Do you have a smart car?

The fleet cars at work are smart, I think?   But I’m wondering how dumb do these smart cars think WE are?  


I can’t see that it would even be useful for young drivers, who have a lack of experience.  Because inexperienced drivers who are looking at the dashboard instead of the road……….even us supervising drivers are told to ‘button it up’ when something is not going well, get the learner to pull over, and then discuss (ie have a a major, ‘you can’t tell me anything’ moment) while you are stationary.

New drivers need to focus….and not on the dashboard.

Teenagers and the supervising parent.  Never fun.


But teenagers are not allowed to have passengers at night in their car, because they lose focus so easily.  It’s illegal to txt or read txt while you’re driving……..does that make these cars illegal?  I think it should, they’re annoying and surely that should be illegal?



I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned before about a car at work that flashed a message across the screen along the lines of ‘Have a nice day.’   And I started to think that if it had to talk to me, then I’d like the option to set the message that the next person saw.


Now that’s the sort of thing I’d like to do!


But not long ago I was on a dirt road and taking it easy because it was corrugated with potholes and soft silty stuff around.  And as I was doing a careful U turn, knowing that drivers in our neck of the woods, drive like maniacs never considering that someone might not be travelling as fast, or actually turning.  And about half way around something orange flashed on and off on the dashboard a couple of times.


I was a bit disturbed.  Because orange is a warning colour, and already being late, and having just worked out I was lost and heading back looking for the property I was aiming for, and something orange flashes at me?  Well, I don’t need to breakdown out here, there’s no mobile reception, not a good look at all.


The most interesting thing was that the orange light was now gone.  So what had it been?  A short while further it did the same thing, on a curve, and trying to catch a glimpse of this and corner………….and you know what it was?  A couple of wavy lines and a picture of a slightly tilted car over them.

WTF!  It’s not enough that you car wishes you well as you turn it off, but now the fricking thing is…….is what?  Well, I worked out that it meant that there was a tendency to fishtail on that surface.


But you know?  If you are driving on dirt roads and you can’t tell when your car is losing it’s grip, and you have to wait until the car tells you ‘We are now fishtailing, driver.’  No, no, no!

If you are that unable to feel what the car is doing, before it does it, then you don’t need a picture on the dash – Oh honey, whilst I’m manhandling the car in a complete skid, could you look at the dash messages and tell me what’s happening?


Honestly!  There’s nothing smart about needing a piece of machinery to tell you what is happening.

Maybe they could have a simulator like that for ‘dirt road driving practise.’  A simulator, where if you take your eyes off the ‘road’ and look at the dash to see what that funny feeling of the back end of your car doing a samba means, but won’t mean that you end up in the embankment while you do it.

That would be reasonable.


But not in the d@mn car, please!  Even I, who am used to dirt roads, and fishtails, and know by looking at the road (except for black ice, of course) whether it is likely to fishtail, even I, find it hard to drive around curves, with a slight instability that you are correcting without hitting the brakes and making things worse, even I find it bluddy hard to concentrate with the dash sending out little orange SOS’s.



Please car companies.  When you are working out what is safe, what is needed, what is WANTED, even;  please, ask those who drive on those roads.  I can’t imagine who thought this stuff up, in the first place.  Not someone who wanders around the backblocks, in mobile blackspot countryside, for a living.

You need to find out what helps, not what looks good in a city office where people drive 4×4’s because it looks cool.


The latest car I’m driving for work has a green message………….no, it’s not an organic car that runs on used chip oil.  But it has a litte green sign that lights up – saying Eco.  So, what does that mean?  After driving it, I think it means that you’re using less petrol.  Being more efficient.  And, good on you!


Funnily enough that little green sign ticks me off a little too.  How freaking stupid do you think I am?  Long before this car and that green sign I had worked it out……..when you’re going down the mountain, with your foot off the accelerator you do, yes you do, use less petrol.  The little green sign never comes on when you’re going up hill.  Wow, I would never have guessed.  When you slow down for a curve or corner, you also get a green message.


Awesome!  I’m so d@mned happy that you’ve spent hours, days, and megabucks, coming up with these awesome little messages for me.


I might have been happier tho, if you had kept the messages to yourselves and worked out how to stop the car from electrifying me on a windy day.  But I’m just being picky.  Who cares about being zapped as you step out of your car, as long as it wishes you well.


Do you suppose, they will soon make a car for little old ladies with dementia?  Every 60 seconds a sign will flash ‘You are driving a car and going to…..’

And after last weekends near miss, I’d like new cars to be fitted with a device that recognises when a car is driven at speed thru a red light.  A car that flashes a message that says………….’You are a threat to human life, @rsehole.’  And one that then grabs the driver by the throat.  Yes, I could like a car like that!


Happy Trails, people.  May all your cars be chatty, may you learn to read the dashboard, and one day, may we be granted the pleasure of being able to set our own messages.  ‘No, we’re no there, yet’  could be a favourite with some.


‘Phone your mother’ could be another.  Or perhaps…………’Mum said slow down?’


Really, you could have some fun with teenage drivers who still live at home………….in the middle of the night (or early morning, because they never get up early) you could sneak their keys, change the message on their car to something really embarrassing (like ‘Have you changed your underpants?’) and then enjoy your day.

Of course, they would soon learn that an evil grin on your face meant ‘Check the messages,’  but you’d have some fun before they got as sneaky as you!


Teenagers – wow, another way to embarrass them!  Maybe this message thing could be useful after all.  Now all I need is a car message hacker to teach me how to do it.  Anyone got a teenager who might help me out?

Mine, unfortunately, know how evil I am, and will have nothing to do with my embarrassing habits!


I’m looking for a teenage dashboard message hacker, one who won’t take the moral highground 🙂


BTW I’m sorry you can’t use the comments at the moment, I just discovered this!  Techie Two will be back soon so, if you have anything to say, please pop back in and see when he’s fixed it.  Whilst I do love the sound of my own voice, I like a few comments as well!



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