Remember life before smartphones? What did you ever do while waiting in line without a scrolling feed of content in your hand? The same can be said of driving without traction control, navigation, and voice commands. It sounds crazy, but so many of us rely on these features that we have to ask: could you survive driving without modern safety tech?
Blind-spot detection, back-up cameras, parking assist, lane assist, adaptive cruise control and collision warnings are all designed to add safety and convenience to the driving experience. However, more often than not, these are used as crutches while folks only pay partial attention to the road ahead. They’re all relatively new, yet they’ve become the norm—unless you drive a car from the previous Millenium.
Some like Nissan’s rear seat alert system now warn you to check and make sure you don’t leave anything like groceries, or a child, locked in a hot car. An older vehicle won’t tell you that—the full weight of responsibility falls on you without a computer-assisted safety net. And many will argue that’s how it should be.
The fear can be quite real when you look around at modern cars sharing the road and see nothing but foreheads facing down at a screen instead of the roadway. It makes you wonder how many modern drivers would immediately wreck if they suddenly didn’t have all this active safety technology looking over their shoulders.
I’m already accustomed to life without these features in my ’97 GMC Sierra pickup, but I see how it affects other drivers every day. Maybe I should just be glad their cars are better drivers than they are.