Drivers prefer physical controls over touchscreens, raising safety concerns

Close up view of woman's hands inside of new modern car.

Vehicles equipped with touchscreens may want to avoid them, drivers have been cautioned. According to research, 89% of drivers prefer physical buttons over digital ones, which could cause problems when trying to sell your car.

Yes, people prefer to utilise physical buttons and switches rather than touch controls while operating their cars. According to studies, 60% of drivers could think twice before purchasing a car without old-school switches and buttons.

Claire Evans, from What Car?, said “The key to providing the easiest-to-use, least distracting infotainment and air-con systems is to offer drivers plenty of control options. The very best systems, like BMW’s iDrive, Renault’s OpenR and Volvo’s Google Built-in, give drivers lots of ways to access frequently used functions.”

However, Birmingham Live notes that if a touchscreen is sluggish or conceals commonly used features in confusing submenus, it can also be difficult to operate while driving. The over usage of touchscreens is creating issues for the whole car industry, according to Matthew Avery, director of strategic development at Euro NCAP.

He said, “Almost every car maker is moving key controls onto central touchscreens, making drivers take their eyes off the road and increasing the risk of crashes caused by distraction.” According to the latest information from the Department for Transport, last year 12,246 road accidents were caused by driver impairment.

Distractions contributed to 17% of all traffic accidents in 2022, a significant increase from 13% in 2013. “The overuse of touchscreens is an industry-wide problem, with almost every vehicle-maker moving key controls onto central touchscreens, obliging drivers to take their eyes off the road and raising the risk of distraction crashes,” stated Matthew Avery, director of strategic development at Euro NCAP, in an interview with The Times this month.

“New Euro NCAP tests due in 2026 will encourage manufacturers to use separate, physical controls for basic functions in an intuitive manner, limiting eyes-off-road time and therefore promoting safer driving.”


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