I applaud most technological advancements in the automotive industry. Cars and trucks are now safer, thanks to improved front and side-curtain airbags that deploy within milliseconds of a collision. Engines are becoming more efficient with the development of hybrid powertrains and all-electric motors. We’re even seeing hydrogen fuel cells in the automotive crystal ball. I welcome tire technology with open arms, for any rubber that will reduce my chances of hydroplaning and ending up in the heart of a Nissan Frontier pretzel is greatly appreciated. The same goes with advancements in traction control, ABS, 4WD, HID headlights and any other non-obtrusive performance-enhancing technologies. Thanks to technology, the cars of today are superior to the cars of yesterday.
But not all of the technological advancements in the automotive industry are welcome, or even necessary, though some of you may disagree with me. Let’s start with driver assistance technologies, or as I like to call them “Idiot Modes.” The first Idiot Mode is called Lane Departure Warning. Lane Departure Warning, found on several new vehicles, is a system that alerts the driver when he or she has crossed the double-yellow line or drifted their vehicles too far over the white line. The car will flash some sort of warning light on the dashboard and beep continuously. Cadillac takes it a step further by integrating a vibrating sensation in the seat. If you’re that inept behind the wheel that you can’t keep your 6-foot wide vehicle within a 12-foot gap, then you should hang up your keys and retire your license. The fact that we need a butt massager to remind drivers how to keep a car tracked in a straight line is a pitiful concept. Want to save hundreds of dollars? Decline the dealer’s insistence that you need a Lane Departure system on your car and practice driving it in a straight line during your spare time.
In the Lane Departure Warning’s extended family lies the Blind Spot Warning. This is a similar system that works alongside the car to detect when other cars enter your blind spot. An illumination will fire off in the car’s sideview mirror when an encroaching vehicle is preventing your ability to change lanes. This is all fine and dandy, but eliminates the need to physically twist your body for one second to witness with your own eyes the lane beside you. What if the system gets a glitch? Furthermore, what if you drive your friend’s old car to pick up a bag of chips at the grocery store on game day and forget that a 1992 Geo Metro lacks a Blind Spot Warning system? Cars can now also detect objects and apply the brakes or adjust the suspension automatically in order for the vehicle to avoid striking them. A simple solution is to turn around and look out the window. You can also keep your eyes on the road. Those aforementioned analog techniques have proven themselves effective for decades. The reliance on technological advancements that require symbiotic relationships between machine and driver is a very precarious phenomenon.
Parallel parking is an art that should be mastered by all drivers. Not only does it fortify the driver’s skill tool belt, but parallel parking will also impress the object of your romantic desires and win you more dates. Driver-assisted automated parallel parking systems vacuum the fun and excitement out of this classic pastime. Why even drive a car at all? If you’re that much of a vapid, useless drone that you need to rely on your very own vehicle to park itself, then I have several solutions for this predicament: there’s the subway, bus, taxi, bicycle, rollerblades, skateboard, feet and friend with a car who actually knows how to park his own car. Any of the aforementioned methods of transportation are not only better for the environment, but they prevent a moronic buffoon from assaulting public parking garages with ample servings of stupidity.
Then there’s the touchscreen LCD. This is perhaps the most deadly integration of technology within the automotive industry. It’s hard enough to eat a footlong sub, apply makeup, sip coffee, send text messages and do your taxes behind the wheel, but now drivers can extend their iLives by interacting with a tablet in the middle of the dashboard. This is great news for motorcycle riders like me who already battle aloof and brainless drivers in monstrous SUVs who swerve about the road like figure skaters on uppers. I’m sure Angry Birds games during rush hour will help everyone avoid accidents and operate at the pinnacle of cognizance. In my opinion, anything with a touchscreen should be checked at the glovebox of an automobile and an automatic license suspension should be mandated for drivers who use touchscreens while on the road.
So that’s it folks. It’s been a while since my last rant, but the stupidity in the automotive industry is ever expanding and I couldn’t take it any more. What say you all? Are these technologies bogus or not?