The cars of 2015 will bring safety features we never dreamed of. Or perhaps the cartoonists, Hanna-Barbera did dream of them when they created The Jetsons. But, with that new technology and cars that literally take all of the responsibility off of the driver, will that leave us more time to do even more distracting things while driving? One of the new commercials for the Hyundai Genesis ends with this tag “Smart Technology – because you can’t be bothered to make driving your FIRST PRIORITY when you’re behind the wheel.” What the heck??

When I had my daughter in 1995, and had a wreck on the way to the hospital, I was certainly going to do my homework and make darned sure that my next car was the safest on the road. Car and Driver Magazine had always talked up the Volvo for its safety features. So that’s what I bought. A hideous “tank” of a station wagon, with a yuppie mom luggage rack and the works. I figured that a wagon, rather than a coupe would give enough space between the front, rear and sides so that my little bundle of screaming, colicky joy would be safer from an impact at any angle. And I would drive carefully over every bump with her in the car. Now I find that odd. I mean, now that she’s a teenager, I just want to drive off a bridge.

The 2015 Volvo XC90 will feature two of the “world’s first” standard safety features. A run-off road protection package and auto brake at intersection capability. The XC90 is also the first car in the world with technology that features automatic braking if the driver turns in front of an oncoming car. And, in an accidental road departure, the XC90 detects what is happening and tightens the front seatbelts. One additional new feature is an energy-absorbing material between the seat and the seat frame to cushion the vertical forces that can arise when the car encounters a hard landing in the terrain. This counteracts spine injuries, which are a frequent consequence of these impacts. Volvo has pledged that no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by the year 2020.

The latest park assist pilot that can parallel park by taking over and operating the steering wheel will be improved as well. Not that we need to use that feature often as most places have done away with parallel parking spaces. But a nice feature to have, nonetheless. When I was a kid driver, we used to call it “parallel chicken.”

So, here’s to a healthier, happier and safer new year. And many more to come … cheers!

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Smart Technology – Because You Can’t Be Bothered – Comedy Defensive Driving