As the first thing after the start button, we also automatically press the stop/start button. The constant turning off and subsequent noisy starting of the engine at intersections is usually more of a nuisance and does not save much, rather it threatens higher wear of some parts of the engine. And that for the saved few deciliters of gasoline and a few grams of CO2 really not worth it.
Later we learned to turn off the lane keeping system as well. This is because every time you cross a white line on the road, it beeps annoyingly, or immediately reaches out to you, which can save your life in certain specific situations (inattentiveness or microsleep), but most of the time it is simply annoying, if not downright dangerous – especially on narrow Czech districts, where it is often difficult to fit two cars next to each other. If you still have to fight with a protesting steering wheel while dodging an oncoming car, you’re asking for bad luck.
Now there’s another button like it that deserves to be turned off immediately: Speed limit warning. This innovation, officially named “intelligent speed assistant”, which, according to European legislators, is supposed to help fight the high death rate on the roads, has been available to all newly homologated cars since last summer, and from July 2024, all vehicles sold in Europe will have to be equipped with it.
It works quite simply: Based on cameras that recognize traffic signs and based on data from GPS, it monitors the speed limits valid on the given section. And as soon as you exceed the limit (plus some tolerance, for example 55 km/h at 50), it beeps at you a few times. Mostly quite subtly, but you’ll notice it anyway. In a perfect world, this should make you slow down. But we are not perfect people that…
So we usually turn this system off – sometimes a long press of the button on the steering wheel or a tap on the icon on the main infotainment screen is enough. That is, with the reasonable brands. For the less sensible ones, you have to delve into the depths of setting up the car’s security systems, which is also quite annoying, but you will surely automate it quickly. And you’ll be glad it’s still possible!
In the future, the plan is to make this system non-switchable. Physical buttons are quickly disappearing from the interiors, and it is becoming more and more difficult, if not impossible, to turn off the “hook” (stop/start) and “springs” (following driving in a lane). And over time it will be completely impossible to turn off even this speed limit warning.
And that’s not even the worst case scenario, in the most terrifying version of a possible future cut out of dystopian Big Brother sci-fi, this system sends straight data to the police when you exceed the speed limit, and a speeding ticket is headed in the opposite direction. In the end, we might be happy when fully autonomous cars finally arrive…