Whatever the reasons, distracted driving has reached pervasive levels. I’m even seeing folks who have both hands on the wheel wander over the center line, especially on curves, as if they think it okay to take their half out of the middle until the last moment they can move back into their lane to avoid a head on collision.
A few years ago, an inattentive semi-truck driver plowed full speed into slowed traffic on the interstate here in town, killing some folks. Just day before yesterday a semi similarly ran into slowed traffic, closing down the highway in both directions. Shortly afterwards, two semis plowed full speed into the blocked traffic. One semi driver ended up dead, others injured, and one of the busiest highways in the area totally closed down for many hours, including during the evening rush hour. At the same time, at the other end of town, a car driver lost control and crashed on a busy four lane local street, closing it down in both directions. Hardly a week goes by without some such horrific accident that all gets back to a mixture of inattentive driving and excessive speed.
I used to be able to easily reach heater-a/c controls and work them simply by feel with a simple slider, never taking my eyes off the road. Radio stations had simple buttons without needing a menu to navigate. And blind spots were smaller with much better drivier visibility.
Yes, some of the increased electronic technology is handy. I find I do like the back-up camera but I do not rely only on it. I still turn and look physically for myself for approaching cross traffic, etc. when backing up.
But having the display screen the rest of the time is actually distracting. I’ve figured out how to dim it to minimal and eliminate some of the endless “safety” messages that pop up but it still is distracting as are the numerous “nanny” warning beeps. Took me a few days to figure out how to turn off the bright green/yellow light on the dash board telling me how energy conservative my foot on the gas is. It only distracted and annoyed. I’m perfectly capable of telling by sound and feel when I am running rpms higher or lower even without a tachometer to tell me.
Can’t recall at the moment if it was an article I was reading last evening or something here on the CT forum about how there are almost no basic, no frills models of cars available to buy anymore. Virtually none are actually manufactured and carried in stock by dealers. The existence is merely a bait and switch marketing tool. Buyers go looking for the entry level model only to find none are in stock and so they get up-sold to a higher, more profitable, trim level. And the average car loan now runs 5.5 years or longer just to pay for the inflated prices. Entry level trims well below $20k are advertised but mostly $25k+ trims are what are actually available to buy.
With both the 2007 Impala and the 2014 Camry, it took some doing for me to get my hands on the trim level I wanted; in both cars, one trim level step up from the bottom but without sunroof, navigation system, leather seats, a radio that requires a linked cell phone with the data streaming turned on to work, etc.
I dearly like the improved safety, suspension, engines, transmissions, etc. of modern cars. I like some of the extras like cupholders and outside mirrors I can adjust from inside the car, etc. But I abhor needing to work through endless computer menus to make simple adjustments to other things which used to be ultra simple.
It’s as if car designers design endless driving distractions and then add on a bevy of nanny devices to counter the distraction dangers they put in the cars in the first place. Seems really dumb to me.
But then I guess I’ve become a crabby middle aged person.
…still reading, still learning…and crabbily venting a bit today.