The Driving Challenge
With our ever-aging car racking up the miles, we decided to rent a car for our recent vacation.
Although I had been contemplating this, I derived additional inspiration recently from a friend who told me about a guy he knew who drove his vehicles until they literally collapsed. But whenever the guy went to Myrtle Beach, S.C. he rented a new car.
Not only did it make sense to consider a car that wouldn’t break down—or be replaced by the rental agency if it had—I didn’t want to add a significant number of miles to our vehicle.
The only thing that gave me pause was the possibility of getting a car that I wouldn’t understand how to drive.
After all, I tell anyone who asks me why we are hanging on to our car: “It’s paid for—and we know how it works.”
The wired-to-the-Internet 5G connectivity, cloud-searching, Amazon-ordering (or driven) vehicles taking over the road may be old hat to millennials. We senior citizens have a much harder time navigating our way through the navigational systems.
Case in point is the 70-year-old guy who works with one of our grandsons. The man’s wife had died and so, instead of sitting around alone at home to mope about it, he kept working.
One boiling summer day last year he showed up for work, drenched in sweat with an unfortunate experience to share about the new pickup truck he had purchased.
The loaded-with-options vehicle came with seat warmers. As he drove to work that morning, on came the seat warmers. That may be nice when it’s 10 or 20 degrees, but not at 90.
Naturally, he had no idea how to turn them off, so he completed the trip with the AC on high and all the windows down.
Supply and Demand
There is definitely a market for ambitious millennials willing to teach gray-haired folks how to use the airplane-like dashboards that are featured on modern cars.
If you doubt that, check out the story aired on the NBC Evening News about a Ford dealership in Massachusetts that hired teens to teach oldsters how to use their modern vehicles.
Not only did the aging drivers appreciate it, the youngsters got a handsome income stream for doing what comes naturally to them. A supply-and-demand match made in heaven, so to speak.
What surprised me was that this report aired two years ago. Not only has the time since I saw it flown by, I figure with the developments that have sprung up lately, there are even more car buyers in need of such a service.
One of these days—albeit involuntarily—I may be among their numbers.
The interesting aspect of ever-evolving high-tech machines is how each new development only increases the fragility of our existence.
For example, the reports I had seen about hackers taking over control of cars and exposing security flaws in their systems.
When I researched that point recently, I came across this story in Car News that said such news had “underreported” the fact that the hackers were researchers—not criminals—and it took them a year to gain control of the vehicle.
“They also used a hard connection, a cable plugged into the subject vehicle, in order to understand and break into the system,” the magazine said.
Somehow, I don’t find that reassuring. Human nature being what it is, I expect criminals to someday figure out how to commandeer a vehicle and wreak havoc on the owner. With any luck, I’ll still be driving some old beast.