vehicles."
Further recommendations from the FIA report, which IAM RoadSmart endorses, include a comprehensive explanation to end-users of the systems' limitations, more consistently accurate functioning of ADAS in practice and the introduction of fail-safe communications to alert users if any of the systems fail, helping to mitigate any potential road safety risk.
Mr Worth added: "There needs to be a much higher emphasis on educating drivers in the best use of technology. Vehicle manufacturers and car dealerships are key, ensuring that when a customer drives off the forecourt they understand and use the various safety systems correctly."