Tuesday, January 16, 2007

If It Told You To Drive Off A Cliff, Would You?

Over the last few months, I have read a few reports of drivers who have ended up in very precarious positions (not like a compromised politician, mind you) because of their satellite navigation systems. If it helps, you can picture cars hanging off cliffs, cars in the middle of lakes or cars driving through senior citizen homes with all of the confused drivers scratching their heads wondering how the heck they got there. The latest, according to Reuters, was in Germany where a man ended up on railroad tracks after his navigation system told him to turn in a direction that put him on the tracks.

That’s where we as ‘fellow motorists’ have to be concerned. We are all driving around in our little cocoons practicing our defensive driving techniques while cars are swerving all around us doing solely what their satellite systems tell them to do. It sounds like a scene from a bad comedy. I can imagine that the cars are all narrowly avoiding collisions with each other through no cause of their own. Are these drivers only looking at the satellite display with no awareness of where they are or what’s around them? I’d say yes.

It is an obvious assumption to think that when the satellite unit tells us to turn left that we’d look left prior to making that turn. Apparently, that is not what is happening. Instead, drivers are turning left and looking up to discover that they have driven through a beauty parlor in the middle of the afternoon and have ruined gossip time for 2 dozen biddies. Oops!

Perhaps just as presidential candidates are busy starting ‘exploratory committees’ to see if they should run for president (do you think any of these ‘committees’ are going to come back and say that someone shouldn’t run for president, like they really should?), we should form a committee to see how to improve satellite navigation systems. According to this committee, adding only one feature to navigation systems would solve all of the problems. It’s a little warning signal: ‘Danger Will Robinson, Danger Will Robinson!’ Or how about a recording of Roseanne Barr screeching ‘you idiot, you idiot!’ You know, something simple that will get us drivers to look up and realize what we are doing.

Where is Michael Knight’s KITT when you need it? Maybe a warning device like this should be installed in every vehicle on the road to handle all of the people that read their papers while in gridlock traffic or apply their eye mascara while in the fast lane. How many times have you been on your cell phone while driving when you pull into your office’s parking lot wondering how you got there? You can be sure that the folks dealing with the wreckage left in your wake are wondering the same thing!

It seems that as our cars and the technology in them get smarter, many drivers are getting dumber. It is probably all just a byproduct of us letting our guards down under the assumption that the satellite unit will do the thinking for us. A similar thing happens when I drive with my wife. I end up in the wrong lanes, turn down the wrong street, make illegal u-turns, etc. Basically, you name a dumb mistake that can be done while driving with my wife and chances are I’m guilty of it. It happened again yesterday as I ended up in the lane next to me after going through an intersection (fortunately the guy in the Hummer next to me didn’t notice as he had drifted into another lane too, unless he was avoiding me. Gee, I hadn’t thought of that). Don’t think for a second that my excuse of telling her ‘I knew I was doing it, I just didn’t want to shock you by veering back into the correct lane,’ worked. Upon further review, it actually made the situation a little worse. Of course, that never happens when I drive by myself. Or is there just no one around to point out all of my mistakes?

Whoa, stop everything! How’d I get to Needles, California? Last time I checked I was just sitting in traffic with my mocha-double-latte-fresca-cappuccino-smoothie talking to my buddy on the cell phone while doing the crossword puzzle and blogging on my laptop. That’s so weird. I hope I didn’t hit anything…

9 comments:

Odat said...

Scarey, Isn't it? I get lost in my own head and don't remember how I got where I was going (just once or twice that is)...and isn't it funny that we don't make any mistakes when we're driving alone...I wonder if the satellite system will yell at us? Great post...again!
(PS I never use my phone or put on makeup while i'm driving)..
Peace

Michael C said...

Odat: I believe you. After all, I've only put my makeup on while driving once. Did I just type that? Uh-oh! Seriously, it was a KISS concert!!!

Pickled Olives said...

I've never been in an accident (knock wood) But I have seen plenty of them in my rearview mirror.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

now michael honey, who are you calling a biddy? sigh.... we slightly older ones get blamed for everything, just because we like our left blinker on and all. personally, i sometimes use the right blinker just to keep 'em guessing, then i turn left and laugh and laugh!! keeps charlie regular and keeps the laxative bills down, see? smiles, bee

mist1 said...

When I start to panic, I always hear, "Kitt, keep it together" in my head.

Really.

ShadowFalcon said...

How much would you pay me?

Are you suggesting Kitt isn't real?

R2K said...

Dumb asses.

Natalie said...

I was reading about this phenom this morning. People are stupid. Then again, I hear that one car (lexus?) parallel parks for you, I could really use one of those. I think another car wakes you up if you doze off, that feature sure would have saved my little red mobile R.I.P my friend.

Lizza said...

Haha, funny post, Michael! Didn't know you were such a talented multi-tasker.

Can someone please invent a teleporter?