With many new cars featuring some form of touchscreen control for music, air conditioning and car settings, has anyone stopped to think whether this actually makes driving any easier or safer?
A growing number of new cars feature ever larger touchscreens, but is this really easier than good old fashioned buttons? I think not.
Peugeot has fitted the new 308 with a 9.7-inch touchscreen and ditched most of the physical buttons. But, while this is great for sitting in traffic jams, touchscreens often don’t work as well when you’re on the move. And let’s face it, that’s what driving is about.
Driving towards touchscreens
Call me a traditionalist, but I have yet to drive a car with a touchscreen that actually made life easier. Even changing the simplest setting via a touchscreen can require you to spend seconds staring at the screen trying to locate the right onscreen button. This differs to conventional buttons, where you can feel your way around by touch without taking your eyes off the road.
Even though many cars with touchscreens also have steering wheel buttons, some of these are scattered so densely that it can take even longer to find the button you want.
Then there’s the Tesla Model S with its enormous 17-inch touchscreen, the size of a large laptop screen. The Tesla’s touchscreen can control satnav, audio settings, internet, let you change car settings and connect with your phone via Bluetooth.
Do you prefer buttons or touchscreens?
I’m all for progress and integrating new technology into cars, but I can’t see how the current range of ever larger touchscreens in cars is making driving safer. And having tried to use several touchscreen systems on the move I don’t think it’s easier either.
But what do you think? Would you rather have more conventional buttons strewn across the dashboard, or a large touchscreen? Or do you think a large screen with physical controls is the best of both worlds?