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Driving in the 1960’s vs. Driving Today: A Study in Distracted Driving

Distracted driving kills, just like drunk driving kills.

Driving requires concentration and focus. Today’s cars and our mobile technology try to shift our driving focus away from the road, and on to some type of screen. Lots of beeps, lights and vibrations to get us looking anywhere but on the road.

What would it be like to go back in time, and drive in an era before cell phones, touch screens in cars and Android Auto or Apple Car Play? Let’s take a look!

Driving in the 1960’s

No cell phones. That means no calls, no emails, no texts. No beeps, vibrations, emails or temptations to check on your social media feed while driving. No opportunity to play a video game while driving. Texting while driving would not be a thing.

There would be more tactile buttons in your car to feel and to touch so that you can change controls. This is quite important. Trying to touch a flat touchscreen is difficult compared to hitting a button, or turning a fixed dial or knob in a car.

There are many auto manufacturers who are trying to go completely buttonless. While this might be really cool, it’s not necessarily really safe. Finding that setting without the use of physical buttons, knobs or switches will take your eyes off the road. If you know where the buttons are set, you can easily give them a press or a turn without taking your eyes off the road.

Driving in the 60’s isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

Virtually no vehicles on the road were equipped with today’s modern safety features, which save lives and prevent injuries.

There will be no ABS brakes. There will be no side curtain bags. There will be no heads up displays, no blind spot monitoring systems, no adaptive headlights, no collision warning systems, no night vision, no automatic braking, no adaptive cruise control, no rear cameras, and fewer vehicles will have air bags or snow tires. In contrast, instead of snow tires, some vehicles will have chains on their wheels to guide them through the snow and ruin roads (yes, that was a thing!).

The vehicles on the road will be super heavy and are built like tanks. This is great from a quality perspective, but they are also loaded missiles when they collide with anything else in their path.London-Head-Shot-Brian-Goldfinger-201x300

When it comes to navigation, there is no Google Maps or Ways to help you get to your final destination. You will need an actual paper map (yes that was a thing too!). Expecting a driver to read a tiny little map and navigate while driving is virtually impossible; yet people tried to do it. It would be safer for a driver to pull over to the side of the road and take a long hard look at the map. If you have a navigator to sit in the front seat with you, then you’re one step ahead. But if you’re alone, good reading that map and driving at the same time. But people did it.

It wasn’t the law for people in the 1960’s to wear their seat belts while driving, or while in a car. Seat belts weren’t even standard equipment in the 1960’s! Imagine purchasing a seat belt as an option on your car today! Seat belts weren’t “cool”. And because fewer people wore seatbelt, when there were accidents, the injuries were more severe. Seat belts save lives and can prevent very serious injury from happening. But seat belts were a thing back then. They certainly existed. But they just weren’t worn by as many people as we see today.

Driving in the 1960’s also meant fewer cars on the road. Fewer cars means fewer accidents. That’s just the way things work. More cars = more accidents.

Driving Today

Driving today can be great.

You car is equipped with far more sophisticated safety technology than the cars from the 1960s. Your car likely has snow tires, airbags, ABS brakes and all sorts of crash warning systems. Even if your car is involved in a crash, there is an automatic SOS signal which can go out to the police, ambulance or fire notifying them that a serious accident has taken place.

Your car has cameras all around so that you can have better visibility.

There are lights and beeps going off all the time to alert you of a potential hazard. Your car can slow down on its own if a crash is imminent.

When it comes to navigation, you don’t need to take your eyes off the centre console screen to look at a paper map. In fact, the directions you need to go can be announced from an on board computer.

Your vehicle might have a heads up display so that you don’t need to look at the centre console or any screen. You can just keep your eyes fixed on the dash and the road ahead of you.

But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows driving today.

There are more vehicles on the road. Some very big. Some tiny. There will be more people to share the roads with which increases the chances of an accident.

But the most difficult temptation for all motorists is the temptation and distraction of the smart phone. For many, the car is a sort of mobile office or conference room. We are making calls, sending emails, responding to texts, or inputting the address of a destination into our phones so that we can get where we need to go. Perhaps we are doing a quick search to find out what shops are open nearby. The point of smartphones and many apps on those smartphones is to attract your attention. While these smartphones are wonderful tools which can make our lives easier; they can also serve to accomplish the exact opposite.

Since the advent to increased popularity of the smartphone, you would be amazed at the amount of cases which have come to Goldfinger Injury Lawyers as a result of distracted driving. In each of these cases, it becomes abundantly clear that the car accident could have been avoided if the Defendant had simply stayed off his/her phone and concentrated on the task at hand; driving.

So with this great elephant in the room; would you rather drive a vehicle in the 1960’s or today? Let us know!

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