By Vuyi Mpofu
Cars are fitted with numerous features aimed at making travel safe and convenient for both drivers and passengers. Most of these features serve that purpose but there are a few which work well in principle but fall short in reality.
Here are the 5 features which annoy me the most.
- Inaccurate GPS
Satellite navigation is great for guiding you to your destination – provided it’s up-to-date and is accurate. Nothing irritates me more than trying to find my way using an ineffective navigation system, particularly when it comes as a standard feature in a freshly minted vehicle.
Sure, roads change all the time but it is inexcusable that some manufacturers release cars with outdated GPS, leaving motorists to navigate using their phones.
2. Voice-control systems
Voice control systems are a pain in the you-know-what and nothing can be more irritating than a computerized voice parroting your commands inaccurately. Granted, voice control systems weren’t designed with African languages in mind and unless the system is fitted in a premium ride, they can be exasperating to use.
3. Auto Stop/Start system
Although they have been around for a while, the jury (comprised of everyday motorists), is still not unanimous on the overall effectiveness of auto Stop/Start systems. While they are great for saving fuel and are environmentally friendly, the general concern of many motorists is the amount of strain exacted on the engine as a result of the constant stopping and starting.
The other concern relates to the increased friction on some components within the engine and ignition system which can take quite a bit of strain when the car is in constant stop-and-go traffic as you consistently engage the brakes under heavy traffic conditions. At any given time in Johannesburg, congestion on the road could be caused by motorists slowing down to rubberneck an accident site, merging lanes dues to roadworks, a vehicular breakdown, or just plain ol’ bumper-to-bumper traffic; all of which could cause the engine to stop and start hundreds of times.
In my opinion, though, the inclusion of an auto stop/start system in a car results in better fuel efficiency and emissions figures (which is advantageous to manufacturers) than it provides a good driving experience for drivers.
4. Non-adjustable steering wheels
It is difficult to assume a safe seating position when you can’t adjust the steering wheel to suit your posture. Most steering wheels can be adjusted up and down but I think all steering wheels should come with the option of being pushed inwards towards the dash and outwards towards your chest as well.
A non-adjustable steering wheel is uncomfortable and can make driving dangerous which is why it’s one of my biggest bugbears.
5. Low-quality reverse cameras
Reverse cameras are generally a good idea but some manufacturers fit units that simply do not meet the basic quality standards of a mid-grade mobile phone. Poor visuals, fuzzy images, and low lighting (even after you’ve made the necessary adjustments) all result in a headache for the driver. In some instances, it would be better to just look over your shoulder!