Are drivers really that bad?
I asked myself this question over and over again this weekend after seeing two commercials aimed at viewers of various sporting events.
The first one pitches the 2014 Infiniti Q50, which apparently has the ability to “see” accidents ahead that aren’t in your line of sight.
When I was training for my license 13 years ago, we learned to give four seconds of space to the car in front of us, because that’s how long it takes a human to realize he needs to slam the brakes.
I had neither a cell phone nor brats in the backseat, so I was always driving with full attention (unless I was belting to one of the three CDs I kept on my tape-deck player: CCR’s Chronicle, Weezer’s self-titled debut, and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon). So I felt comfortable cutting this time in half, in my infinite teenage wisdom.
But I’d always honor the full four seconds when I was behind a windowless vehicle like the truck in this ad, since you can’t see through it. Our protagonist, however, thinks putting her family in harm’s way is going to get them to their destination faster.
I mean, look at this still – she’s not even a full car-length away from the tanker. Many people actually think this is acceptable, and having such a feature certainly won’t deter them from doing it.
The second spot, for the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander, is all about the features that make rubbernecking easier because when you’re driving a three-ton SUV with your child in the backseat, you shouldn’t have to worry about not taking full advantage of schadenfreude.
“But we believe there are better ways to be safe, like KEEPING YOUR EYES ON THE DAMN ROAD.” FTFY.
If these features actually do make the road safer for all users – not just for the ones in the vehicle – then I’m all in favor. But here it seems they’re being hawked as ways to make distracted and careless driving easier. And it scares me to think that many buyers of these vehicles will accept that invitation.
After all, driving is a huge responsibility. It shouldn’t be “fun” – especially not if the “fun” puts innocent lives at risk.