I often observe behavior on the road and try to use that behavior to better understand the driver behind the wheel. What does it say about a person when they’re weaving from lane to lane without signaling? What does it say when they don’t notice that the light has turned green? What does it say when they’re content cruising along at exactly the speed limit? I find human behavior to be fascinating and seeing how we interact on the roads is certainly a unique glimpse.
It occurred to me a while back that despite how well coordinated drivers have to be with one another to avoid accidents and maintain order on the road, we’re not given much to communicate with. For the most part, it’s just the horn. The horn is not the most pleasant sound. When most people use it in anger and frustration, most people probably perceive it as an aggressively unpleasant sound. When our only mode of communication with one another on the road is aggressive unpleasantness, I wonder how that impacts how we drive.
So why not a secondary horn, with an audible sound that implies ‘thanks!’? I know there’s the double tap of the standard horn, but still, why not a secondary horn? No one blink screw you, two blinks for thanks, a genuinely happy sound that says I appreciate your conduct on the road. Simple mechanics, simple market research effort to determine the sound, and a meaningful step towards more positive lines of communication with one another. I’m looking at you Elon..
a long time ago, someone designed a car. It was beautifully engineered and truly revolutionary. It was so well designed that it was pretty much built to last forever.
While the car was a something for the history books, the drivers were inconsistent. Some understood the mechanics and drove respectfully. Some showed less regard for the car and drove as it suited their agenda.
Along the way, drivers began allowing for more passengers. Some for altruistic reasons, some because they paid, and some for the sake of personal relationships.
The car was built well enough to handle a few extra passengers, but as passengers increased and time wore on, key parts of the car started to wear down. All the added weight was creating excessive pressure, leading to wear on parts that the car couldn’t function without.
Some of the older passengers are looking out the window saying the car looks just fine. They can tell that the ride is bumpier but it’s hard to notice in a cushy seat. They know that car was built to last and they know it’s gotten them this far.
Those who are more familiar see that the car is unsustainable. If we maintain this rate of passengers, the car will fail. If we want to reduce the amount of passengers, we can keep the car on the road.
Ironically, we’re so focused on the survival of old reliable, that we haven’t given any thought to the new models. Technology changes everything. As great as that car was, modern technology has changed how we get from point A to point B and it’s important to appreciate those changes. There are ideas which we didn’t have the technology to pull off before but could be more viable today.
It’s dangerous assuming there’s no room for improvement. Might be a good time to look at some options. Even better, why don’t we look at what we need from our car, learn from our peers, and build something new and inspiring from the ground up.