Imagine South Florida with cars that drive themselves

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - No less a publication than "The Economist" is trumpeting our road warrior future. The cover this week says: "Clean, safe and it drives itself." The writer is talking about your car. Click here for a link to the story.

Imagine it. Computers guiding your car up and down the interstate, off the exit ramp and to grandmother's house you go. Automated traffic systems will someday tie into your car computer, seamlessly maintaining safe distances between vehicles. Stop and start traffic will be a thing of the past. Car crashes will plummet. Those are the promises of our not so distant driving future.

Yes, someday you will tell your grandchildren about the bad old days of driving with your own white knuckled hands on the wheel. They will give you that bewildered look as you describe:

The "maniac"...That involves the three lane, high speed crossover just yards before the exit ramp.

The "wedgie." That is when a driver cuts in front of you, again without warning, so he/she can be one whole car length ahead in the battle to get out of rush hour traffic five seconds before you do.

The "multi-tasker" who thinks he/she can drive, text, talk, email, apply makeup, and watch a movie on the built-in car dvd, all at the same time, even though their last driving competency test involved going around a stationary orange cone in an empty parking lot.

The "horn blower" who has a nervous system tied directly into the traffic light so that they can lean on the horn in the very nanosecond at which the traffic light  turns from red to green.

The "mixed signaler." This is a favorite in some parts of South Florida. It involves a driver who speeds up to beat the red light, but inexplicably slows down at the green light.

The "what left turn signal" driver. He/she is the one who thinks the left turn signal is merely optional so they roar through the intersection 5, 10 seconds after the light has indicated they should STOP.

Of course, I am barely scratching the service. No worries. Feel free to add your own pet peeves. And remember, it will be stress free traffic once the microchips are at the wheel of your car. You can stretch, nap, read, and text all you want. At least until the car computer goes haywire.


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