You can call me old fashioned, but I learned to drive the hard way, a long time ago in a country far far way.
We had but two car companies in India back in the 70s and early 80s – Hindustan Motors and Premier Automobiles. Each company had one passenger car model – the Ambassador and the Premier Padmini respectively. The Padmini was commonly referred to as ‘Fiat’, which is what it was – the Fiat 1100.
They both had steering column mounted gear shifters, a bench seat up front, a foot operated dipper (high/low beam), and a rather quirky dashboard design – undoubtedly antiquated by today’s standards. My most memorable feature – the hand crank up in front of the car. If the battery was down you used a Z-shaped handle to crank up the fan belt and rev the engine to life. Nostalgia!
Automotive safety features have come a long way from those halcyon days. Technology has taken over the dashboard and the engine compartment alike. You don’t dig your head under the bonnet (or hood as we call it states side) to figure out what’s wrong – you hook the car up to a computer.
Unfortunately , drivers have become highly distracted and dumber. Basic common sense is lost the maze of cell phone distractions and the mad rush of today’s lifestyle. The turn signal has become one such unfortunate casualty.
The other day I went to a FedEx retail store. It’s about 4 miles from my home. As soon as I got on the road from our subdivision I was following a light blue Acura. It made the same exact turns as I did, and in fact ended up at the same FedEx store. It takes 5 turns to get there. He also changed lanes 3 times. Not once – I repeat NOT ONCE – did he use the turn signal.
Every day I see tons of drivers changing lanes on the highway at high speeds, cutting too close in front of vehicles, weaving in and out recklessly, and not using their turn signals at all. It’s the I-don’t-give-a-rat’s-ass attitude that gets me.
I’ll be honest, I’ve missed using the turn signal from time to time. But I realized immediately on changing the lane that I didn’t, and made a conscious decision the next time.
It looks like self-driven cars are the future of automobiles. I can’t wait until all vehicles automatically signal a turn or somehow communicate with other vehicles of their intentions. Until then, I’d love a loud “You missed using the turn signal switch you dumb shit. Next time use some other car” prompt from the car’s console.
Oh, and don’t get me started on people driving with their headlights off at night. That’s for some other day though.