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Warning! Nearly Half of Millenials Can't Identify This Dashboard Warning Symbol!

The Detroit Free Press newspaper staff, in an article published today, cites a survey by Goodyear Auto Service and Just Tires.

The survey found that “…49 percent of young drivers and 39 percent of all drivers were unable to recognize the warning light at all…” :open_mouth:

Tire pressure symbol.
(Photo: pialhovik, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

There are quite a few drivers out there not becoming familiar with their Owner’s Manuals, I’m afraid.

Be careful out there!
Do you suppose, like I do, that a lack of just basic familiarity with one’s vehicle makes for some dangerous driving situations for the driver, the vehicle, and other drivers on the road?


Well, of course there are lots of folks who are unable to identify that warning symbol!
After all, that type of knowledge would require that they opened their Owner’s Manual (and actually read it), and we know from all-too-many posts in this forum that most people remain blissfully unaware of the contents of that book.

And–yes–lack of familiarity with one’s own vehicle does make for more hazards on the road.

Old millennial here. More of us (as compared to prior age cohorts) don’t own cars, anyway, so I’m not really surprised.

How many people think the Check Engine Light should be ON all the time? I can see into cars from my SUV, at night, that yellow light glowing away on the dash!

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That is true. Good point from another point of view.
Perhaps I didn’t take that into account as much as I should have since I’ve driven/owned a car from age sixteen on and can’t imagine life without one…

I wonder just exactly how much that plays into the reported failings on the survey question?

On the other hand, don’t quite a few of these non-car owners drive at times, sometimes by rental or some type of car sharing? I mean how many folks actually NEVER drive a vehicle? I’m guessing that percentage to be rather small.

To me, when one “pilots” any vehicle then one needs to know the basics, especially safety basics. When that symbol appears (or any number of other symbols or warnings) on one of my vehicles, I’m stopping and checking it out ASAP!

I’m not knocking millennials. I have two, a son and daughter.
The article points out that the results were nearly as surprising amongst ALL drivers taking the survey, 39%, two out of every five!

Oh, no, no. I didn’t take it as a knock at all.

It’s true. And for all drivers - hasn’t mandatory TPMS not been around more than about 10 years?

Not that I’m saying people shouldn’t read the manual. I do work here, after all, and have learned some things. :wink:

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People who have flawed, badly-maintained vehicles frequently seem to delude themselves into thinking that the presence of that glowing warning light is “normal”. I think that–down deep–they know that it isn’t normal, but ignoring it gives them some solace, I suppose.

Similarly, when dealing with parents of problem, jail-bird teenagers, I lost count of how many of those parents informed me that “all teens have arrest records”. Because I had a very good relationship with the local PD, I was provided with arrest reports, and as a result, I knew that the percentage of kids with arrest records was more like 2-3%. But, rather than confront reality, it apparently gave these parents some kind of comfort to rationalize in that manner.

Making one’s self blissfully ignorant is easier than actually dealing with reality, I suppose.


I read an article a few years back where a large percentage of drivers had no clue and the few willing to guess thought the TPMS warning light resembled a “goldfish bowl”! LOL
I have determined the least read publications in the USA are the ‘Vehicle Operator Manual’ and the ‘State Driver Manual’ (Which in my state includes guidance for cyclists and pedestrians.)!

It’s not just warning symbols that aren’t understood…

“The study also found that most drivers surveyed are not taking precautionary actions to prepare their cars for winter. Amongst drivers who live in areas with usually cold winters, less than half (42 percent) get their tires checked in advance of the winter season. And almost two in five winter drivers (37 percent) do not take any action at all to prepare their cars for winter unless they have an issue. As a general rule of thumb, drivers should check their tires monthly, especially during temperature shifts of 10 degrees or more.”


Many of us that make fun of millennials were running around wearing bell bottoms hip huggers and plaid pants at their age. Don’t forget what it’s like to be young.


Not knowing what a dash symbol means does not bother me . The fact that they can’t understand that the manual would provide that for them . Or since most smart phones also have internet a simple web search would give them the answer in seconds.

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One of my first stops here in Florida was to the Tax Collector’s Office (the local DMV, no kidding ha, ha). I picked up the Official Florida Driver License Handbook, a veritable wealth of information.

I did garner important/helpful information for both driving cars and riding bicycles that will keep me safer and cause me to avoid getting citations.

It’s a little like the “Wild West” of motoring here. Most drivers fall into one of 2 categories, extremely polite helpful drivers (I think the sun all the time helps) which make up the majority of drivers, and then a small group of careless, speeding drivers that my friend in Clearwater warns me about…
“Watch out for the Crazies!,” he says.

That’s part of it, for sure. Why read when you can just “google it” when s… happens! I know my own Millenials walk around playing with cell phones 1000 times more than I do. Besides, I think both my kids are smarter than I was at their ages, so…

What’s that picture in the first post? Is that a new emoji?

Was I a millennial in the 1960s?

And someone living in Clearwater would have a great deal of experience observing crazies. :wink:

I have observed that, up-close.
I was always amused at the sight of my nutty ex-boss (the one who would never fill his gas tank because “that way they can cheat you”) trying to scrape ice from his windshield with his pocket comb. Yes, it is possible to be caught off-guard by the first winter storm of the year, but year in and year out, he NEVER seemed to own a windshield scraper.

Edited to add:
I just recalled another wacky thing about that ex-boss. Sometime in the '80s, he ordered a new Buick, and he made sure that the salesman deleted the rear-window defogger from the car’s equipment. Just the thing to do for a person who apparently never saw the need for an ice-scraper! :laughing:

Here you go-




Seems to me part of the problem is the use of pictographs instead of actual words that can convey a specific idea. Why does there need to be a drawing of air blowing on a stick figure’s feet instead of the word “heat” or an image of a tiny speedometer with an arrow instead of “cruise control”? Going back to labeling gauges/warning lights to say fuel, oil, tire pressure, etc. would eliminate a lot of unknowns.

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