Steering You Right with Sharon Peters: Straight and Steady

2013-09-18T08:00:00Z Steering You Right with Sharon Peters: Straight and SteadySharon L. Peters CTW Features nwitimes.com
September 18, 2013 8:00 am  • 

Q: We test drove an Acura RLX that supposedly steers the car back on course if it goes over the center lane. How does it know we’re off course?

A: It detects or “reads” painted lines or reflectors. Lest you be lulled into false security: if you’re on a road with no painted center line, or one that’s almost invisible from fading, this function won’t work.

Q: I’ve been driving for decades, and the level of driver skill has degraded badly in the last 10 years. I think it’s partly because of the cutbacks in drivers education in schools and also because drivers think they don't need to pay attention to driving because they have 12 airbags and anti-collision radar and besides that, the time they have to spend driving cuts into social media time.

A: I suspect all of us agree that people don’t drive as well or as courteously or with nearly the focus they did 10 or 20 years ago. The reasons are many and probably debatable, and I think they’re not exclusively vehicle-centric. Many teachers say more students are unruly and self-absorbed than in the past; many employers (and consumers) say many employees are lazier and more self-absorbed than a decade ago; most flight attendants and passengers would say the flying public is more churlish, ill-behaved and self absorbed than in previous decades; and the list is endless.

To your particular points: Studies have found little evidence that formal driver’s education effectively improves safety (that may be because of the one-size-fits-all approach of most driver’s education, and partly due to the factors studied and methodology employed by researchers).

And, somewhat oddly, even with all the distractions and bad driving behavior, deaths from traffic accidents have dropped dramatically in the last 10 years, according to a recent USA Today analysis. Most credit the ever-evolving safety equipment in cars.

All that said, I do think the sense of personal focus and responsibility behind the wheel has diminished mightily, and technology is some part of the reason.

At some point soon, carmakers will run out of technological add-ons to keep the stupid and self absorbed from maiming themselves and innocents in their paths.

Where do you stand on this matter? Let me know.

© CTW Features

What’s your question? Sharon Peters would like to hear about what’s on your mind when it comes to caring for, driving and repairing your vehicle. Email Sharon@ctwfeatures.com

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