I have to admit—I’m really looking forward to this whole self-driving car thing. While there are those who romanticize driving like it’s sexy and awesome, that’s really only true when driving through really scenic places with nothing to kill but time. The fact is that driving is something that has to be done to get us from one place to another. That in itself is nothing new—walking, running, horses, skates, bikes all accomplish the same goal. But driving has this particular aspect to it that requires enough attention to make sure you don’t kill yourself or others. And I don’t mean that as an exaggeration—driving a car is an inherently dangerous thing and thus requires the attention worthy of such a threat.
Thus, when I drive, that’s all I can do. Hence all the laws against texting and driving (what about Candy Crush and driving, though?)—it’s unsafe to do anything else while driving. Seven Pounds, anyone?
And I think that motorized vehicles are rather unique in this (someone’s probably going to mentally throw an A Tale of Two Cities reference at me to prove me wrong, but that was about arrogance and disregard for life, not inherent danger). While traveling was harder and slower in the days before automobiles, it was also safer. Before this sounds like a rant about safety, I want to shift to what I’m really trying to say but am saying poorly: I look forward to getting driving time back.
I’d rather read on the way to work than watch out for crazy commuters who are zig-zagging through traffic because they’re late to work. I’d rather be turned around and engaging with my family on the long road trips instead of making sure I don’t drift into the median. I’d rather be making out with my wife on our way to dinner on date night than watching to make sure I don’t go the wrong way on a one-way street.
Driving isn’t sexy; it’s necessary. And unlike walking or traveling by donkey or whatever, it requires enough attention that little else can occur during it. Thus, it’s a straight up time waster. And I’d much rather use that time for so much more.
So I say: Bring on the self-driving car! (Though I wonder how long it’ll take to get the 15-passagenger van with that capacity…)