A couple of years ago, a road-testing colleague from the US (wish I could remember who it was) told me of driving his eight-year old daughter in one of the rare 'entry-level' Hot Rods du Semaine road-test cars we sometimes drive.
She was pointing to the window winder handles.
She had never driven in a car that did not have power windows.
Sort of like how teenagers don't know what 'clock-wise' means.
In a similar and perhaps more important vein, a friend of mine told me recently that the main body system computer on his car failed. (Neither the friend's name nor the car brand are really relevant to the story, so I'll save them all from any possible embarrassment.)
All of a sudden, the family bus had no ABS, no electronically-controlled four-wheel drive, no Electronic Stability Control system.
In the middle of the worst winter in decades, his wife was now driving a car with none of the safety systems that she had become accustomed to.
For example, she had never driven a car without ABS.
As we also found out during the power outages over the recent holidays, how do we cope when the technological advances we base our lives upon are suddenly taken from us?
Is anybody going to find out which fuse controls all these functions and go to snowy parking lot to see how the car reacts as if it were, say, a 1965 Chevy?
But if, as some believe, advances in technology encourage us to drive more recklessly to maintain the same level of perceived danger, giving this prospect a bit of forethought might lead you to plan ahead.
IF something like this should happen to you, be prepared to drive much more cautiously.
One of my Christmas presents this year was the book written by fellow Miltonite Chris Hadfield, “An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth.'' Among the major lessons he teaches is how much training astronauts go through in order to be prepared for unlikely but almost assuredly fatal occurrences.
Sure, there are way more drivers than there have been or ever will be astronauts.
But we kill way more people on our roads than have or ever will die in space.
Maybe if we were better prepared...