Sunday, November 11, 2012

Impaired driver? Honda knows you

Honda has been running an ad campaign about the new Accord for over a month now. This past week, I've been watching some shows on Hulu (possibly too many) and it seems like every other ad is the same Honda piece which shows off their newest and greatest safety feature. That feature is the car beeps at you when you are so incapable of driving, that you've found yourself driving into the lane of oncoming traffic.

A version of the ad (Youtube)

I've two main problems with the ad. The first, is that you can only see the same video so many times before wanting to torch the product featured, regardless of what it is. Seriously, watch 4 shows on Hulu over a week and you'll see it at least 15 times.

More importantly, the ad is frustrating because it treats reckless, impaired driving as something normal that shouldn't be avoided, but instead accommodated by a beeping noise.

Honda claims that being an impaired driver is understandable, it's common, and they know us and are here to help. Do they educate customers about the dangers of driving when tired, which can be as bad as being drunk? No, they encourage is.

"This campaign demonstrates how Honda's deep understanding of the customer allowed our engineers to perfect the midsize sedan in the new Accord,"
Honda

In the ad, Honda says they know us. Honda thinks "we" are ok with getting behind the wheel when we can barely keep our eyes open, and nod ourselves awake.

Just look at this guy.

Photobucket


Is this what a Honda driver should look like? Someone who looks like he spent the past 48 hours at a Las Vegas club and is rushing home to LA?

Honda thinks that if you're on a perfectly straight country road, with generously wide lanes, and you're swerving into the oncoming traffic because you can't stay awake, the proper course of action is not to pull over and cease driving, but instead it's to be beeped backed into momentary consciousness, to correct course and then repeat the cycle.

Thing is, as great as the beeping is, if the other lane WASN'T deserted, you have thrown yourself into a high speed front-end collision, taking out the oncoming vehicle, as you'd be dead before the beeping could really get into its groove.

Naturally, if you swerved the other way, you'd be in a gutter, or wrapped around a telephone pole, or had over corrected (post beeping) so now you found yourself again in the path of an oncoming truck.

But Honda knows us, and thinks that's just a risk worth taking.


I wonder what the reaction would be if Honda had branded their feature as a way to drive drunk "safely". Ladies and gentlemen, buy our Honda! Now when you drive drunk, we'll beep at you if you swerve too much, or are driving in the wrong lane! Perhaps the deluxe model can include a radar feature to warn you of cops?

Because it's pretty much the same thing.

Being sleepy behind the wheel is almost as bad as drinking and driving, suggests a new study from France.

The study, published as a letter in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that drivers who were either drunk or sleepy were at least twice as likely to be responsible for a vehicle accident compared to their well-rested or sober counterparts.

...

"We know from experimental studies that just four hours of sleep loss will produce as much impairment as a six pack. If you have a whole night of sleep loss, that's equivalent to having a blood alcohol content of 0.19," Drake, who was not involved with the new research, told Reuters Health.

Reuters


Guy in the ad looks like he's had an entire bottle of vodka.

It's a shame that ad people at Honda ever thought this would make a good campaign. It's troubling that they've run these ads for almost two months now and no one has told them that hey, maybe this message is not so good?


As for the feature itself, the lane departure warning would be great for someone learning to drive, not fully aware of the width of the vehicle. Everyone else? If you're drifting into oncoming traffic, then don't drive.

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