I am always intrigued to see the gadgets and gizmos that people have on their cars. I love those rear-deck cameras that allow you to see just what you're about to run over or back into! (Don't try this at home, but you can always ask the driver to put it in reverse to activate the camera, then scamper around to the back bumper, drop trou and show 'em how pretty the moon is tonight!) Some cars allow you to plug your iPod - and soon, probably, your iPad - right into the sound system to jack out the hits. No self-respecting kiddie-hauler SUV is complete without twin rear fold-down plasma DVD screens so that little EmmyLou and Jim Bob can see a movie while enroute to the movies. (Heaven forbid that the children go without entertainment for 10 minutes!)
Radar detectors, satellite radio, intelligent parking assist (I.P.A.), under the grandstand (I.P. Daily), and on the Prius, Toyota offers something called the Pre-Collision Package, which is supposed to "help minimize the effects of a collision." Another thing that helps to minimize the effects of a collision is paying attention to the road and the traffic around you, instead of fooling with the entertainment systems in your car, but hey, that's just I.
This parking assist thing. Would you really sit back, press a button, and allow your car to parallel-park itself? Wouldn't you want some sort of input into the process, or would you rather just sit and sip your lemonade as the Biscayne parks itself 'neath a tree of shade? What's more American than a grumpy Daddy riding shotgun in the Rambler on some huge empty parking lot while Bud or Princess try to learn to parallel park between two upright posts - goal posts, if you will - so spread out as to allow parking for a 1962 American LaFrance fire engine? And, as I have advised countless youngsters over the years, once you pass the driver's test, you will never have to parallel park again for the rest of your life, unless you want to!
Same advice for struggling math scholars: get past Algebra, and you will never have to solve for 'x' again unless YOU want to! And this business with the one train leaving Albany at 4:18 going 135 mph towards Brattleboro...and what time will it meet the 5:27 train coming from Brattleboro...you tell your teacher there is no answer to that one, because in all of recorded history, we find no evidence of any time when two trains left their respective stations on time!
But anyway. I just thought of one more option that the new car manufactures ought to consider. We have fog lights and hazard flashers, hi-beam headlights, lo-beam headlights, parking lights, turn signals, every which-kind of light. But...for those people who sit through an entire red light, with 17 cars behind them in traffic, only to turn on the left turn signal when the light turns green...for those who pull onto a highway ramp behind you and then pull out and cut you off...for those who ride behind you for 23 miles through the pine barrens of New Jersey with their headlights illuminating the interior of your car like a crime scene...for those who pull out from a side street right in your path, only to putter along at 23 mph in front of you...for those who pull up next to you in traffic on a quiet morning playing the latest CD ("The World Is A Terrible Place Full Of Pain And Suffering") by a band of the same name...for these goofs and so much more...
How about an optional light that would look like this, for the rear window?