Connected Cars Get Us More Disconnected

By Antony Powath

Cars nowadays are a real treat to the eyes and driving is a pleasant experience. The features of the latest cars are amazing. Almost everything has become automatic. You can reverse a car by looking at the info-media screen instead of twisting your neck, you can hear a beep if you are getting too close to any foreign item at the rear of the car, and if you have those really expensive cars, you just press a button and the car parks by itself. It is truly amazing.

The number of people buying cars with automatic transmission, instead of manual, has increased all over the world. Now you have cars with digital side view mirrors that can make you see the blind spots that are currently invisible with the conventional ones. Cars recognise gestures and you can open the boot without touching it and can put your shopping bag in the boot easily. Cars have integrated the driver’s mobile into the infotainment screen. The driver can make calls, send SMS, change music, view maps etc. All these lead to two main issues:

More expensive cars with equally expensive aftermarket parts: All the new gadgets in the car come with an extra price tag. They come with extra sensors which are expensive to procure as they have to be precise in their measurements. Also with ride sharing being more prevalent, vehicle manufacturers are coming out with new designs and features to keep drivers more attracted to enjoy the experience of driving the cars.
Decrease in driver’s sensory skills: We have been taught at a young age that we have five sense organs – Sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. However, recent studies prove that we have more senses such as time, familiarity, sense of balance and many others. In one way or the other we use some of these senses while driving. Increase of new gadgets reduce the driver’s ability to drive with full concentration.

Of late distracted driving causes more accidents than over-speeding or drunk driving, and others. The new crash creators include reading or replying to an email, sending SMS, looking at WhatsApp etc. The driver loses the sense of time and surroundings which lead to these major accidents. It just takes a split second for the accident to happen. When that happens, and if it is fatal though unintentional, the net result is finito.

The automotive companies are right and we are grateful that they make the cars easier and safe with better driving experience. There are various campaigns also that tell us not to get distracted while driving. However, in the end it all comes down to the driver and how he drives the car. Drivers should be more vigilant than ever as it is easier to get distracted from the wheel. It is important to buckle up
and drive but also be circumspect while driving.

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