Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Why I Don't Like Ceding Control To Technology

Kim Novak was rescued from a burning car by Police Officer
Tim Schwering, but the rescue would not have been necessary
had the door locks and windows not been fully electronic.
Wouldn't it have been better if the car allowed Novak to
manually open the door and escape herself? 
A news report from KTLA in Los Angeles earlier this month is more proof as to why I don't like letting technology always do the work for me.

I like my Toyota Tacoma, but the one thing I dislike about it is I have to hit a button to electronically role the windows up or down.  

Gone are the days of the hand crank.

I know, I know it's sooooo much work having to work the crank than just hitting the button.

But one day, it will rebel against you. This doesn't happen to often, but it does.

Which leads me to the KTLA story.

It involves a woman named Kim Novak who was driving down a street in Spokane, Washington and the car suddenly died. The engine caught fire. But the doors locked themselves, and the window controls did not work. She was trapped in the burning car.

In the old days, all Novak would have had to do is open the car door and get out. Or failing that, roll down the window using the hand crank and spring out to safety.

No, now, we have to die in burning cars because - technology!

On the bright side, technology ultimately saved the Novak. She called 911 and police were nearby.

Windows these days in cars seem to be shatterproof, so the 911 dispatcher's advice that the woman trapped in the car kick out the windows didn't work. They wouldn't budge.

Finally, a cop came and with a lot of work, was able to smash out the window with his baton. He and another good Samaritan got the woman out just in the knick of time, just before the car was fully engulfed in flames.

As you can see in the video, the "safety glass" almost killed the woman, too.  The cop wearing the bodycam really had to hack away at the window for the longest time to get the woman out of the car.

Also, note some of the comments on the video from people who agree with me: Why the hell are the locks in the car fully electronic? Why can't there be manual back up?

The automatic door locks are a small but annoying inconvenience for me. Say my truck is safely parked in my driveway, and I'm working outside, retrieving tools from the truck from time to time. If the windows are rolled up, sometimes the truck just suddenly locks the doors.

If I left the keys in the truck, maybe because I was planning on going to the store in a few minutes, I'm screwed. It's another thing I have to remember: Never leave the keys in the truck because I might get locked out.

What if I temporarily have my dogs in the car with the keys. They can get lock inside. That happened to us once, and we had to get a locksmith to free the dogs. What if it had been sunny and hot. Our dogs could have died.

There have been several instances of kids accidentally being locked in cars. Isn't that dangerous? Why can't we have manual locks?

Car makers don't like manual locks and windows because they've convinced the public they are must-haves. And now there's supposedly no room for both manual and electronic controls on door panels.

Granted, this is a First World problem. But still. I don't like it. Automakers: Just let me do some of the work for myself. Don't do everything for me. I want to have at least a little control.

Here's the video of the rescue from that locked car in Spokane:


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