Some people love driving. It’s a time for them to get away from the stresses of life, soaking in their favorite music, podcast, or eBook on their way to a destination they probably don’t want to be at. For those 15, 30, or 60 minutes a day, they get away from life.
Well, I hate driving. I think it sucks.
This was something I realized long ago. By my sophomore year of college, I was driving over an hour a day Monday through Thursday commuting to classes. I was constantly battling large semi-trucks, speed demons, and the annoying people that actually drive the speed limit.
I had to constantly be on edge, knowing that at any moment, a car could fly from three lanes over trying to make an exit while endangering the drivers and passengers of the vehicles they cut off to get there.
While I did enjoy the alone time, which is hard to find while attending college and living with your parents, it was also an added stressor to my day. It didn’t feel like I was actually escaping my daily stressors. It was just another one on the list.
Since graduating, I haven’t driven much. My commute to work is short and most of the places I need to get to on a weekly basis are within a 5-to-10-mile radius of my home. I rarely take the highway anymore.
I had to run an errand with my mom, traveling to a town about 30 minutes from home. The total time spent in the car, the mathematician in my head tells me, was about an hour.
I hated almost every minute of it. The only enjoyable part was being able to listen to Todd Brison’s eBook, The Unstoppable Creative.
My car is designed to be pretty comfortable. It’s an SUV, which sets up higher in the air, something I prefer to lower-sitting sedans. The seats are comfortable (they are heated, which is good for my iffy back muscles) and the air conditioning is good.
And yet, I feel so uncomfortable on the road.
I’m constantly having to watch drivers around me. “Will this guy next to me suddenly try to come into my lane?” “Can this asshole please stop tailgating me?” “Is this old lady ever going to speed up?”
I have little control of my environment. My mind is never at ease.
While on the road, I would love to have full control over my environment. Since that’s not possible, though, I want no control. I don’t want anyone to have control.
That’s why the future of autonomous driving is so intriguing to me.
As I tried to press my back as firmly against the heated seat as possible, listening to Brison’s eBook, I tried to imagine a future where my hands are off the wheel and my eyes are closed. I tried to imagine a day where I didn’t need to press my foot against the gas peddle, only to quickly switch it over to the brake when the person in front of me starts slowing down for no apparent reason.
I tried to imagine the day where I can finally stop complaining about people not using their turn signals.
As I made my way home on that trip, I realized that a future of comfortable driving isn’t actually that far away.
I just need to earn enough money to buy a damn Tesla.