Advanced Handling Assistance

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If a person is unable to competently parallel park a car – arguably a basic skill – do they have any business driving one? In a culture seemingly obsessed with saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety, this question is rarely raised and almost never answered.

The answer is, of course – no.

While driving is certainly a right, incompetence is a problem. A person who mishandles a firearm is not encouraged to handle firearms, yet another tool – equally dangerous – is put into the hands of people whose hands arguably should never touch a steering wheel.

Encourages such people to “drive” – by Band-Aiding their obvious incompetence via “assistance” that in prior times was unavailable and by dint of that kept the unable off the road by making their incapacity obvious as well as a liability. People who lacked the competence to park were unable to do so – and that kept them driving around or trying to park and not succeeding . . . which served as a deterrent.

It worked very much as not being able to hold up a motorcycle or operate two different levers that control two separate functions (clutch and front brake) plus a foot-controlled lever for the gears keeps people who can’t operate them from riding a motorcycle. This serves to keep people who should not ride motorcycles from doing so.

But driving is different because there is more money in it. Because it redounds to the benefit of the car companies to get as many people driving (and buying cars) as possible, even if they can’t.

Thus, they get “assisted” – and the car parks itself. Which hides the incompetence – but only while the car parks.

How about while it moves?

Oh, there is “assistance” for that, too. “Assistance” to keep the car from wandering out of its lane because it is apparently too much to expect the driver to keep the car in its travel lane. “Assistance” when braking is necessary – and even when it isn’t. “Assistance” to maintain speed – and to prevent “speeding,” too.

There is even what amounts to acceleration assistance – a thing styled Launch Control. It is a technology designed to let people who lack the skill to “launch” a high-performance car appear to drive it expertly down a straight race track. A button is pushed and all the “driving” that’s involved from that moment forward is to hold the brake while stomping on the gas and then releasing the brake.

It makes anyone “fast.”

Which of course makes them dangerous.

Because now the “driver” believes he is fast – and not only in a straight line. He may attempt to drive fast in the curves and because there is no High Speed Cornering “Assistance” technology – yet – he may discover very quickly how lacking his skills as a driver are.

Hopefully no one else will be in the vicinity.

The false confidence engendered by all of this “assisting” explains the ubiquity of poor and worsening driving, in spite of all this “assisting.”

People driving really fast in a straight line – because the cars have never been more powerful than they are now – then panic-braking in the curves or overshooting them or cutting them wide, half their car over the double yellow and in the opposing lane.

People tailgating because they feel saaaaaaaaaaaaaafe  . . . because ABS will prevent them from rear-ending the car ahead of them – which it won’t, if there’s insufficient following distance to prevent it. ABS merely prevents the wheels from locking up and the car from skidding into the rear-end of the car ahead.

Instead it plows into the car ahead nicely on center.

ABS all by itself probably accounts for 50 percent of the increase in the average cost of insurance – now over $1,000 annually.

People who think that traction control and 4WD mean they can drive fast in the snow  – until they lose control and find out otherwise.

The same people stop on hills in the snow.

It is all a kind of Harrison Bergeron in reverse. Instead of hobbling the able the unable are crutched – but the end result is effectively the same:

General debility.

People who cannot drive because they never had to learn how, behind the wheel of a dangerous implement made more dangerous by technology that crutches debility, thereby encouraging more and worse.

Try to imagine an airplane piloted by someone who never had to learn how to calculate load/take-off math, didn’t know how to set the flaps or what “V1” meant and instead occupied a seat and pushed a button. Wheee!

Would you get on board?

Yet we are on the road with people who have as much business behind the wheel as such a person has behind the stick. 

Thankfully, airplanes – and firearms – still have their own way of dealing with people who have no business touching either.

It’s a shame that’s not the case with cars anymore.

. . .

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55 COMMENTS

  1. IMHO we have two maybe three generations of stunted growth children in adult bodies. Thanks to public skool’n allowing, nay mandating, everyone be an award winner. And mama will sue if Prissy or Jr. is not. Sorry folks, but it is too late to bring the nose up on a hard landing now.

  2. Here in Washington State I’m required to pass a special driving test and thus have a driver license endorsement to “legally” ride my motorcycle, “all about safety!”. But Jerry Atrick can head out in a monster motor home with a normal license, nope nothing unsafe about that!

    • Some things never change, no matter what state you live in. In these parts, you do not have to show that you know what snow and ice are…let alone know how to drive on it. I do not know how people in these parts forget how to drive on ice and snow in a span of three months, but they do.

    • Here in relatively “free” Oklahoma, they told me I had to get a special endorsement on my license to ride a motorcycle too. I bought my bike new in 2005 and rode it endorsement free for 10 years until I sold it.

  3. Just this past Friday I was travelling northbound on I-15 in Idaho. Just a few miles north of Idaho Falls it went from clear roads to my windshield building up ice. I started slowing from 85 mph to 65-70 which, arguably is plenty fast in freezing rain at 21 degrees. I went from the passer to passed.

    It occurred to me that I’m always the big bad “Speeder”, but interestingly I’m the only one of a dozen cars that slowed when coming upon freezing rain. The safety cultists kept right at the same speed–probably with cruise control on, always a bad idea in winter conditions–and began passing me.

    I started thinking about how so many people feel like the car will correct their shortcomings–like people that never learn spelling because of spell correct–and just how imbecile that idea is.

    I despise incompetency being encouraged. As an employer, I have seen plenty of incompetent morons over the years. After I fire them, there’s always someone willing to hire them so as to have a “warm body” to occupy a spot.

    We have become a nation of warm bodies. Occupying a slot. Trying to make enough money to “upgrade” to the next shiny piece of technological bullshit. The free shit army continues this in perpetuity.

  4. There’s a reason humanity was able to survive and THRIVE for the past ~300,000 years. Now, if one’s smartphone battery dies far away from the nearest charger, so does their brain.

  5. Eric,

    Personal responsibility is dead.

    As discussed here

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/feb/14/trump-impeachment-biden-american-rescue-plan-robert-reich

    that sage of everything wacko, Mr. Wokeness Himself, Robert Reich opines

    “It’s no small irony that a half-century after Reagan persuaded Americans big government was the problem, Trump’s demise is finally liberating America from Reaganism – and letting the richest nation on earth give its people the social support they desperately need.”

  6. Way back in my twenties, right after dirt was invented, I became a SCUBA diver. When purchasing equipment I faced a choice. There were two types of tank valves. The J valve had a warning of some kind, I forget what it did, when the tank reached a certain level of pressure, also forgotten, to keep you “safe” from running out of air. The K valve had no such thing, which is exactly why that’s what I got, because too much automated safety invites carelessness, which isn’t a good thing when there isn’t any air to breathe outside your regulator mouthpiece. Also why I don’t remember the specifics of a J valve, because I never used one. One would think that if a kid in his early twenties, who drank quite a bit and experimented with a number of unapproved drugs, can figure that out then perhaps a full grown sober adult could. Apparently not many can.

    • Thanks, MrBill!

      I’m a big fan of Mike Rowe. He’s both funny and smart and always has something interesting and entertaining to say. I gather his most recent show got cancelled for being not “Woke” enough.

  7. Airplanes, firearms, automobiles and …English???

    But what if it’s everything? Technology is a way to lever human productivity. A hammer is pretty easy to use, yet I see people hammering badly at times. We speak in languages that have clearly defined rules, put in place to simplify communication between each other. Yet every day we see and hear the most incredible abuse of English. Then if we attempt to correct, we’re labeled grammar nazis, racists or just plain old nazi. Because grammar rules are created by whites for whites, right? So now language is a living thing, subject to the whims of pop culture. Oh I can’t read Chaucer and barely understand The Bard, but the rate of today’s change is comical and criminal.

    I’m mildly dyslexic, and that makes it very difficult to spell correctly. But I feel that it made a better writer because prior to autocorrect I had to constantly rewrite sentences if they contained a misspelled word (it’s a strange sensation because I can see that a misspelled word looks wrong but cannot figure out what makes it wrong). Over time I would reach for my internal thesaurus before looking up a word in the dictionary. Now that autocorrect is commonplace I find that I’m better using phrases that are more conversational but not as elegant. Short length messaging seems to make it worse. I wonder if the rise of autocorrect and the steep decline in language are related? And what of Emojis? Will written language eventually devolve into strings of 😀😡🦄🥠?

    • Indeed, RK –

      I used to be able to write cursively. Now I can barely concoct block letters reminiscent of what I was able to do in third grade. Because I hardly ever write anymore.

      I type.

      • My father died last fall, and while going through some of his stuff, I came upon a piece of cursive writing I had done when I was about 8 years old. It was beautiful. Nearly a piece of art. Now I can barely put pen to paper and make a thing legible.

      • Sure. I have an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil bought specifically so I could hand-write notes. There’s strong research that suggests hand writing helps with recall when learning. Much of my writing was so bad at first it was worthless, but being forced to slow down and carefully form out the letters seems to be effective. Almost as if our thoughts get ahead of themselves when sitting at the mill.

        Don’t get me wrong, hand writing hasn’t completely replaced typing (as I’m typing this out over coffee). But having the option available is great, especially now that it does some basic text conversion and will act like a keyboard for any app.

        • I found the same thing. I was educated in a catholic school, and as a young adult my cursive was impeccable. Now, if I write anything in cursive, it looks like chicken scratch. I thought maybe it’s just age, as my hand is a bit shakier than it used to be, but possibly it’s like a lot of other things, use it or lose it. On another note, re parallel parking. My wife has been driving for over 50 years. Never ever had even a single traffic violation, never been pulled over and never had an accident, not even a minor fender bender. Safest and most intelligent driver I know, and yet, she couldn’t parallel park to save her life. She spent most of her life in the sticks, so I guess she never had the opportunity or need to do it.

  8. Eric,

    I’ll give you 1 assistance i can get behind. How about the car companies develop a technology that forcibly changes lanes on any car that senses more than 2 other cars passing them on the right with additional cars sensed on their rear. Lets call it the left lane dick assistance so those idiot dogooders who like to do 55 in the passing lane and purposely hold up traffic are automatically forced to the slower lanes. How many accidents per year could be avoided if people actually stayed to the right unless passing? As far as all the technologies out there i rented a Toyota Corolla once for a business trip since i refuse to be groped for the “privilege” of flying and it had the lane departure assistance. I hated it! It’s a little disconcerting when the car tries to force you back into your lane,especially when you lane is partially blocked by a semi that has drifted a little too far and your choice is slam.on the brakes and possibly get rearended, allow the semi to drift right into you or move over partially onto the median and honk the horn at the semi to get his attention. Problem is that “assistant ” didn’t like the 3rd choice and tried to show me the error of my ways and move me back into the path of the semi. After that i figured out how to turn the lane departure warning system off for my own saftey.

    • Hahaha… Antilles, am I the “do-gooder” doing 55 when the “speed limit” is 45 and you’re the guy coming up behind me doing 70? Of course, I don’t hold up traffic, and I’ll always get out of your way anyhow; I’m just curious. 😉
      Many people get into the passing lane with the intention of passing… Everyone. Which is fine, and probably why I know it more as the “fast lane”.

      • I come upon a great many driving in the left lane, that are passing no one, and looking at their lap. I think they may have discovered that driving at or slightly above the speed limit in the left lane vastly reduces traffic in front of them, so they can focus on their cell phone.

        • John,

          This is true. Lots of times when i pass a truely egregious left lane hog i like to glance over and give them the look. Normally what i see is either 75 yr old grandma oblivious to the world or 20 or 30 something head down doing everything but concentrating on the one task at hand. That is usually when you want to put some distance and cars between you and them so if there is a sudden drop in speed due to traffic you are not the first car between the traffic and the person not paying attention to the road. It’s also why i’ve been know to collect cell phones at the start of a basic rifle class when teaching the class to boy scouts. Last thing i need is little Johnny who has never even picked up a nerf gun before paying more attention to instagram than what is being taught in the class.

          • As George Carlin said, if you’re going slower than me, you’re an idiot. If you’re going faster than me, you’re an asshole!

      • The toyota i rented could turn it off. And yes i’m the guy trying.to do 70 or more to get where i’m going. I do everything i can to not pass on the right unless i have a very clear lane of travel however there are many that are not patient and will hit 80 or 90+ in the middle or right lane to get around the slow movers who insist on sitting in the left lane.

        • I rented a newer, Toyota Forerunner while my older (no safety crap car) was getting fixed early last year. The Toyota had the lane/keep assist, braking assist, and all the other bells and whistles. I turned off what I could. In these parts, we drive where the roads are clear (of ice and snow), and no one cares where the lines are. However, even with the Lane/Keep assist turned off, I could still feel the wheel fighting me. I know this “Million Dollar Question” has been brought up before. That is, who, ultimately, is liable when this “safety” stuff actually causes an accident? Especially when the driver was trying to prevent one, but could not because the “saaaaaafety” mechanisms would not “allow” the driver to do so? Good grief, I hope my vehicle lasts forever, because “newer” is equating to anything but “better”.

          • Answer: Driver. Corporation is following government orders and “trying to keep everyone safe.” Therefore, nothing is their fault.

            That’ll be $10,000,000 paid in installments for the rest of your life, slave.

          • Hi Shadow,

            You raise a very pertinent question in re liability and also in re the “safety” narrative. How “safe” is it to have a car that literally pulls the wheel in the opposite direction the driver intends? I have test driven scores of vehicles equipped with this garbage and I often imagine a scenario in which the driver is a woman or an older person without a great deal of grip strength and that plus being startled by the car attempting to jerk itself into a direction the driver does not wish to go leads to over-correction, a wreck – and someone dead.

            • I have to wonder sometimes if that is the TRUE intent of “assistance” technology; to turn as many people away from driving as possible, so that almost no one misses it once it’s banned.

              • I think the ptb got together and said, well we can’t stop these people from paying more attention to the little box in their hand than the 2000 pound missle they are operating at 65+mph so how do we limit the damage these idots can do? And they came up with lane departure warnings/assitance and active brake assitance as the answer. And as always the ptb never thought past their feel good proclomations of saaaaaftey to what happens when the driver needs to make a sudden manuver to avoid an obstacle in their lane and the car’s computer actively impedes their ability to make said maneuver.

    • Just make the driver in front at fault in rear end collisions in the passing lane. It is a passing lane and should be treated as such. It won’t take long to sort itself out then.

      There is no excuse for blocking the passing lane. None.

  9. Eric,
    Thanks for the education regarding Harrison Bergeron. I had never heard that story. I believe these concepts, both in the “assistance” technologies, and in the story, are what is meant by the “left” when they speak of “equity”. “Equity” is not equal to “equality”, wherein everyone has the same rights LEGALLY as everyone else. It’s the idea that all variables can be adjusted to give everyone the same chances in life. An attempt at that takes MASSIVE central planning, and will inexorably lead to utter failure and untold damage.

    • BaD,

      I beleive there is a saying, conservatives want equality of opportunity while liberals demand equality of outcome. Problem becomes that the only equality of outcome a centralized government can provide is equality of misery.

      • My only problem with Vonnegut is that he was adamantly anti gun. Of course coming out of a bomb shelter and seeing the desert that one of the most beautiful cities in the world had become, and being forced at gunpoint to mine bodies from the rubble may have some effect on one’s view of any kind of apparatus that enhances violence. Never the less, Slaughter House Five is probably the most influential piece of literature I read in my late teens early twenties.

        • I agree, John –

          But no one’s perfect and- as someone who admires good writing – I will always admire Vonnegut, no matter his politics. Same as regards Gore Vidal. A leftie but also a wonderful writer and a brilliant man.

          • As I can best recall, only one of his books actually expressed his disdain for fire arms. He may have and I just don’t recall. That was Dead Eye Dick.

  10. We need to remove all warning labels and signs. Disable all assistance and safety systems that go beyond the basic operational requirements of the machines. If you are too stupid to recognize your own ignorance and seek appropriate instruction, skills and understanding, shame about your self inflicted end. Well, not really a shame, unless you mange to take a few innocents with you.

    In a few generations, society and the intelligence and consideration before action of its citizens would improve greatly. IMO

    And bring back this marvelous idea,

    *Exile by ostracism; banish by popular vote, as persons dreaded for their influence or power were banished by the ancient Athenians.*

    This should be a yearly approval vote for all government office. Do your job to your employers (us) satisfaction or get exiled. OR executed. I’m good either way.

    • Hi Anon,

      I agree with you. Evidence for which is the decreasing level of general driver ability in tandem with the increased “safety” of cars over the past 50 years. Fifty years ago, most drivers could drive stick, as a for-instance . . . because if you could not, it was hard to find a car you could drive. People who learned to drive in the ’60s and ’70s and ’80s learned to drive in snow mostly in RWD vehicles… and so learned how to drive in the snow… etc.

    • Anonymous,

      Did you see the story of the women using gorilla glue to style her hair and then ended up in the emergency room? I think the manufacturer of gorilla glue posted something along the lines of,i can’t believe we have to say this but don’t use our product for your hair. I’m sure in the end the manufacturer will be liable for some 5 or 6 figure payout to this women since their product never had a warning on it to not use specifically for hair care. And expecting personal responsibility and people to use products properly has long since been out the window. Ever since the 1st ambulance chasing lawyer won a lawsuit against a deep pocket company. Its why bags of peanuts have a warning lable that says warning contains peanuts. Or a cup hot coffee has a warning that says contents are hot. Once people were rewarded for their own stupidity the floodgates were opened and personal responsibility was the first casualty in that culture war.

  11. Can’t wait until “lane keep assist” overrides someone swerving to avoid a kid that ran out into the street and steers the car back into the kid. Who’s at fault in that lawsuit?

      • I highly doubt that the manufacturers will pay a dime, because then they could just claim the NON-driver “agreed” to their “terms and conditions” that relieves the manufacturer of any liability whatsoever.

        • Try arguing that, as a megacorp, in front of a jury packed with grandmas, after someone’s little kid died.

          I don’t think that will end well for the manufacturers, in spite of their best efforts.

          Everyone is looking for the next asbestos lawsuit…this could well be it.

  12. ‘Thankfully, airplanes – and firearms – still have their own way of dealing with people who have no business touching either.’ — EP

    Traveling in Asia to discuss transport projects with government ministers a couple of decades ago, I was struck by how many came from a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) or economics background.

    Their job, as they saw it, was to improve the living standards of their people. And they succeeded in spades, often accomplishing a century worth of development in the space of a generation.

    Whereas here in America, the Biden regime is dominated by lawyers, whose professional discipline involves redistribution (with a generous cut for themselves) rather than growing the pie for everyone. And it shows.

    Lawyer Biden, lawyer Harris and lawyer Buttigieg, pursuing their insane windmill tilt against climate change, plan to implement EV nirvana by top-down diktat to the luckless kulaks.

    Meanwhile, in the ultimate admission of helpless failure to revive a broken economy, a couple of hundred lawyers in Klowngress are about to issue $1.9 trillion of kited checks. Lawyer Powell at the Federal Reserve is pledged to scarf up the corresponding landfill of new Treasury debt, ‘paying’ with thin-air keystroke currency. Print me some oil, Jerome! And a white pony …

    Like the losers and n00bs in the video above, our ‘leaders’ are endlessly surprised and perplexed that they keep producing the same spectacular wipeouts, decade after decade. ‘USA #1’ ain’t a thing no more.

    As we used to say in Arkansas (perpetually #49), ‘Thank Dog for Mississippi.’ 🙂

    • That’s definitely true. Not only are they all lawyers, they’re such terrible lawyers, they can’t actually practice law. Similar to how how failed doctor Fauci became the highest paid bureaucrat in the country and pope of the sickness cult.

      • Public service is the last refuge of the incompetent. After all, competence is no where in the list of qualification for “public service”, but the ability to lie certainly is, and near the top.

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