The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Situational Awareness

 I was driving home from running a few errands and observing the driving habits of a few people as I did so. I'm nosy, ok? It occurred to me that much of the driving experience has been taken away by gadgets and automation.

When I was younger and had received my first traffic citation (for running a stop sign... which I did not do), I ended up in something called Traffic School. I was told by the instructor (a Sheriff's Deputy) that the two worst inventions for cars were AC and the radio. The AC meant you could leave the windows closed (thereby cutting off outside noise) and the radio masked any noise that might have leaked in. I wonder what he would have thought of the gadgets available for modern cars?

As young drivers, my peers and I hated automatic transmissions; called `em "slushboxes" and worse. I thought they took much of the "feel" out of driving a car. Now, of course, I love the darn things... you get lazy in your later years.

But look at the array of options available these days, lane warnings, proximity alerts, and rear-view cameras. And, of course, we are moving toward driverless vehicles: just put in your destination and sit back. As I watched people pay no attention to the vehicles behind (and, sometimes, alongside) them, I wondered if the new gadgets would make things even worse. Perhaps not, perhaps they are needed because it is clear that drivers are not attentive.


Tom Sightings said...

I still drive a 6-speed manual transmission. But I'm finally getting lazy ... next car will have a slushbox (a term I'd never heard before).

Vagabonde said...

What bugs me are all those people with cell phones on their ears while driving. We live in the suburbs and, frankly, 8 out of 10 vehicles are huge SUV with only one person in each. I think it is a status symbol because accidents in them are more deadly and they use more gas. My daughter’s best friend died in hers when it turned over. I also read that in affluent suburbs where there are more SUV, little children have more asthma from all their exhaust. I drive a small car and am always afraid these huge monsters with their drivers on cell phones will smash my car. Actually it did happen several years ago, one driver was on his cell phone and did not see the traffic had stopped and my car stopped his vehicle – result my car was totaled and I had a run to the emergency with stuff all around my neck – took months to heal. You know, while in Europe I checked and there are very few SUV. While in Brussels, Belgium, I counted them and I only counted 3 in 2 days! Here it would be 3 in 5 seconds…. Of course they care a lot more about the environment there.

Douglas said...

Tom, one of the other names was "odormatic." Of course, they were unreliable and pretty clunky back then. My first automatic was in a `56 Buick, a Dynaflow they called it and it never shifted just smooth all the way up to 100 MPH or more.
Vagabonde, and yet there are alternatives, such as Bluetooth syncing, so that phone doesn't have to be at your ear. I am with you on that, though, because we tend to tunnelvision while talking on a phone. Not as much when we converse with others in the vehicle, the phone conversation seems to distract us more.