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Is it just me

Is it just me or does it seem like more drivers are being very sloppy about wandering across the center line these days? And not all of them can be seen on cell phones either. It’s as if half the drivers on the roads have decided that staying in their own lane is optional and that the new rules of the road require them to play chicken through utterly sloppy driving? Makes me wish I’d bought a tank rather than a sedan to drive. Sheeeesh!

…still reading, still learning…and dodging head-on drivers

There’s a lot of distractions inside cars now and it can be anybody’s guess as to what is going on behind the wheel.

I visited someone in a hospital recently and right before leaving I took a random glance outside the 3rd floor window to the street below. There’s a park directly across with probably 50 kids of various ages all playing around close to the street.

Some woman drove by in a near new Ford Edge with the window down. She was texting with both hands and the car was wandering around on the rough street. She went right through the stop sign and I guess she realized at that point where she was and straightened the car out after a bit of wobbling.

A bystander on the sidewalk would not have been aware of this but the 3rd floor vantage point allowed me to look straight down and see what she was doing.
Guess if you’re going to crash or run over someone right outside the hospital is the place to do it.

As I mentioned previously, in a different thread, a problem that I have observed with increasing frequency over the past couple of years is definitely related to what Marnet observed. I am referring to people who pull out to pass slow-moving or stationary vehicles on a 2 lane road without first looking at what is coming from the other direction.

In my area, most of the roads are one lane in each direction, with either no shoulder or a shoulder of–perhaps–4 feet in width. So, when a utility truck is parked in order to do their work, or when a farm tractor is moving along at ~15 mph, it is necessary for cars to move over the center line in order to pass those obstacles.

However…Wouldn’t you think that it would be common practice to see if there are vehicles–which clearly have the right of way–on the other side of that line?
At least once a week, I encounter cars suddenly veering into my lane of traffic, dangerously close to that oncoming traffic–namely me.

It has gotten to the point where, in order to stay safe, I have gotten into the habit of slowing down to a great extent when I see a parked truck or slow moving tractor on the other side of the road. Otherwise I risk a head-on collision with these brain-dead drivers.

I wonder if hands-free phones are almost as distracting. You’re still diverting your attention from driving.

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. :slight_smile:

…still reading, still learning…and crabbily venting a bit today.

1 Like

I agree there is even one commercial that implies the collision avoidance system allows you to ignore the road, safely

Yes, people just don’t pay as much attention to their driving today. There are so many things to distract them.
I’ve actually seen someone reading a magazine or paperwork while driving down the interstate at 70 MPH.
People with phones are all over the road.

THeir favorite song is over and they are searching for the next favorite. Illeagle in Wis., but some install a video player within sight of the driver. Then you can watch that episode of dancing with the stars on your way to work.
I know a girl who changed clothes from her work uniform to her casual’s while driving.
And she was a police dispatcher at the time.
Then there’s the people digging for those tipped over french cfries that went over on the last turn.

The last goes on!!!

…infinity commercial

I think the trend to making smaller cars might be part of the problem.Cars today are so small inside everything is within easy reach so it`s tempting to be doing other things while your driving.

When we were kids taking long road trips my dad would reach back over the front seat,while keeping his eyes on the road, and try to give us a swat if we were acting up, but back then cars were so big that we could easily stay out of his reach by sitting far back in the seat or sliding over to the passenger side.
Todays cars are so small you can reach back over the front seat,without turning around, and practically touch the rear window.

Marnet In my current vehicle I can change radio stations/mp3s, and adjust volume. I have never had this feature before and almost always forget it is available. I can easily adjust volume with the knob or change stations with the preset buttons since I have been doing it for decades. I would never attempt to scroll through hundreds of MP3s on the display. I know my limitations.

Oh, I can change stations and volume on the radio and enjoy the secondary controls for that on the steering wheel. But I can’t adjust the bass/treble w/o going through multiple menu options whereas in previous cars I could just twiddle a small knob by feel.

I loved the simple slider control for adjusting heat/cool temp from the heater-a/c in older cars. The Impala I just parted from had a pair of vertical dials that were a pain to operate. The new Camry has a much simpler dial so advantage Camry in that regard.

I have to laugh at myself; when I got the Impala 7 years ago I thought the tire pressure monitor and compass were superfluous but I quickly got used to them. Well, the trim level of the Camry I bought a couple months ago doesn’t have either and now I find I miss them. LOL Not that hard to live without either though as I regularly checked tire pressures for myself with a gauge and I managed to drive just fine without a dashboard compass for 32 years, including making several trips from coast to coast and almost border to border with only paper maps and AAA books. :slight_smile:

It’s all a trade off, some cars have better design for ease of access and use of controls and there are differing mixtures of features on various makes/models. It’s just a matter of adjusting to what is different from previous experience. Not everyone likes the same thing. If they did, there wouldn’t be the array of choices we have.

As I understand it, TPMS is now mandatory on all cars starting in 2007.

I’m holding off until they come out with one that tells me my fly is down

As if cars aren’t dangerous enough due to inattention, Harley Davidson is advertising a new model with a touch screen and a rider being asked (but never shown doing so) to acknowledge an incoming phone call.
Engine systems and navigation aid use is also being touted with this.

Taking phone calls on a Harley??? Ye gods and little fishes; how would they even hear a phone conversation while riding a Harley or any other motorcycle!

One of the worse pervasive features that are now becoming standard in cars are these large touch screens. I think they should the outlawed. Go back to simple dials and preset manual buttons for basic stations and simple plugins. Cars should NOT come with or be allowed entertainment centers other then a basic radio and stored music. I will resign my self to a basic blue tooth phone but it had better be no hands or eyesight operative. But for sure…get rid of those darn touch screens with multi functions. The biggest built In Distractions in ALL CARS.

Taking phone calls on a Harley??? Ye gods and little fishes; how would they even hear a phone conversation while riding a Harley or any other motorcycle!

That’s what bluetooth helmets are for.

I think it was the Tribeca I test drove that had a tiny LED display on the knob for the temp setting that told you what you had it set on. Talk about a big distraction if you have poor eyesight and need to adjust the temp

I think part of the problem lies with the cars themselves. I do not believe that todays cars are as stable as they used to be. To start with, rack and pinion is much easier to bump steer that the old worm and roller steering boxes. Add to that that most FWD cars are toed out which is less stable than toe in that is used on RWD. Part of the toe issue is in an attempt to get tires to last longer.

Touch screens should also be outlawed as you can’t “feel for” the control, you have to take your eyes off the road and look, and maintain visual contact through the whole process of making any adjustments to the control. Not one of those “better ideas”. I expect that voice command technology will soon take over from touch screens as it gets perfected.

Touch screens should also be outlawed as you can't "feel for" the control, you have to take your eyes off the road and look, and maintain visual contact through the whole process of making any adjustments to the control.

If we outlaw touchscreens that are installed on the vehicle by the manufacturer, how do we treat standalone touch screen navigation?

Better to regulate their operation. Make it necessary for manufacturers to program the units to not respond to touch commands when the vehicle is in motion.