Smart cars will make the roads safer, and there's a lot of talk about what it will mean for people who own smart cars or use some sort of smart-Uber service to get around, but not so much attention is paid to how the Smart Car will affect the rest of us. Well here's some things to consider:
We'll All Pay Less on Insurance (At First)
If two out of three cars on the road are self-driving, then there are going to be fewer accidents in general. With accidents going down across the board, each individual car owner will be taking on considerably less risk. This means that even if you're not the perfect driver, even if you have a few tickets on your record that you haven't had dismissed with CA DMV approved traffic schools yet, then you will be paying less than you were before smart cars started populating the roads.
But It Might Not Last
It might be different in other states, but in California you can bet your left arm that there will be rules and laws and stipulations against people who are still driving conventional vehicles in 2025, it will be as obvious as the best and worst CA airports. This means that the extra fines and fees California charges against drivers who still like the feeling of a steering wheel in their hands might wind up costing you even more than your insurance in the long run. Of course, this is just speculation at this point, but it's difficult to imagine California not passing laws that make it more expensive to drive than it is to operate a smart car.
Your Driving Instincts Will Change
A lot of how we drive now, it's human interaction. We're looking at the cars, but we're dealing with the people driving them. You know that when you drive too close to another driver, it makes them nervous. You know that people don't always stop at every stop sign, so you proceed with caution even when you have the right of way. A lot of this is going to change once you start dealing with smart cars on the road. You can generally expect that they'll obey the letter of ever traffic law. But pushy drivers will also find that they can't intimidate smart cars, for instance. Interacting with smart cars as the driver of a conventional auto will involve a whole different approach to handling your auto on the road, and it will subtly change your driver's instincts.
They Will Get More Affordable
Smart cars themselves will get more affordable. Maybe not as cheap as conventional autos, at least not for a while, but they won't always be outrageously expensive. And, they'll open up all sorts of new options. For instance, when you rent a smart car you might not even need to buy insurance for it, or at least, if you do, it will come quite cheap. The smart car might herald an age where the only people who own cars are frequent travelers, classic car buffs, and the business owners who rent the cars out.
Smart cars are going to change the American highways, in ways both good and bad. Ultimately the roads will be safer though, so at the end of the day it really is a net good for everyone on the road, from pedestrians and drivers to passengers and so on. Most of the changes coming will take place in the cities, first, before spreading out into rural areas, but the changes are coming.