I recently bought a new car. Well, it’s new to me, even if it is nearly 12 years old. I got it in Wales, where car prices are much less ridiculous than in this part of Scotland. You can get a much better one for the same limited budget.
It’s the same age as my old Ford Fiesta (it hasn’t travelled anywhere near as far) and I only really changed because of where I live. I need higher ground clearance and occasionally four wheel drive if the steep dirt driveway is wet. Yet it has more buttons than a button-based thing made out of buttons and I’m still working out what they all do. There are some I might never press.
It also has all manner of strange indicators. One, at least, is so pointless as to be potentially dangerous.
Yesterday, while driving at my normal sedate and leisurely pace (CStM need not comment here) along a country road, the car started to slide. While I was engaged in not crashing, which the car managed really quite well despite a hairy few seconds of steering, the dashboard beeped and lit up a little light. So while dealing with a skid, part of me had to wonder what was wrong with the car. What was that warning light?
No time to look at it, no time to study the tiny image. When I had the car under control again the beeping stopped and the little light went out.
I had to drive home at a ridiculously low speed, almost within the speed limit, because I thought the warning light meant something had gone wrong. Was there a fault in the steering?
No, it turns out the car has a ‘slipping wheels’ indicator. If it skids, a little light comes on and a warning beep sounds. And I thought… well, I can’t tell you what I thought because that would get the blog rated ‘not suitable for children or the delicate or pretty much anyone’.
Really. It has a warning to tell you when the thing it’s warning you about is actually in the process of happening. What the Hell is the point of that? I knew the car was skidding. I was driving it at the time. I was in the process of dealing with it while the car whined at me ‘We’re skidding’. I KNOW!
That kind of indicator is beyond superfluous. It’s a distraction while you’re dealing with a problem. It could really prove to be dangerous. Still, at least I know to ignore it in future.
The trouble is, I see it as the ‘Tobacco Control effect’ in my car. If it keeps telling me about things I don’t need to be told about, or things that don’t matter, I will ignore it.
Then, one day, it’ll try to tell me about a real problem and I’ll ignore that too…
I have the Haynes manual for this car now though. Let the meddling commence 😀