In-car touchscreens much worse for driver distraction
In-car touchscreens can be much more distracting to use compared to systems with physical buttons, potentially putting drivers at higher risks of accidents.
A test carried out by What Car? of 20 infotainment and air-con systems found that it took twice as long to adjust heating controls on some cars with touchscreen controls rather than physical dials. And it took up to four times longer to zoom out of the sat-nav map to view a pre-programmed route using a touchscreen than it did using a rotary dial controller.
With figures indicating that distracted driving is a contributing factor in 15% of all road accidents, the tests – covering six tasks frequently carried out by drivers on the move – also found a sophisticated voice control system is the least distracting way of doing many tasks.
But levels of sophistication vary; systems in the Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz all recognise natural speech, so you can activate them by talking and then ask them to carry out your desired task and hardly take your eyes off the road at all.
However, not all voice control systems are as intuitive or fast to respond; What Car?’s testers were looking away from the road for more than twice as long in cars with the worst systems.
The research also highlighted the benefits of having a range of different ways of doing a task, so the driver can choose the most convenient for each situation. The best systems let you use physical buttons, the touchscreen or voice control to do a wide range of commands.
The most and least distracting in-car control systems:
|||Make, model and infotainment name||Total score out of 30|
|1.||BMW 3 Series with Live Cockpit Professional||28|
|2.||Mercedes-Benz CLA with 10.25in touchscreen||27|
|3.||Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid with Connect Plus and Porsche Communication Management||27|
|4.||Audi Q3 Sportback with Virtual Cockpit Plus||26|
|5.||Mazda 3 with 8.8in colour display and Mazda Connect||25|
|6.||Volkswagen Passat GTE with 8.0in Composition Media system||24|
|7.||Ford Fiesta with Sync 3 navigation and FordPass Connect||23|
|8.||Hyundai Ioniq with 10.25in touchscreen and Bluelink connectivity||22|
|9.||Vauxhall Corsa with 10.0in Multimedia Navi Pro||22|
|10.||Skoda Kamiq with 9.2in touchscreen, voice control and Amundsen sat-nav||21|
|11.||Jaguar XE with 10.0in Touch Pro Duo system||21|
|12.||Volvo S60 with Sensus||20|
|13.||Toyota Corolla with Touch 2 media system and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto||20|
|14.||Nissan Juke with Nissan Connect||19|
|15.||Honda CR-V with 7.0in touchscreen, Honda Connect and Garmin navigation||18|
|16.||Lexus RX with 12.3in multimedia display||18|
|17.||Peugeot 508 SW with 10.0in Connected 3D Navigation and voice recognition||17|
|18.||Skoda Citigo-e iV with colour screen and phone holder||16|
|19.||Fiat 500X with 7.0in touchscreen and Uconnect Live||14|
|20.||MG ZS with 8.0in touchscreen||12|