I understand the new cars of today feature automatic collision detection and breaking. I understand that the auto manufacturers want us to appreciate the value of these new devices. But how did we manage before all of this automation?
Their ads show a distracted pedestrian stepping out in the crosswalk and suddenly looking up as the owner’s new car automatically comes to a stop just inches away. The pedestrian and the driver exchange frustrated, what-are-you-doing? looks. There are many variations, and this is just one example. In another, a family man is driving out of his driveway with his young daughter beside him when the car abruptly stops short, just in time to avoid another car speeding down his suburban street.
My question is, How did we handle such situations? Did the pedestrians dodge us? Did we come to our senses and swerve in the nick of time? Did we have continual close calls?
Maybe, just maybe, we drove anticipating what could happen. Should I look before driving out onto a street? Is that distracted mother with the baby carriage going to cross in front of me? Is that other car going to stop at their stop sign? I have the right-of-way, but maybe I should be prepared to stop, anyway, just in case.
That’s the way Mr. Brown, our patient Driver’s Ed teacher, taught us to drive long, long ago.