Cars are becoming increasingly nagging and at times driving me to distraction. I’ve certainly no problem with them sounding a warning when I’ve forgotten to turn off the headlights, left the keys in the ignition or made a similar mistake. Indeed, I appreciate the car’s concern for my well being and freely admit I’m silly enough to need warnings from time to time.

But why can’t the car could give a gentle warning, say two or three dings of a bell or beeps of a buzzer, then shut up? After all my hands may be busy with something else so can’t take instant action the moment my misdeed has been noisily pointed out.

Some cars in the early days of warning buzzers only sounded the alarm once, and did so in a friendly manner. Almost like a good manservant giving a quiet cough to call the master’s attention to a minor indiscretion. BMWs were particularly praiseworthy when it came to the etiquette of subtle driver warning.

The Japanese started the rot years ago when they installed warnings that sounded as though they would go on forever. Probably until the battery went flat about the middle of the next week, but I was never game enough to put that to the test.

The worst of all are the new generation of safety belt reminders. I’ve just stepped out of several vehicles that have the most raucous, irritating sound I’ve ever heard. This isn’t a polite admonition, this is full-on nagging of the fingernails-on-blackboards kind. And it gets louder the longer you ignore it.

Please note that I would not dream of driving a car without a safety belt. I’ve been using them for almost 50 years now, first doing so back in the distant days when unbelievers felt safety belts were dangerous and you were better to be thrown clear of a car in a crash (I’m not making this up!). Trust me, I never, ever, drive without them.

However, there are times when I shuttle a car in or out of a garage or move it around at a photographic location and the constant nagging from the car almost has me putting on the safety belt just to retain my sanity.

I know that there are slack people who believe they will never need a safety belt, thinking they are superb drivers with lightening fast reflexes. But why do I have to be incessantly nagged to wear the belt just because some fools refuse to do so?

As a side issue; I don’t have a problem with idiots who refuse to wear safety belts. With a bit of luck they will be removed from the gene pool by a car crash before they have a chance to reproduce. A harsh attitude? Perhaps, but I’m sure Charles Darwin would approve.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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