Let’s be clear.
This is an opinion, and we’re not talking about specific technology which improves a car's overall safety such as ABS brakes, aluminum or high-tensile steel or engineering breakthroughs which have, in some instances, been able to generate greater horsepower, torque and vastly improved mileage.
No, this is about “nanny” features, many of which are included in modern-day vehicles almost as though they are intended to impress drivers with just how “clever” designers and engineers are.
The technology and the names for some of these features are remarkably similar from manufacturer to manufacturer. However, much like the days of Betamax and VHS (ask someone older than 45 about those two), there is often little consistency, which can be extremely frustrating if you are a business traveller renting cars all over the world.
So, in no specific order, here are some top pet peeves in vehicles today:
Distracting warning systems
Warnings issued either through the vehicle’s steering column or seat alerting you that you have made an error (as judged by your vehicle’s on-board computer) can be very distracting, at best. These "errors" include cruising too close to other vehicles or entering another driver's blind spot after a lane change. Seriously?
Driving takes thought and concentration. The ability to react to conditions is crucial. Cross a dotted line and receive admonishment from an inanimate object? Next!
Rain-sensing windshield wipers
Rain-sensing windshield wipers, when active, are harmless most of the time and generally do adjust to water on the windshield. But as soon as you need to quickly run the car through the car wash, deactivating this feature before the powerful jets destroy your precious rain-sensing wipers becomes a most confounding task.
Can we not judge for ourselves when wipers are needed? Again, does 4,000 pounds of multi-computer controlled steel and plastic have better judgement than you?
Blind spot alarms
Blind spot warning systems are designed for either lazy drivers or those with their necks fused medically.
Cars have three mirrors. All are necessary and perform a function in the safe operation of any vehicle. Set your seat and mirrors in just the right position – and there are no blind spots. Ever. Sure, you may have to turn your head, even lift your backside off the seat, but it’s not that big of a deal. Is it?
These are just some of the top offenders. Sure, features like umbrellas hidden inside door panels or even leather-bound radio dials are outrageously unnecessary. The difference is that those extras don't attempt to relieve the driver's duties to be alert, adapt to changing driving conditions, or safely share the road.
Does your car have a useless feature that you want to share? Tell us in the Comments section below.