Self-driving cars safer than humans, except at dusk, dawn and turns

Autonomous vehicles are generally safer than human-driven cars, but their safety advantage diminishes during dawn, dusk, and while turning, according to a new study by the University of Central Florida. The research highlights that self-driving cars are involved in fewer accidents overall compared to human-driven vehicles.

However, the study found that during low-light conditions at dawn or dusk, autonomous vehicles are more than five times as likely to be involved in an accident than their human-driven counterparts. Additionally, while turning, self-driving cars are nearly twice as likely to experience a crash.

Despite their overall safety, several high-profile incidents have raised concerns. Just last week, a self-driving car collided with a police vehicle in California as officers attended to a fatal accident.

Researchers Mohamed Abdel-Aty and Shengxuan Ding analyzed data from 2,100 autonomous vehicles and 35,133 human-driven vehicles between 2016 and 2022. They concluded that self-driving cars are less likely to be involved in accidents during routine driving tasks, such as maintaining lane positions and adjusting to traffic flow, and are safer when struck from behind or from the side.