Mary Kenny: driving me crazy
When did the car become the boss of its driver?
I was in provincial France recently, and my kindly host allowed me to drive his impressive-looking car sitting in the driveway. It was one of those people-carriers with all the latest mod cons, and as I'm always game for a driving adventure, I was delighted with the idea of powering through Provence in such a fancy vehicle.
Now, I would not wish to sound a note of ingratitude about driving a state-of-the-art SUV. But it has to be said that modern cars are bossy. They take away all driver or individual initiative. They lecture you at every turn. They direct your parking manoeuvres with a kind of diagrammatic camera, and warn you with beep-beep-beep sensor signals if you are near to another vehicle.
This fabulous jalopy (which has no ignition key - just a kind of square disc you shove in an aperture where the handbrake used to be) provides you with a little screen tutorial before you move. A message appears to ask you if you have acquainted yourself with the rules of the road, and if you know what you are about in taking this motor on the road. Yes, I know! Don't treat me like a fool!