Maybe Gran Turismo 5 Could Fix The Driving Problem
I'm sure this changes depending on where you are in the country, but there are some spectacularly bad drivers in my neck of the woods. It's just...obscene.
And when I say "bad," I mostly mean incompetent. Perhaps it's a combination of massive over-medication and prescription drug abuse and an aging population, and nothing more. They've also made it so a well-trained dog can get a driver's license now, and the way they make cars these days, they're basically idiot-proof. ...and yet, the idiots somehow find a way to do the stupidest things imaginable.
This is why I think driving simulators should, in some capacity, be used in testing people for driver's licenses. I'm dead flat serious. Nothing too strenuous; we don't have to be racing professionals, so you don't have to spin a perfect Nurburgring lap to pass, or something. But it would really help to give people a better idea of what to do in case of various emergencies, and I think it would give drivers an overall better feel for the vehicle. That's probably the biggest problem: everyone seems to suffer from a surprising lack of feel. They just have no clue what's going on.
Things are just getting worse and worse. I don't think I've been behind a single solitary person in the past week who actually knows how to merge. Isn't that on the test? Or is that something else they took out to make it easier? You have to match the speed of the traffic flow, people; your car doesn't magically shoot from 35 to 75. You're not driving a Ferrari but I absolutely guarantee it can do 75 and it needs to do it before a hundred vehicles going 75 have to radically change their course to adapt to your incompetence. But it doesn't end there...
Slowing down to go up a hill in the snow. Turning left to right (and vice versa), as if a Hyundai Accent has the turning radius of a semi. Keeping a constant speed appears to be a nigh-on impossible chore. I mean, it just goes on and on. A driving simulator would at least make them more comfortable; I'm almost sure of it. I also firmly believe it would cut down on the instances of panicking behind the wheel. More often than not, people in cars that start to slide do the worst things imaginable. They stomp on the brake (feather it, or don't touch it at all), wrench the wheel, or worse, do nothing and throw their hands up. Slides are relatively easy with minor touch, especially with all the safety stuff most cars have.
The pluses are endless. You could learn how to drive better in bad weather conditions, how to drive better in heavy traffic, how to drive better at high speeds (is it my imagination, or is everyone driving around like they're catatonic?), and how to achieve better overall control of the vehicle. You could even have them train with whatever they're actually driving; if they've got one of those front-wheel drive pieces of crap (the American public was lied to in the promotion of that mechanic, by the way), they can learn why they won't be able to steer if their rear end begins to spin. That's just one example; a simulator should be able to simulate most any situation.
I'm very serious about this. It's not a joke. Given the technology we have today, why not? The Army uses simulators and that's life and death on a daily basis. This is just for the sake of better drivers. Insurance companies should embrace the idea...
3/23/2012 Ben Dutka