Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fewer Drivers Driving

I don’t get it.
What’s with cars being able to think more than the people who drive them?

No doubt, many of the latest features, such as inflatable seat belts, mobile phone integration, adaptive headlights and back up cameras and rear sensors, are all about safety and accident prevention.

It’s other, more disconcerting features, such as lane departure warning systems and self-stopping vehicles, that have me asking, “Just how dumb do you think I am?”

One automaker wonders aloud why cars can’t do more of the worrying so motorists can do more of the driving.  I wonder why motorists can’t do more of the worrying that comes with doing all of the driving! Isn’t worrying part of driving? Aren’t road awareness, attentiveness, anticipation and vehicle control, responsibilities that come with driving?

Heck, cars can park themselves now!

Still, if you can’t do something as basic as park your 3000 to 6000 pound vehicle, should you really be propelling it and your passengers into traffic?

Checking blind spots and parking used to be basic skills required for passing licenses. What changed?

Drivers should be checking their blind spots, although I suppose a case could be made for the added safety that comes with blind spot detection systems; an extra pair of eyes and all that. I worry, will drivers who have blind spot detection systems no longer give their blind spots even a perfunctory glance?

It seems to me many of the latest features only tend to make bad drivers worse. There are too many drivers driving who shouldn’t be, and no amount of technology can foresee the dangerously unpredictable maneuvers and countless routine oversights of an incompetent driver.

Shouldn’t you be the one stopping your vehicle? Shouldn’t you be making sure you stay within lane markers? Who in tarnation is so unaware that they need to be told they’re leaving their lane; dangerous drifters using smart phones while driving and drunk drivers? Convenient.

Automakers are also advertising cars that can sense imminent accidents.

Where is it all leading? How far away is the driverless car? Is the idea to encourage drivers to think less?

Surely not.

Methinks the only logical explanation for such smart cars is that automakers are trying to protect intelligent drivers from dumb drivers by making cars that think for dumb drivers.

I’m not a perfect driver and there’s no way I, or any other motorist, can think for all the other so-called drivers out there, but some drivers actually drive! They  pay attention and make responsible vehicle control decisions based on real time, fluid second-by-second road circumstances and situations.

That’s driving the way driving was meant to be. Would I steer you wrong?