Forget self-driving cars - bring back the manual transmission

Technology meant to save us from distraction is making us less attentive

I was backing my wife's car out of our driveway when I realised I wasn't watching the backup camera, nor was I looking out of the rear window. I was only listening for those "audible proximity alerts" - the high-pitched beeps that my car emits as I approach an object while in reverse. The problem was that my wife's car, an older model, doesn't offer such beeps.

I had become so reliant on this technology that I had stopped paying attention, a problem with potentially dangerous consequences.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 26, 2019, with the headline 'Forget self-driving cars - bring back the manual transmission'. Print Edition | Subscribe