Technology and Auto Accidents

Robert Scoble writes about Ford and Toyota options that add radar-based collision avoidance to your car. It’s very worth reading, especially the part about setting up the brakes to fully engage the moment you touch them when the car senses a potential collision.

Sometimes technology can save our lives. Sometimes it puts them at risk.

As I get older, I appreciate more how fragile our lives can be. Coming back from our island cabin the other day, we almost got wiped out at 60 MPH by some doofus who was texting while driving. I was behind the wheel in the carpool (left) lane with my family. There was a Jersey barrier right up against the left edge of our lane, no shoulder. This turkey was in the left regular lane. Suddenly he swerved into our lane, with half his vehicle across the lane divider (which is a normal-width lane divider, not the wide separators used in places such as California). Luckily, his rear bumper was a few feet ahead of my front bumper, and I was able to brake judiciously. Five feet further forward, and I’d have been clamped at 60 MPH between this idiot in a serious-sized panel van and the unforgiving Jersey barrier. I’d prefer not to test my airbags in this manner.

I misspoke above, intentionally. Technology, of course, didn’t put me and my family at risk; stupidity did.

At some point our cars will drive for us, at least on main highways. The Toyota and Ford radar systems are a start. But that someday isn’t here yet.

Until then, please don’t be like that selfish, self-centered driver. Don’t text and drive.

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