Saturday, 3 May 2014

Back seat drivers

I really should start by admitting that I am not a good passenger.  By which I mean that if I am travelling by car, I prefer to be the one doing the driving.  If anyone else is behind the wheel, I find that I need to bite my tongue.  The Old Bat has been driving for almost as many years as I and is a perfectly sound driver.  All the same, when she is driving I sit there with my foot itching to hit the brake or press on the accelerator, or I want to change gear.  It is with the greatest difficulty that I manage not to criticise as she cuts across the other lane on a roundabout.  In fact, I have taken to reading while she drives if only to provide myself with a form of distraction.  But that can have its problems as well.  You see, the old dear fails to see road signs.  Not always, but quite frequently.  This means that if I am not paying attention, we will go sailing past the motorway exit that we want and end up adding 50 miles or more to the journey.  All of which might be very interesting - though I doubt it - but has nothing to do with what I set out to tell you.

If you have been paying attention you will recall that I changed my car a couple of weeks ago.  I really find it astonishing how much cars change in what is really a very short period.  When I first started driving, there seemed to be very few technical advances in cars over a period of seven or eight years.  Now, I find that even two years cover some fairly major changes.  Well, they seem major to me.  There was a time when electric windows seemed very advanced, but now all but the most basic cars have them.  And then somebody invented a way to realign the exterior mirrors just by pressing a button.  My last car had an electronic parking brake that automatically disengaged when pulling away - gone was the need to balance the clutch and accelerator when releasing the handbrake for a hill start.  But my new car does more than that.  If I stop and remove the key from the ignition, the parking brake is applied without any input from me.

I have never been a great fan of satellite navigation, preferring to use hard copy road maps.  But this car has sat-nav built in.  And I have found it useful already, using it to find a supermarket in a town I don't know on Good Friday.  Mind you, now I come to think of it, sat-navs are just the modern equivalent of navigating by the stars as those explorers of old used to do, but now it doesn't matter if the sky is covered by cloud.  But I must find out how to stop the sat-nav nagging me.  (Is it simply coincidence that the nagging voice is female?)  I'm fed up with hearing someone tell me, "You have exceeded the speed limit".


Buck said...

I'm fed up with hearing someone tell me, "You have exceeded the speed limit".

Now THAT is completely unacceptable. There must be a way to defeat that. This also makes me wonder how the machine could possibly know all the speed limits on the roads you travel.

That said, the pace of progress certainly seems to have accelerated in the past few years.

Brighton Pensioner said...

I do generally try to keep to speed limits but there is one stretch of road I travel frequently where there are no buildings and the limit increases from 30 to 40 a little way ahead. i do - sometimes - find myself anticipating that increase.