Monday, 9 July 2012

Automatic for the People

According to a recent 'fact' I heard on morning television (so it must be true), nine out of ten new drivers learn to drive in an automatic car. They can't actually drive a manual.

Now, I know I've gone on about this before, but I don't consider sitting in a seat and looking out of the window occasionally, so as to know where to steer or turn on the windscreen wipers (although some cars do that for you autonatically too), to be driving.

The breakfast show interviewed an 'expert' about this issue. He claimed that one in ten people like driving and they probably drive a European car. The other ninety percent just want to get from A to B as quickly and comfortably as possible. If they don't have to change gear or worry about the clutch pedal, they can enjoy their coffee more.

I'm sorry, what? Aren't they meant to be driving? Aren't there places where you can pull over and stop for a rest and a coffee if you need/ want one to break up the journey? Are you going to say they prefer to have their hands free so they can do their hair or play games on their i-Phone?

This is the unfortunate legacy of the dreaded multi-tasking; the scourge of the twenty-first century. We expect to be able to do more than one thing at once, which is fine if you are watching morning television and eating your breakfast, folding the washing, getting dressed or cleaning your teeth.

But when you are driving, you are supposedly in charge of a potentially lethal weapon and you should be giving it your full attention.If you have to remain alert to choose which gear to use, then so much the better. If you can't drive a manual, you can't drive.

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