June 13, 2014

The Beeping Rain

I have been driving my new-to-me SUV for just over two months now.  I am generally pleased with it, though it has had one significant repair for an issue that wasn't evident until I drove it for a few days. But, it was covered under the warranty, so all I lost was a couple of hours of my time.

This vehicle is eight years newer than the one I traded in.  There have been many technological and mechanical advances to cars in that eight years.  Not all of them good.

My 'new' ride has both front and rear 'parking aids'.  There are sensors in the bumpers that detect the proximity of objects and warn you by a series of beeps.  The rear aid includes a camera, which is pretty nifty.

The front parking aid was a novelty up until yesterday.  It is activated anytime the car is in any gear other than park or neutral, and the car is going 8 MPH or less.  I had learned that it's incessant solid-beep tone began to sound long before the front of the car was in danger of contacting anything else.  It had become slightly annoying in the school car line, as it would sound each time someone walked in front of my car.  But, that was for three minutes a day, and not untolerable.

I had also noticed that when stopping quickly on a downhill incline, the alarm would sound.  The result, I suppose, of the nose of the car dipping a bit toward the ground.  This had also happened pulling into a sloped drive, and I had also had some false alarms when bugs managed to fly or jump by a sensor, but, again, the events were few and far between and not much to get in a snit about.

Yesterday, a blessed event happened in my town - rain!  I have driven this car in the rain, but it has been a rare event, and I believe it was mostly highway speeds.  Yesterday, it was pouring as I sat in stop and go traffic and maneuvered in a parking lot.  The front parking aid shrieked the entire time.  At one point I thought that surely I must have something stuck to a sensor, or a flat front tire tire.  I got out in the rain to check, but all was clear.  It was simply the damn sensor getting set off by the large rain drops.

Thankfully I didn't have far to go, but resolved that I would pull out the owner's manual and see how to turn the damn thing off because I have, after all, been driving for three decades now, and have done just fine without the car telling me how to park.

Turns out, you can't turn it off.  Well, that isn't exactly correct.  You can turn it off each time you turn the car on, but it is re-activated each time the car is started.  This will not do.  I don't need the car to drive for me, or tell me when I am about to hit something - I am pretty good at doing those things on my own.  And, adding insult to injury, you have decided that I am not capable of determining which of your 'driving for dummies' features I can live without.  Thank you, Ford Motor Company, for taking part in the great dumbing down of American cars and drivers.


CenTexTim said...

Don't get me started. I've been ranting and raving about this issue since cars started automatically locking doors and turning on lights. Maybe it's an old man thing, but when I'm in the driver's seat I want to be in control of every damn thing that vehicle does. I don't want some microchip deciding what's best for me.

You can also substitute "government" for "microchip" in that last line.

Mel said...

#1 for CTT . Didn't you enjoy the rain?