By on May 18, 2018

Mazda CX-9 blind spot monitoring - Image: Mazda

One of the criticisms of all the various pieces of technology that serve as driving aids is this: They make it too easy for drivers to fall into bad and lazy habits.

I thought of this while making a lane change near my Chicago home the other day. The test car I was in had blind spot monitoring, and I made the change without turning my head, and with barely a peep at the mirrors.

It was a harmless maneuver, as no one was near me. The system worked. But I chided myself – I’d let technology make me lazy.

There’s another aspect to this – the blind spot monitoring system on this same vehicle had also been too sensitive during my time with the car. It sometimes flashed when I could turn my head and use the mirrors to see I had ample space to make a lane change. Maybe the amount of space wasn’t ideal, but it’s urban driving – a lot of people don’t give others enough space, yet there’s just enough to make the maneuver, especially if the following driver waves you over.

This oversensitivity was annoying, but may have led me to be too trusting of the system – if it was that easily activated in tight traffic, and it’s not lighting up in light traffic, then the street must be clear.

To be fair to these systems, I was a bit lazy with lane changes even before this tech reached the market. This goes back to the ‘90s, which is when I learned to drive. Back then, the only driver’s aid available on most cars was cruise control. As much as I knew I should turn my head before each lane change, I too often relied on my mirrors and my mirrors alone. I don’t recall ever getting into an accident because of this, but there were a few near misses (or near hits, as George Carlin might say).

Rear cross-traffic alert is another system that encourages laziness, but can also be mighty helpful. I did do minor damage to my ’97 Accord once in the mid-Aughts after backing out of a parking spot and forgetting to look. I got tagged and minor body work followed. So I appreciate the tech now, but does it encourage drivers to do what I did, instead of what they should do?

Adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning – are these systems making you lazy or leading to bad habits? What about ProPilot, SuperCruise, Autopilot? After all, those systems are almost fully autonomous.

What say you?

[Image: Mazda]

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80 Comments on “QOTD: What Tech Makes You a Lazier Driver?...”


  • avatar

    I don’t even like or use regular cruise control. I prefer to DRIVE myself, evaluating all the parameters.

  • avatar
    hirostates12

    Electric starters.

  • avatar
    d4rksabre

    I had to turn a lot of them off because I found them annoying. Lane departure: annoying. Forward collision: annoying.

    The infotainment screen in my car died a few months after I bought it so I never got used to the backup camera while I had it and have gotten comfortable with my car’s mirrors and modern blind spots. It’s a non-issue now. I’m going to be fixing the screen in a few weeks but I almost don’t want to.

    I refuse to use sat nav because I like to know where I’m going ahead of time. A quick look at google maps and a piece of paper and I can write down all the info I need. I don’t need some GPS bossing me around and being a distraction. My destination is on the right after the Burger King.

    I don’t know if driver assists and whatnot make people lazy as much as they makes sloppy drivers more sloppy.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    My 2010 Mazda 6 BSM is perfect. Not too sensitive at all. With my mirrors configured, it truly detects cars and motorcycles properly. The thing is, everyone’s blindspot is going to be different depending on how tall they are and where their mirrors are position.

    The only issues are concrete barriers. It will see them if the shoulder on the inside lane is narrow.

    I’m not sure of the newer systems, but the only time mine blinks is when I turn on my turn signal. It has saved my bacon before.

  • avatar
    cbrworm

    I find a lot of them annoying, but I truly appreciate adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring. And rear (or more) view cameras.

    I’ve driven a fair number of newer vehicles that have blind spots so big that you can look in the mirrors, turn your head 360 degrees and still have to pray before you change lanes. On my own cars, I typically add the ‘old man’ convex mirrors to my side view mirrors to give me a bit more visibility.

    Same thing with rear view cameras. I have had pickup trucks and SUVs that the only way to see what was behind you was to get out and look.

    Adaptive cruise is great. You still have to watch the road and pay attention, but you don’t have to +++ or — the cruise buttons non-stop. Just set your max speed and distance and enjoy.

    Beyond that, I find the rest of the stuff annoying. I leave the lane departure warning wheel vibrator on in my wife’s car, and I’m glad she has all the other nannies too. She’s only ever had one accident, and that was when a truck ran a red light and hit her mid-intersection, but when I ride with her, I always feel like she doesn’t really pay that much attention to what is going on. Between the two of us, we drive between 40K and 60K miles a year.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

      +1 for adaptive cruise control. For me it’s the perfect blend of useful tech and hands-on driving, and fantastic for long interstate stretches.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Even better bonus for adaptive cruise is traffic jams. Most cruise control functions will not turn on unless you are traveling greater than 25 MPH +-.

      What will work is the ‘resume’ feature. In traffic jams, I will hit the resume and the car will keep me the assigned spacing from the car in front even down to a dead stop. It is fascinating really. I am not as of yet as comfortable with it as some of the Tesla owners who watch movies or get into the passenger seat and stretch out. I will need to experiment with it a bit more prior to get my confidence up.

    • 0 avatar
      random1

      Another vote for adaptive cruise. I also like that it decelerates better than most cruise controls, as in, you won’t increase 10-15mph on a long downhill leading into a speed trap. For long interstate drives, it’s great.

      I don’t have lane-keeping on any of my vehicles, but I imagine that would make me lazy on long runs.

      The thing that most keeps from being a lazy driver is my motorcycle – you become acutely aware of everything, and it carries over to cars.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Don’t care about blind-spot monitoring, as I would only use it as a final check before moving over, after checking the mirrors and turning my head! (Though I HAVE become very used to the LaneWatch camera on my Accord, and I’m trying to wean myself off of it, since I’ll probably upgrade to a new Accord a year from now, which has dumped the LaneWatch camera for a blinking light in the mirror, in addition to the V6…!)

        Arguably, the one thing I don’t do as I should is turn my head while backing (unless I’m in a parking lot or backing onto the street), since my backup camera presents a wider field of view than I can see by looking out the window; you can actually see what’s directly behind the vehicle, which makes parallel parking a no-brainer!

        With adaptive cruise, you have to be aware of what’s in back, and be ready to override it if the system grenades the brakes without a hazard in front!

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    Most drivers aren’t very engaged in the task of driving to begin with and driver aids cause them to be even less engaged. Perhaps those who require this kind of assistance should be taking mass transit.

    But the problem for me personally is that not only is all of this tech highly annoying, I really won’t have a choice about it much longer. Almost every new or updated vehicle comes with it standard – even on base models. And that’s exactly what this smartphone-adled world wants.

    Turning it off? Perhaps it’s easy on some cars. With many, the convoluted excercise is designed by lawyers to make you cry uncle and acquiesce.

    And then there’s the liability factor. Remember where we live. You turn off your driver aids and a drunk blows a light and t-bones you at an intersection. You and I know the technology couldn’t have done mich to prevent it. But how difficult would it be for a reasonably competent lawyer to convince a simple-minded jury the collision was your fault because you turned off the protection that was generously given to you?

    There are a few smarmy members on this site who will say those resist driver aids would also have resisted electric starters and hydraulic brakes. That’s simply not true and they’re missing the point. I have been an early adopter all of my life. I’m not afraid of technology and innovation but, beginning with air bags, I began to have my doubts about its application in vehicle safety. A lot of lives were lost during the first generation of air bags but, again, we were given no choice – even if we always wore our seatbelts.

    The semi-autonomous driver aids being forced on us now take it to another level. And, mark my words, we’re going to eventually discover that it’s bad news.

  • avatar
    make_light

    All of them lake you lazy. I purchased a 2015 A4 in March, and it was my first car with backup sensors. I had the car for about a month (hardly any time at all), before it was hit by an old woman in a parking lot. While in for repairs, I had a rental Camry. First day driving to work in the Camry, and I nearly backed into the wall behind my driveway because there were no little beeps as I backed up, which I had apparently become accustomed to in my brief time with the A4. And I certainly do not consider myself a ditsy driver.

    • 0 avatar
      Tinn-Can

      Yeah… Trying to backup in my truck with the tailgate down made me realize how much I rely on the parking sensors and backup camera…

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        I find that the camera and sensors don’t make me lazy but you do shift your point of focus. I use my side mirrors to line up then use the camera for that last foot or two.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    My 14′ Lacrosse has radar cruise control and blind spot warning systems. Surprisingly, I really like both set ups. The radar cruse helps me to keep my road rage in check while in traffic and the blind spot monitor light on the mirrors, from a safety stand point, one of the best advancements in safety in recent years.

    Where I find all of this to be problematic is when I exit the Lacrosse and climb into my Suburban. I have found myself coming dangerously close to jamming a bow tie into the trunk of a left lane bandit cause I was thinking the cruise control would notice. One has to be on their toes if they go from one car with the safety features/drivers aids to a car without. It is shocking how quickly you will retrain your brain with the features present.

  • avatar
    Loser

    Back up camera.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I have to do a lot of street parking when in Boston and camera is real help.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      The backup cam hasn’t made me lazy, because I still use my mirrors – it just helps you see EVERYTHING behind you. No matter how many mirror adjustments you make both my vehicles (a small sports car and a midsize truck) have sizable blind zones. The view out of my 350Z is basically a mail slot. To date its the only vehicle I’ve actually backed into something with.

    • 0 avatar
      ptschett

      Is it though?
      On my Ram 1500 the backup camera looks straight at where the trailer hitch connection would be. I grew up on a farm and spent a fair amount of time both as the towing vehicle driver being coached into positioning the tow vehicle correctly relative to a trailer, and also being the coach guiding the driver into the right position; it seems to me it’s a nice value adder to make it easier to position a tow vehicle correctly relative to a trailer without needing a helper.
      On my current Challenger I opted for the backup camera because my previous Challenger didn’t have it. One day I needed to park somewhere different than I usually would have parked at work, misjudged where I was and backed into the base of a light pole, breaking the bumper cover. The backup camera option on the new car was cheaper than the repair was on the old car.

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

    Around 2001-2002 I picked up the potentially dangerous habit of not turning to look behind me while reversing, as my job at the time had me driving either Econolines lacking rear windows or Tacomas with solid shells over their beds. On the flip side, I did become proficient in using the side mirrors to compensate.

    Now more than 15 years later and long removed from that job, I still have to make the conscious effort to actually turn around when backing out of a parking space, versus using the side and rearview mirrors exclusively. Backup cameras both help and hinder this effort, as combined with a quick mirror scan they’ll *usually* reveal any obstacles behind you. Usually.

    Same goes for cross-traffic detection, too. These systems will tell you what you need to know a solid 95% of the time, but you MUST be mindful of that remaining five percent. I’ve gotten better at this, but still catch myself “cheating” too many times for comfort.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man – I don’t tend to shoulder check in my pickup when backing up because like you, I spent most of my life driving large van conversions and pickups with canopies with poor or zero central viability. I even drove my dad’s gravel trucks.
      In some vehicles, I automatically will shoulder check but not usually with my truck or other large vehicle.
      A real long time ago, I got into the habit of always backing into parking spots since this is much safer with vehicles with poor rearward viability. I’ll park headfirst only if I have no other choice.

  • avatar
    St.George

    Automatic transmission

    Power steering (hard to avoid that one though!).

    I like cars that are intrinsically good and have what I consider the bare minimum of equipment (air conditioning, power locks, decent sounding stereo). I don’t want in-built nav but now Apple/Android interface for nav functions is moving up the ‘must have’ list.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      I was going to say the same thing.

      The last time I went from a manual transmission to an automatic, my driving attentiveness took a dive. The auto – especially with a Toyota 2.4L engine – made for such a snoozefest experience that I began to get really lazy at driving. Lot more looking left and right at things that interested me instead of keeping my eyes on the road. And bad posture with a wrist on top of the steering wheel.

      It was good to get behind the wheel of a manual again – good sitting position, eyes on the road, and becoming “part of the car.”

      edit: none of my current cars, newest being a 2012, has a touch screen or anything beyond cruise control, ABS, stability, and traction control. That’s about as techy as I like to get. But I know this is going to get more difficult with time, finding a simple vehicle without a lot of tech whiz-bangs.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheatridger

        Manuals are nice that way. They encourage you to look well ahead and assess what’s coming up. A hill? Up, or down? With or without a curve? So which gear will I need? Bicyclists know this instinctively, and that transferred directly to the kind of low-powered manual cars I learned on. I miss that.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Autonomous braking. I just let off the brake before coming to a complete stop. It’s fun, and it works most of the time so why fatigue my right leg after a hard day at the office?

    Both of our vehicles are 2016 and the newest safety tech on either is a backup camera. The camera has made me a bit lazy, sometimes I don’t check over my shoulders as thoroughly as I used to.

    Apparently I’m now old and yelling at clouds because I never once wished that my car would hold my hand and soothe me during a simple lane change. I view most of it as efforts to mitigate the poor driving habits of a disinterested populace, and the bad sightlines of modern vehicles.

  • avatar
    arach

    I’m going to be honest..

    Having a car with all these nannies has made me an AWFUL driver.

    I almost die any time I drive another car. I forget to brake, because my normal car brakes for me. I don’t pay attention when I switch lanes, because my normal car checks for me. And I let my mind and eyes wander while I’m driving because my normal car protects me.

    And while you are reading this thinking “OMG TAKE AWAY HIS KEYS”, I’m going to be honest with you and tell you I would have said the SAME THING before I got this car. I didn’t intentionally turn over my life to my car, but you naturally do it. After 30k miles of the car ALWAYS working… always braking… always maintaining safe speed… always catching cars in your blindspot, I subconsciously gave up control over it.

    I don’t recognize it until I get in a normal car. Heck when I drive my wife’s car, sometimes I stare at the keys wondering what I’m supposed to do with it… and I get within seconds of plowing into the car in front of me because the cruise control doesn’t brake… its scary.

  • avatar
    gasser

    +1

  • avatar
    SlowMyke

    My Lincoln’s backup camera has made me a little lazy. I noticed while driving my Jeep, which doesn’t have a camera, that i instinctively look at the radio when i put it in reverse. I realized what was going on and have since made it a point to use my mirrors and windows, saving the camera for situations that i really need the extra view point.

    The only other advanced safety tech i like is a cross traffic warning because when you drive a sedan, it’s difficult to see around all the damn crossovers. It’s nice to have a little extra warning for when someone is speeding through the parking lot, which is always. That said, my cross traffic alert gives many false positives, so i have to take it’s warnings with a grain of salt. Thankfully it hasn’t missed and hazards, or if have to just turn it off all together.

    I ignore blind spot monitoring. If i have to look at the mirror to see it, why wouldn’t i just look at the mirror instead? I don’t have forward collission or auto braking, and i never want those. I had forward warning on a Cadillac and it gave false positives, which really suck when you’re not expecting urgent beeping and flashing red lights in your face. And auto braking? No thanks, never. I pay attention driving and I’ll keep control of my braking, thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      I haven’t driven a car with any of these features yet, but rear cross traffic alert is something I look forward to trying for exactly the reason you mentioned. Even the more reasonably sized crossovers tend to have tinted windows, so I don’t get to look through them either.

      It makes a good case for always backing into spots, as others have mentioned. That might be interesting in a crowded lot with someone glued to my bumper also looking for a spot. Makes me think of the Seinfeld episode where George argues with someone who tried to park on the street nose first.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        I freak out when someone’s on my backside in a parking lot because I get ticked if I’m behind a doofus, and I don’t want to be the doofus! I’m afraid I’ll make a decision before I can safely evaluate alternatives, in order to ensure a good outcome!

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Long years of habit make this ‘laziness’ irrelevant since if I initiate a maneuver, I still twist my neck around to see first hand. At worst, I actively use my side mirrors, which are enhanced by smaller spot mirrors to specifically cover those blind spots.

    However, the more these cars do things for people, newer drivers will rely on the technology; not so much being lazy as having never needing to rely on their own senses first. And of course, this is why full autonomy is eventually going to become mandatory, as the average driver will never learn how to drive safely in manual mode.

  • avatar
    Goatshadow

    No driver aides here, unless you count ESC, or hill start assist. That one still requires focus to use, in order to properly clutch out of the brake hold.

    Sometimes I long for a smart backup camera like I have seen in others’ cars, with the squirmy lines that follow your steering inputs.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      My current car has hill start assist, though I didn’t know it when I bought it. It’s definitely something you have to learn how to take advantage of. After almost 20 years without it, the rolling of the car became part of my timing with engaging the clutch.

      The first time I backed out of my inclined driveway the lack of forward roll was disorienting to the point that I returned to neutral and reset the parking brake so I could ponder if my brakes were somehow seized on the rotor.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      I think the squirmy lines are overrated. My wife’s vehicle has them and I prefer to back into the garage visually. I’ve tried using the lines but the car never seems to be where the lines say it should be. They create the illusion that the lines are an exact representation of the sides of the car, and I don’t think that’s the case.

      At least on the early W212s (2010-whenever E class) Mercedes felt the same way; the camera had no lines despite most cars of similar vintage using them. I don’t know if they stuck to that decision or caved to market demand.

      I like cameras to verify the area is clear of kids, pets, obstacles, etc; however, if visibility is still good enough I would rather not use the lines.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Interesting.

        On my Accord, the moving guidelines allow the driver to place the vehicle just about perfectly, and I’ve driven multiple vehicles with their system, and all are as good. (Almost look like I know what the heck I’m doing while parallel-parking!)

        As I stated above, the view is better to the rear via the camera for me, because I have never been able to determine exactly where the rear of my car is, and have always erred on the side of caution, if not ridiculousness, when backing and parking! (And yet, with my last car, I managed to back into a bar which was backstopped by a porta-john that was being used by my siding contractor, and which I would have seen had I been able to see what was behind me below the level of the rear window!)

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          It’s more the corners of the car and the mirrors that I don’t think the reverse lines help with (the outside lines showing the path, not the hash marks indicating distance). The camera shows a clear path to the garage, but my eyes show a good chance of giving the car Camry corners or taking a mirror off.

          I agree that the camera is a big help in judging the distance to obstacles directly behind the car but below rear window height.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Backup beepers are such a convenience that when I drive a car without them I end up stopping two feet shy of the obstacle for lack of practice.

    Blind spot monitors are useless most of the time, correctly adjusted mirrors have no blind spot, but I’ll admit that they’re nice to have on a rainy night.

    Cross traffic warning is useless all of the time, I back in to park and you should too.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      I’m usually too far away from the curb out of fear for the low-hanging bumper. I wish my parking sensors did a better job with finding parking blocks and curbs. They go crazy when obstacles directly ahead are still two feet away, but will definitely let me scrap the bumper cover on curbs/blocks.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    My aftermarket Mobileye system makes me more careful about lane positioning and clearance from cars ahead. In fact it comes with an app you can use to track your progress.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Since my left eye went bad almost 15 years ago, the laziest I could be as a driver was using cruise control on the open highway, and with recent eye surgery on my right eye and undergoing a very long recovery process, I can’t afford to be lazy at all.

    I’ve only recently resumed very limited driving around where I live, and I make an awful lot of right turs, going out of my way to do so.

    Glad I’m retired…

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Steering rack; one should aim the wheels by hand, individually, whilst in motion. And let us speak not of the abomination known as power steering.

  • avatar
    srh

    Backup cameras: I used to maneuver my 22-foot long CC/LWB F-350 like a pro; people were amazed at howe I could back into spaces in a parking lot, parallel park, etc… Now with a backup camera I’ve lost some of that skill and, when the backup camera isn’t working (dirt, snow, rain, etc…) I am a much less capable maneuver-er.

    Adaptive Cruise Control: I love it. 95% of the time. 5% of the time I’m approaching a slower vehicle from the rear and right as I start to change to the left lane to pass the ACC hits the brakes. I’m sure the people behind me love that.

    The real dilemma is that the tech differs from car to car. If you only ever drive one car I suppose that’s fine. You get used to it, easy peasy. I move among 3-4 different cars and they all implement stuff differently. So I’m always trying to figure out Ford vs Nissan vs BMW tech. Like many, I generally opt not to use any of it.

    Except that backup camera….

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I use BU Camera exclusively for parallel parking. Otherwise you will see me looking into rear window or side mirrors.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I use everything, including the camera, when reversing. I usually use the camera just to ensure I’m taking the middle of the parking spot or not about to hit another vehicle while using neck and all three mirrors to maintain spacial sense around the vehicle.

  • avatar
    HahnZahn

    Browsing the responses, I see a lot of the usual technophobic comments. It makes me wonder where most of these commenters live. If I was still in the rural South where I grew up, I might not feel a need for any tech aids other than cruise control for those multi-hour stretches on Interstates where I could go full-blast without ever having to slow down.

    I now live in San Diego. Traffic here is better than LA, but objectively is still usually never “easy.” I’ll take every bit of tech I can get to help make my commute less stressful. Adaptive cruise control is the best option I’ve ever had. My car keeps track of my average speed when I reset the odometer, and it’s usually 20 or below. ACC takes a lot of the fatigue out of the slow highway commutes during rush hour. Lazier? Maybe. But certainly less stressed. And forward collision detection makes it not quite such a white-knuckle exercise to simply change lanes.

    I can’t wait for self-driving cars.

  • avatar
    ptschett

    Being in a steel cage that balances itself on four wheels and has crumple zones and door reinforcement beams, when you could be out in the open on two wheels feeling the warmth of the engine between your feet and needing to assume that all those 4-wheelers (even the 3-pedaled ones that have drivers needing to do slightly more interaction with their gearbox) are out to get you.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      Being a biker has made me a much better driver. (Got started late, been riding for three years, just moved up to a GSX-R750)

      It’s amazing how much more I notice when I’m behind the wheel because I spend time riding.

      I feel like a lazy cheat when I drive a car, compared to the mental effort and restraint I need to ride one of my bikes.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    I’m grateful for all the low-speed aids in my 2017 Ford C-Max: cross-traffic alert, radar distance warnings, even self-parallel parking. The Blind Spot Warning is almost useless, because this design has almost no blind spots. But the others really matter, as recent events have proved.

    The tall, blunt noses of today’s cars impede visibility of what’s close by around the car. Meanwhile, parking lot designers are finding more and more places to place ever-taller curbs. Have you ever seen two curbs sticking straight out from the entrance to a convenience store, marking handicapped spaces? I didn’t, as I was pulling my low-clearance car away. I backed out, not quite far enough, and when I pulled ahead, the car ran aground like a shipwreck. That’s when I started shopping for my next car, and the very day I was to pick it up, parking lot lightning struck twice. Backing my wife’s car out of a supermarket’s diagonal spaces, my path intersected with that of a work truck doing the very same thing from the opposite aisle.. Only a taillight was busted this time, and I did the repair myself. The trick’s point of contact, a bumper-mounted anvil-vise, wasn’t damaged at all.

    Cross-traffic radar would certainly have warned me of the work truck. Forward distance radar would probably have warned of the unexpected curb, though I haven’t been back there to check it out. I appreciate that my new car offers extensions of my own senses in the tight, ever-changing environment of a parking lot. I’m even leaning to trust the self-parking feature, though it’s frightening- I think it cuts too close!

    But don’t even talk to me about self-driving cars yet. That’s something else entirely.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Really, any technology that makes it easier to drive a car risks making us lazy.

    There’s a balancing point where you make something too easy to do and people just phone it in.

    I figure my life is actually pretty easy and that any problems I might think I have are really just my own character flaws.

    Some things don’t need to be improved.

    A synchromesh, overdrive manual is perfection, but a rev-matching unit with hill assist is going too far.

    Driving a car is mostly attitude, skill and depth perception.

    Learn how to heel-toe, parallel park, engine brake, start on hills, drive on snowy roads and so forth and nearly all driving aids become unjustifiable.

    Get a feel for when to firewall the pedal and when to back off, and you’ll be fine.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Cell phones.

  • avatar
    redrum

    I’ve got blind spot monitoring on my car but never use it (I honestly couldn’t tell you whether it’s even working anymore, my mind has completely blocked it out). I’ve found it’s much easier and more accurate to simply adjust your mirrors to completely eliminate the blind spot, and use your own judgment as to whether there is enough room to change lanes.

    I also have a back up camera with cross traffic alert, which is great, but you definitely have to understand the limits of the technology in order to use it properly. It also definitely throws me for a loop for a second when I drive someone else’s car that has neither.

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    I’d say power steering and automatic transmission, because BOTH of them allow the driver to not plan ahead. Far too often I see drivers with power steering react (overreact) by jerking the steering wheel to get on course. Instead, drivers should anticipate where the car needs to be headed and load up the wheel steadily. Same with transmissions; instead of just waiting to get into a situation and hoping the transmission saves your bacon, drivers should anticipate and be already in the right gear when the moment arrives.

    In short, each “drive aid” allows the driver to become mentally lazy, not planning ahead.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    The “magic fingers” setting on my driver seat coupled with the “gentle rain” loop on satellite radio. I pulled out of my driveway in Syracuse the other day and woke up in Scranton.

  • avatar
    Rick Astley

    The single biggest thing which makes people lazy is that they do not feel they will die in a crash. Take away peoples air bags, crumple zones and survivability and you will instantly have attentive drivers. People jumping in their 2.5 ton death-dealers with perceived impunity from the world causes lazy, self absorbed, distracted, low-skill drivers… DUH!

    My list of tech which makes people lazy drivers, as observed from owing 4 cars (’41 Ford Super Deluxe, ’61 Ford Thunderbird, ’91 Civic wagon 4wd, ’05 Acura TSX).

    1. Disc brakes (knowing you can die in a crash modifies behaviors)
    2. Independent front suspension (not joking)
    3. Blind Spot monitoring systems
    4. SUV’s
    5. automatic transmissions (this is also a major contributor to traffic slow-downs, IMHO)
    6. cruise control
    7. Air bags
    8. Air conditioning

    • 0 avatar
      nelio2k

      Curious to why auto causes traffic slow downs?

      • 0 avatar
        Rick Astley

        a few reasons:

        – Automatic creeping once brakes are released causes over-abundance of brake lights in medium/high density traffic, generating a traffic wave (doubly so with disc brakes as they allow people to tailgate much closer)

        – No compression braking exaserbates the problem of following distance on inclines
        – Allows hands to be free for phone usage, make-up/shaving, slapping children, eating, etc.
        – Leads to a lack of understanding for corner entry and exit speeds. Pointless and needless trail braking, or mid-corner braking (always makes me laugh when a 4wd vehicle is mid-corner braking because they felt any lateral g-forces)

  • avatar
    nelio2k

    I’ve been sticking with standard transmission all my life. I’d say my latest car has Hill Start assist, and that just about throws me off. My mechanic called me old school when I said that I’m used to using e-brakes on the hill.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I can touch up with no rollback on any hill. In fact, I am so good at it that I don’t get pissed by hill assist in my newest mazda edition. You can still make it rollback if you … I forgot… push brake again? Basically, there is a sequence under which your car can roll. I forgot what is is in mazda.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I can touch up with no rollback on any hill. In fact, I am so good at it that I don’t get pi$$ed by hill assist in my newest mazda edition. You can still make it rollback if you … I forgot… push brake again? Basically, there is a sequence under which your car can roll. I forgot what is is in mazda.

  • avatar
    road_pizza

    The only driving aid I use is cruise control, my DD doesn’t have any others, and I only use CC on the freeway when there’s little traffic. I prefer to stay sharp at all times while driving.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Using CC keeps you sharp. You don’t have to put any thought into keeping a consistent speed, letting you put more focus on looking ahead.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    My cars have no nannies so I don’t know what makes me a lazy driver. Probably, AT would but I have 3 MT and 1 AT so, I don’t get to enjoy laziness too much.

    On Wednesday, however, I was privileged to drive a fully loaded to the gills 2017 Lexus NX 2LT. This is was good test for me. I drove for over 4 hours in total that day, on the highways and on country roads. The weather was cloudy/rainy. First, I immediately switched off P))) button because it beeped me into madness. Then I’ve got to enjoy yellow signals in the mirrors. Now, if I was not moving into a different lane they didn’t bother me much. But when I was trying to get around cars in tight situations, and I was looking into mirror to identify safe position for a move, they blinked right into my eyes and did more bad than good (Like if I didn’t see the car). Now, the Lexus touch-pad – this is the worst thing I experienced in a car since column-mounted manual transmission. The navigation also made this beeps, exactly like ones in airplane – beep – please fasten your seat belt. Basically, I am really happy to have no nannies and perhaps, turning your head is not so bad, it is a form of exercise. I think, these devices turn people into useless blobs.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Automakers don’t understand user interfaces. They’re trying, but they haven’t figured it out yet.

      • 0 avatar
        markmeup

        With all the makes I’ve been in and out of… I’d honestly say, I think Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge’s Uconnect interface is by far, better than all the rest.

        On top of the great touch-screen setup and available feature personalization, you also have just the right amount of physical knobs/buttons to do what you need to do when behind the wheel.

        I’d say it’s evident that they put a good amount of research & thought into the system.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    I’m going to go for a non-obvious one: sound insulation. Most modern cars from the compact class and up are so well insulated that they remove you from a sense of connection with the vehicle.

    This creates the expectation that driving is a comfortable experience and removes you a step from the responsibility that driving is still a potentially injurious activity.

  • avatar
    brn

    Whatever tech that allowed them to build my Taurus such that it’s smooth, confident, and quiet. Can fall asleep in the thing at 90mph.

  • avatar
    mchan1

    Con:
    Push button start.

    If anything happens to the remote fob, it costs ~$400 for EACH new fob including labor to reprogram it to your car.

    How about just using a key and insert it then turn to start the engine?

    Pro:
    Rear camera.

    Many sedans nowadays are made with long, sloping ends because it’s aerodynamic. That creates a problem because you can’t really judge the distance from the rear bumper center to an object before hitting it.

    Even a basic rear camera lets you see a relatively wide view of the area behind the car including the right/left rear sides so you know when a vehicle is coming up behind you, esp. when you’re surrounded by CUVs/SUVs/Trucks!

  • avatar
    markmeup

    thought I’d check in and add a few thoughts here…

    Park Sense: well, plain & simple, I love it. Seeing that I had it on for 15 years on rear bumper of my WJ JGC, I couldn’t imagine ever being w/o it now. That it runs across the rear and front of my new car is a really nice bonus. My Jeep did not have the advanced cluster visuals as does the new Chrysler. I love it, one of the best safety/tech features ever.

    Rear camera: never had or used on before the new car, but i do think its great. as far as getting lazy over it, I don’t think I am, at least not yet. Maybe because I’ve been driving since early 80’s, but I still find myself actually turning my head to look when backing up or in parking lots. Not sure if ti’s habit, or distrust… or some of both. I do think it’s a great feature though.

    Blind spot detection: I’ve noticed a couple people comment on adjusting mirrors better to see who’s around you back there as opposed to relying on this feature. Well, let me tell you, I have a new Chrysler 300S, and although I love the styling, the rear greenhouse is really hunkered down with a wide sail panel. There has been no perfect mirror setup to where I can see everything I should, let alone in time to avoid an ‘issue’.

    The BSD system on the 300 works to perfection in my eyes. in regular driving, above 6mph, rear quarter-panel sensors give visual alert with a yellow triangle in the outside mirrors. If you decide to use a turn signal, you get the yellow triangles, but also an audible beep (w/lowered music level) to assist in accident avoidance. These features, along w/many more, can all be customized or turned off via the Uconnect touch screen.

    I will admit that since driving the 300 for nearly 2 years now, I no longer turn my head for the blind spot, lane-change situations. I suppose this action can go in line with this thread. I wouldn’t say lazy, but now I am reliant on this feature to do it’s work for me, especially in a 300 with such a large, low, obstructed c-pillar / sail panel. This feature has made some fundamental change in me because now when driving any vehicle w/o it, I feel like a kid that had something taken away from him but doesn’t understand why.

    I am not one for the semi or near fully autonomous features coming out now, I will always be a guy who loves to ‘drive’ and yes, control my car… but I do think park sense, rear camera and BSD are now indispensable safety tech, and I’m glad they are there to help out.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Reading these comments makes me think of the Asiana crash at SFO back in 2013. If I remember correctly, much of the crash analysis focused on pilot training and the emphasis some airlines place on training only with the instruments, with the result being that the pilots were not well prepared for a visual approach.

    Driver training is minimal as is; we aren’t going to see any requirements that drivers get un-assisted seat time. I guess certain skills erode with more time spent using assists, but many drivers aren’t paying attention with or without the assists. I think the assists do much more good than harm.

  • avatar
    SnarkyRichard

    I’d be happy with an aftermarket head unit that got both good AM and FM reception after the stock stereo in my 2006 Tacoma stopped getting good reception on either a couple of months ago . Does such a unicorn actually exist ? Traction control would be nice too on starts from a stop on wet roads on rainy days , but I’ll settle for the former and live with the latter .


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