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  Safety 1





It could be actually be said, that every motorist develops a feeling for it, then when one is relaxed and completely in control and then, when the car has to be 'tamed' or subdued. Controlling behaviour occurs when everything is happening just as it should. One drives relaxed, is aware of the situation far ahead on the road and can carry out the necessary actions calmly. This means, taking a curve with the suitable amount of steering. Should a correction have to be made, it is not considered to be a problem. Even beginners manage this, without even being conscious of having made a correction.

The course that the road takes, is mostly routine. The places where a gear-change is made are almost always the same. As a rule, when driving with foresight, one hardly ever needs to brake, except perhaps, for the final 30, or at the most, 40 km/h. Even an overtaking action, which has been planned early enough and when no oncoming traffic is to be seen, can be taken without the slightest excitement. Anything else would disturb the rhythm and serenity. The resulting lower fuel consumption is a very welcome side effect as well.

This must be the situation for which motoring was invented. One could even have a bit of time to improve on certain jerky actions, e.g., when steering. Also of course, plenty of opportunity to allow your thoughts to wander. One is comfortable and feels at home, and indeed, one is still getting ahead. In fact, if one compares the driving-times with those of far more hectic occasions, the difference is mostly less than expected.

Hopefully your attention will not be completely focused on your thoughts, because now we come to the point where one has to cope with an unexpected situation. In this case one distinguishes between the sudden occurence and the fairly predictable one. The former may be caused by unpredictable defects in the car, conflicts with other road users or changes in the road surface, the latter, like changes in the weather, can be prepared for.

Frost damage may suddenly appear on the road surface, or a crossing animal is seen just at the last moment. Hopefully, this will not happen with pedestrians on a country road. Blow-outs, which thank heavens, are now rare, are also one of the unpleasant surprises that can happen, as is the sudden veering out of a vehicle in front of you. Although, his/her braking actions will only cause you problems if you're not prepared. Indeed, the deciding factor here, is the speed involved when all this occurs.

It's a good idea to stay a bit below the speed limit. Having a few reserves, like a few seconds or a couple of meters in hand, can suddenly become very important. Of course, it would also be great if the high demands made on our driving capabilities didn't appear quite so suddenly. The fast-acting electronics are perfectly suited for just these situations.They may be capable of predicting sudden problem situations. They can scan the area in front of the car, recognising earlier, through it's slant, that the oncoming car is taking the curve ahead dangerously, or that the oncoming vehicle is beginning to skid. Perhaps even more important is the lightning fast search for possible solutions, for which the human brain no longer has the time.

If however, one does not or cannot use the offered solutions, then lately, the (digital-) electronics actively engage more and more. They simply apply the brakes, before a collision occurs. This will, in the future, probably lead to absurd situations. Particularly then, if the cars carry on getting more and more independent of the driver and we humans, begin to lose trust in them. We will then be tempted to force a situation, just to test the reaction of the car. The testing of the ABS-systems that was done with the first snow fall, would be quite harmless compared with what could happen now. 10/12




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