I was thinking about this just a few days ago. I took my 1949 Austin Devon Saloon on a little 3 mile trip to our local Scottish bakery. It was awful. Impatient (often holding their beloved cell phones to one ear) drivers cutting in and out to get past me, rushing ahead so that they can stop at the red light at the next intersection, tailgating and so forth. In the meantime, I am dodging potholes and construction cones, and trying to find a space to move into the left turn lane. My car has modern turn signals, a working trafficator and my left arm straight out the window, but no one seems to notice or care. I drove back home on side streets, a stop sign at every city block and still encounter some boob who just has to pass me, even though I am already going 2 or 3 MPH over the speed limit. It was 40 degrees outside but my palms were sweating. I would say that at least 50% of the cars on the road around my home are distracted and another 25% are inexperienced or poorly trained.
I wouldn’t say that I’m a wuss, as described above. I’m just an experienced defensive driver. I have never felt the need to be cocooned in a safety bubble. I don’t particularly like antilock brakes (on any vehicle) and my little Austin doesn’t need power steering or brakes. Besides the turn signals, my only other concession to modernity is radial tires. That way, when I hit a pothole or some uneven surface, at least I will generally be facing the same direction when I come back down to earth.
My daily driver is an '03 Ford F-150 pickup. Yesterday, I was going down the expressway about 5 over the 70 MPH limit when I was passed by a car going at least 85 or 90. Several miles ahead, the same car was going 55 and weaving all around. When I passed it, I could see the driver with a smart phone in one hand right in front of the face, texting away. Even if we fix the phone problem by making them impossible to use at more than 5 MPH, we will still have huge video displays, people hollering at kids in the back seat, and big dogs romping around on the front seat.
Add to that, for the privilege of driving my two old cars less than 50 miles a year, I pay $533.00 for insurance and get a raft of resentment from my working wife who has to park her car in the driveway all winter. I really think that I am going to sell one, or both, of them. What you can’t enjoy driving, isn’t worth hiding in the garage.