4 Reasons for the Death of America’s Car Culture
Auto designs today are a far cry from the raw Shelby Cobra, venomous Dodge Viper, and classic Chevy Corvette — all dynamic designs of their day.
February 8, 2013 - 7:00 am
1. The Infiltration of Technology Has Killed the Act of “Driving.”
Americans have evolved from “car people” to “computer-in-the-car people.” The car has become an extension of the computer and, subsequently, has lost some of the characteristics that made it an automobile.
Before computers, drivers had to be in tune with the car, understand its quirk and know how to compensate for them when driving. One had to be aware of tire pressure, oil levels, and any minute differences in handling that might indicate a problem; you also actually had to drive the car. Today, your car notifies you about everything that could possibly go wrong in the engine bay and cabin, and even compensates for you in bad weather or uneven terrain. The driver is merely a warm body sitting in one of its seats. The driver could hardly be called “master and commander” in his own car; the car’s computer knows more about what is going on in and around the vehicle than the driver. Americans enjoy the car beeping in cascading metallic tones, giving light shows on the dashboard, and automatically turning on systems and switching some off, while the driver sits on the hand-stitched-leather perch. The thrill of driving isn’t the draw to cars any longer (technology can now drive for you!); it’s the cool features you can get in the car and the ease of allowing the computer to do everything. Technology is planning a coup d’état against the human driver.