Have you changed with the times?
Here’s a news flash; times are changing. We all know things have changed since we were much younger. For example, I have much less hair now than I did when I was in school; which is probably why I now shave my head. I run a little slower than I did a few years ago and my hearing is a little worse than it was 10 years ago. Have I adjusted to these changes? Certainly, but not because I wanted to, it was because I needed to. Driving situations have also changed over the past few years. Have you adjusted your driving over the years because of changing times?
There are roughly over 220 million drivers on North American roads and most believe they are good drivers. Have they changed the way they drive from 20 years ago when the roads were less congested? There are so many drivers clogging our roads that the governments across our land had to expand our roads. That’s awfully nice of them, don’t you think?
What about the automakers? What are they doing to make it easier to drive their vehicles? Have they informed the public about the changes to vehicles? I remember leasing one of my training vehicles and asking my leasing representative if she knew anything about ABS. She was a little embarrassed to say she didn’t. My instructor mentality came out there. I got her behind the wheel of my new car and she became my student for the next 15 minutes. I found it a little odd that she couldn’t explain the product to me, but after some thought, I realized that wasn’t her job; it was mine.
The new technology in some vehicles gives us a little camera to let us know what’s behind us when we’re reversing. There are other vehicles that let us know if a vehicle is entering our blind spot. Another vehicle will help you do a parallel park. This is progress? What would happen if these devices suddenly stopped working? Would you know how to do or check these things? Probably, but you may not realize some of them have stopped working for you until it was too late.
As a consumer I have to keep myself up to date with the changes to the vehicles. I need to learn about which safety devices are available in most vehicles. I need to change with the times. Driving techniques have also changed over the years. I remember my dad talking about pumping the brakes when I was a kid. That’s all we knew about at that time. Now, ABS does that for you and much faster too. Radial tires have replaced bias ply tires and give us more grip on the roads. No need to soften the tires to gain more grip now.
Remember what the following distance is supposed to be between you and the driver ahead of you? When I’m speaking to drivers with 30 plus years experience, they remind me that they were taught to measure a following distance by having one car length for every 10 mph they travel. The problem with that technique is that it allows you to only look just ahead of your vehicle. Problems developing a few cars in front of you will go unnoticed if you use this technique. A better technique is having a minimum of 2 seconds of space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. In order to react to a sudden stop, you’ll need time to see brake lights, time to respond and move your foot from the gas to the brake and then time to stop your vehicle. This space changes size when your speed increases, but as long as you leave a minimum of 2 seconds; you’ll have enough time to respond. The key word here is ‘respond’. Increase your space in front in poor weather or if tailgated.
Having airbags has changed where we keep our passengers. When I was a kid I was able to sit in the front seat of my dad’s car. Now, because the power that an airbag deploys, I need to keep my kids in the backseat. This is to protect them. People who may have a difficult time with this, need to remember to adjust to the changes we have with our vehicles. Kids can be injured or killed if airbags go off. Let’s keep them safe and keep them in the back until they’re over 12 years of age.
The bottom line here is to make the necessary changes with the changing times. I’d like to relive my youth, but I know that’s not possible. Changing with the times will keep me and my passengers safe and up to date within the 21st century. Hopefully, we haven’t changed too much.