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Old 10-20-12, 06:31 PM   #1
iheartbacon
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The root cause of distracted driving

I have figured out the root cause of distracted driving, cars today are easy and boring to drive. Drive an older car with a lively engine and a manual transmission and you'll see the difference. It doesn't even have to be that old, one of my last cars before going car free was an 89 Renault Alliance. That car was a hoot, nice gear box and a lively little 4 banger that put out less than 100hp. It was great fun revving the hell out of that car and rowing the gears while zipping in and out of traffic. It had 4 wheel independent suspension and it made me feel like a race car driver at a whopping 35mph. The fact is it's more fun to drive a slow car "fast" than it is to drive a fast car slow. It had power nothing except for the brakes. No power steering even, for entertainment I had an AM/FM radio that would spontaneously change stations. It was great, no distractions kept my eyes on the road and my mind focused on the task at hand.

On the other extreme I've had the pleasure and privilege of owning and building several vintage muscle cars. A couple approached 500 horsepower. When you're driving classic American iron, with classic American suspension and brakes, with more power on tap than some semi's your attention is definitely focused on the task at hand. Especially if you get caught in rain with DOT slicks and drum brakes. State of the art in 1968 is wholly outdated today. Forget about talking on your phone, with both feet working pedals and one hand on the wheel and the other hand on the shifter doing anything but driving is virtually impossible. Even with a Bluetooth the cockpit noise is enough to loosen the fillings in your teeth.

In the middle fall trucks, I've had a few muscle trucks, they're squirrely at best with little to no weight over the drive tires and a ton of power under the hood. It was easy to get careless and get sideways through a corner. Big 4x4's present their own set of challenges as the truck gets higher and the tires get bigger. Towing a heavy load with a 460 and a 5 speed in the 3 dimensional driving this area offers requires constant thought and attention. You'd better be looking a ways down the road to be safe.

So what we need is cars that are not boring to drive, if drivers weren't bored they wouldn't need distractions. We need to get back to simple cars that are fun to drive. Once the driver is actively engaged in the process of driving they'll be less distracted.
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Old 10-20-12, 07:40 PM   #2
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"Spoiled lazy American driving automatic transmission" - Smug Euro accent
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Old 10-20-12, 08:11 PM   #3
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"Spoiled lazy American driving automatic transmission" - Smug Euro accent
Pretty much, drive a Toyota Camry. The damn thing will put you to sleep. With adaptive cruise control you don't even have to touch the brake when you hit traffic!
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Old 10-20-12, 10:30 PM   #4
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I have a 2001 Subaru Outback with a manual transmission. It's not a sports car but it's fairly snappy and responsive. I don't even like to hunt around for a radio station while driving it, much less look at my phone.

Sometimes at work I drive one of the company vehicles, either a Ford F150 or a newer Toyota 4Runner, both auto trans. It doesn't even feel like driving. I'm just sitting in a flying chair. Way too easy to drive these and fiddle around with gadgets.
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Old 10-20-12, 11:54 PM   #5
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I bet folks would stop driving distracted if we replaced the air bags that protect the driver with sharp knives.
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Old 10-21-12, 08:26 AM   #6
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Maybe it's just me but I drive a hell of a lot more these days. More time in car= less time to do other things= more temptation to multitask.
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Old 10-21-12, 08:29 AM   #7
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I agree there are too many "creature comforts" inside of a car that make driving way too easy.

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I have figured out the root cause of distracted driving, cars today are easy and boring to drive. Drive an older car with a lively engine and a manual transmission and you'll see the difference. It doesn't even have to be that old, one of my last cars before going car free was an 89 Renault Alliance. That car was a hoot, nice gear box and a lively little 4 banger that put out less than 100hp. It was great fun revving the hell out of that car and rowing the gears while zipping in and out of traffic. It had 4 wheel independent suspension and it made me feel like a race car driver at a whopping 35mph. The fact is it's more fun to drive a slow car "fast" than it is to drive a fast car slow. It had power nothing except for the brakes. No power steering even, for entertainment I had an AM/FM radio that would spontaneously change stations. It was great, no distractions kept my eyes on the road and my mind focused on the task at hand.

On the other extreme I've had the pleasure and privilege of owning and building several vintage muscle cars. A couple approached 500 horsepower. When you're driving classic American iron, with classic American suspension and brakes, with more power on tap than some semi's your attention is definitely focused on the task at hand. Especially if you get caught in rain with DOT slicks and drum brakes. State of the art in 1968 is wholly outdated today. Forget about talking on your phone, with both feet working pedals and one hand on the wheel and the other hand on the shifter doing anything but driving is virtually impossible. Even with a Bluetooth the cockpit noise is enough to loosen the fillings in your teeth.

In the middle fall trucks, I've had a few muscle trucks, they're squirrely at best with little to no weight over the drive tires and a ton of power under the hood. It was easy to get careless and get sideways through a corner. Big 4x4's present their own set of challenges as the truck gets higher and the tires get bigger. Towing a heavy load with a 460 and a 5 speed in the 3 dimensional driving this area offers requires constant thought and attention. You'd better be looking a ways down the road to be safe.

So what we need is cars that are not boring to drive, if drivers weren't bored they wouldn't need distractions. We need to get back to simple cars that are fun to drive. Once the driver is actively engaged in the process of driving they'll be less distracted.
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Old 10-21-12, 08:40 AM   #8
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What exactly are you jokers advocating?
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Old 10-21-12, 09:05 AM   #9
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What exactly are you jokers advocating?
Steering wheel spikes, no dash padding, no airbags, no seatbelts or headrests, no collapsible steering columns...
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Old 10-21-12, 12:04 PM   #10
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Steering wheel spikes, no dash padding, no airbags, no seatbelts or headrests, no collapsible steering columns...
I believe some of these jokers ARE serious about their anti-motorist (counter culture) proposals, and in turn are recognized as flaming silly boys by the general public and not taken seriously at all about any issue.
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Old 10-21-12, 01:14 PM   #11
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I believe some of these jokers ARE serious about their anti-motorist (counter culture) proposals, and in turn are recognized as flaming silly boys by the general public and not taken seriously at all about any issue.
Yeah, there's that... A motor vehicle black box might be an alternative, but that would get the 4th/5th amendment adherents frothing at the mouth.
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Old 10-21-12, 01:21 PM   #12
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What exactly are you jokers advocating?
That we return to the good old days when a 30mph crash would likely be fatal. Give the drivers some incentive to be careful. I'd say more than half the vehicles I've owned in my life were old enough to not have seat belts. It sure made me pay attention to what I was doing.

I would call this thread tongue-in-cheek, but we can get serious if you want.
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Old 10-21-12, 01:30 PM   #13
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I suggest that one look up the term 'moving meditation' Any repetitive activity (which includes cycling and driving) can induce a state where one is distracted...

If your aim is to eliminate the distracted operation of any vehicle, the only course of action is to eliminate the human operator...
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Old 10-21-12, 01:55 PM   #14
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How about a shock collar for driver's ed students? You make a mistake and zap. Keep making the same stupid mistakes and the voltage gets turned up. For the real hardcase's 5 minutes alone in a room with a traffic cop that just spent all night working a gruesome accident scene.
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Old 10-21-12, 01:58 PM   #15
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It is not the cars. It is the roads that are to good. Designed for 80 mph and the speed limit is 55. Go back to gravel or start adding potholes and bumps to the road. Then the drivers have to both slow down and pay more attention to what they are doing. As an added plus, since the drivers would be going slower the accidents won't be as severe, which mens fewer fatalities.
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Old 10-21-12, 02:06 PM   #16
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I don't even like to hunt around for a radio station while driving, much less look at my phone.
Every motorist should be like this!! Great ethic!!!

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Sometimes at work I drive one of the company vehicles, either a Ford F150 or a newer Toyota 4Runner, both auto trans. It doesn't even feel like driving. I'm just sitting in a flying chair. Way too easy to drive these and fiddle around with gadgets.
While I don't have a drivers' license, I do recall, when I was a teen, sometimes riding in my aunt's Toyota Camry and thinking how simple an automatic transmission seemed to drive. Almost too easy.
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Old 10-21-12, 02:08 PM   #17
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How about a shock collar for driver's ed students? You make a mistake and zap. Keep making the same stupid mistakes and the voltage gets turned up. For the real hardcase's 5 minutes alone in a room with a traffic cop that just spent all night working a gruesome accident scene.
Excellent idea!!!!!
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Old 10-21-12, 02:10 PM   #18
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What exactly are you jokers advocating?
What are you advocating?
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Old 10-21-12, 02:22 PM   #19
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I don't know if it's so much the 'older' cars, but the mentality I see far too much is people expect to be able to multitask behind the wheel, and vehicle manufacturers keep adding more gadgets to help people do so. I'm all for safety systems (anti-lock brakes, rear-view cameras in vehicles with poor rear visibility, and the like), but I hate convenience features which seem to lead many drivers to not think.

I have mixed feelings about blind spot warnings on side-view mirrors. To me they're a sign that drivers decide not to turn their heads, even knowing their cars have blind spots. All-in-one dash systems are a huge pet peeve of mine. The same monitor needs to be navigated via a series of menus in some cars, to access navigation, stereo systems, vehicle status indicators, etc. "But that's OK! The car has sensors that will brake automatically if I'm about to rear-end someone, so I don't have to look at the road. OH S*** I drifted out of the lane!"

In short, I think drivers need to stop taking everything for granted. Safety features are wonderful, but safety starts with the driver.
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Old 10-21-12, 03:04 PM   #20
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Excellent idea!!!!!
Thank you sir.

I will now regale you with a true drivers education story. Years back when I was living in Boise I taught the neighbors kid how to drive. Her parents were workaholics and didn't have time. They had bought her a POS minivan to drive. After a couple of lessons it became obvious she had no respect for the power of a vehicle or how dangerous it was. With her parents permission I took her down to the "Run What You Brung" night at the dragstrip. I strapped her into my Mustang and dumped a helmet on her head. She was scared ****less after the burnout and when the light turned green she started screaming. I purposely got a little close to the wall (her side of the car ) and let the tail end hang out. For me it was 11 seconds of sheer bliss, for her it was an 11 second look into terror she couldn't comprehend. When she finally stopped screaming and crying I said "Now you know what it feels like for other people when you do something stupid while driving". I still keep in touch with her parents and she is a model driver. Very safe and courteous. Scared straight works.
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Old 10-21-12, 03:22 PM   #21
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What are you advocating?
That bicycling advocates don't come across as juvenile morons.
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Old 10-21-12, 03:33 PM   #22
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Mandatory ride alongs with EMTs for new drivers wouldn't hurt. Maybe then they would understand and remember the consequences of hazardous driving.
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Old 10-21-12, 04:26 PM   #23
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I think you ae all way off base. I think the true cause of distracted driving is the wealth of efficiency experts telling people how they can best multi-task. True that modern cars enable the false feeling of being in control while multi-tasking, the real problem is people feeling like they need to do two or three things at once, and that they can do all of them well enough.
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Old 10-21-12, 06:57 PM   #24
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Distracted driving is nothing new. Long before the advent of cell phones and texting people were eating out of fast food bags, headbanging to metal bands while messing with the bass on their new amp/equalizer, combing their hair or putting on lipstick in the mirror, trying to read then refold that #*&%! map, looking up "pregnant rollerskate" on their cheatsheet of CB lingo, or attempting to disentangle the cassette that their boom box just ate.

Those of you with confused looks on your faces, go ask your mother!
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Old 10-21-12, 07:07 PM   #25
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How about a shock collar for driver's ed students? You make a mistake and zap. Keep making the same stupid mistakes and the voltage gets turned up. For the real hardcase's 5 minutes alone in a room with a traffic cop that just spent all night working a gruesome accident scene.

This could be fun, But add in to all cars a System that asks a simple question (give it like 20k worth of questions) and if you don't answer correctly with 30 Secs it assumes you are distracted and politely zaps you back to attention .

Oh we can dream
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