Ross: Bringing back stick shift the best way to end distracted driving
The National Transportation Safety Board is warning us of a new danger. They call it “automation complacency,” seen in cars with safety features that are a little too helpful.
Their research is finding that the more automated the car, the more drivers tend to watch their phones instead of the road.
It is annoying when the computer-assisted steering needs you to take over while you’re trying to get through the final scene of Parasite.
So of course, the NTSB is determined to do something about this problem. But good luck.
I see only one solution, and you won’t like this, but the only way to keep drivers fully engaged is to bring back the stick shift.
“Without touching the gas pedal at all, release the clutch pedal until the car starts to move a little bit,” one instructional video states.
I remember my Dad’s old Volkswagen – the left foot worked the clutch and the hi-beams, while the right foot had the gas pedal and the kick lever for the reserve gas tank.
It kept him alert because all his limbs had something to do! Driving that thing was like playing a pipe organ.
But the best part about a stick shift — the expression on the faces of car thieves.
“Someone tried to steal this car with the key fob left inside, but apparently didn’t know how to drive the car’s manual transmission,” a reporter detailed recently, describing a failed would-be carjacking.
Oh, they tried.
“… and crashed through this door.”
Yes, they did. Problem solved.
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