Sunday, December 14, 2014

Cars – When Is It Too Much?

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, allowing us to do things more quickly and efficiently. But too often it seems to make things harder, leaving us with fifty-button remote controls, digital cameras with hundreds of mysterious features and book-length manuals, and cars with dashboard systems worthy of the space shuttle.
James Surowiecki
James Surowiecki - American journalist
James Surowiecki - American journalist
You know things have gone too far when cars are being compared to space shuttles. Back in the 19th century, in the early days of cars, cars were simply defined as self-powered motor vehicles of usually four wheels. They gained massive popularity in 20th century when their production started to be concentrated on every day’s people’s needs. Most of the car users, i.e. buyers, live in North America, Europe and Australia. This especially applies to English speaking countries. Nevertheless, car production and development does not occur only in those areas.

Instead of greater focus on nowadays problems caused by cars, such as road accidents, traffic jams and air pollution, developers often concentrate on comfort provided by a vehicle a little bit too much. Comfortable seats are, for example, luxury but also a necessity for long distance drivers. However, putting TVs in cars, having special cup holders along with so many functions regarding radios, navigation systems and so many other car gadgets proudly participate in distracting users' attention from bigger (potential) problems.

Complicated consoles with too many gadgets
Complicated consoles with too many gadgets

No matter how great the company is, every buyer should think through a couple of things. Price is, of course, very important but not as much as the actual efficiency of the car. Looks and gadgets of a car should never be the first things considered. On the other hand, one of the most important topic is safety. Popularity of the company and higher price do not necessarily mean the best quality. Things such as air bags, ABS (anti-lock braking system) and ASR (anti-slip regulation) are crucial in emergency situations and their characteristics should be checked first. Then comes the fuel – the type of the fuel the car is using and the amount spent on certain distances. The type of the fuel could determine the price of the car very often. New, innovative fuels which are safe(r) for environment could be more expensive, however, in long terms this is often paid off by cheaper price of the recharging and protection of the environment as well. The amount spent per certain distances is usually well considered if one decides for “traditional” fossil fuel vehicles. Energy consumption and its participation in environment pollution is very important in tax charges in some countries.

ABS saves lives
ABS saves lives

Cars are not space shuttles, therefore, there is no need of mystification. Certain things are important while others are there to provide comfort to the user. When cars become luxury and not necessity, which often means their gadgets are added just as symbols of prestige, their prices are higher and their primary efficiency are quite often lower proportionally. Parking guidance function can be of huge help to fresh drivers or drivers of bigger vehicles. When it is on a MINI Cooper – its purpose does not serve as much. Gadgets are appealing but should not be considered more than a car’s primary functions. They are usually the reason for comparing a car to a space shuttle. However, when things get out of control, when emergency situations become reality, no one reaches for a fancy cup holder or looks at a cool decorative sticker on the trunk. At such moments it is more than helpful not to get distracted by so many buttons and shiny lamps on the console.