New car technology is great right up to the point you're tagging songs and checking out graphs and then it's "Ahhhhh! WATCH OUT FOR THE NUNS!" Here are ten in-car technologies we find seriously distracting.
None of these are dangerous on their own as long as the drivers and passengers use common sense if, you know, you believe in common sense.
Example: Range Rover Sport
Why it's getting dangerous: It started with a backup camera piped into the navigation screen, then cars started getting wide angle cameras on the nose to help peek around corners, but the Range Rover Sport boasts five cameras littered around the perimeter of the vehicle to supposedly help in off-roading. The likelihood of any Range Rover Sport so much as dirtying a tire is next to nil, so drivers will probably just use them to perv it up and check out sexy pedestrians on the sly.
Technology: Customizable/animated gauge clusters
Example: Ford Fusion Hybrid
Why it's getting dangerous: Anyone who's driven a Ford Fusion Hybrid will tell you the first 20 minutes in the car are rather dangerous because you can't help but fixate on the cool LCD gauges. They grow leaves when you're driving economically, give you all kinds of information about the way the car's operating and generally completely distract you from the task of driving.
Technology: In-car wireless
Example: Chrysler UConnect system
Why it's getting dangerous: There are few things as distracting as the internet and putting it into a car is just begging for trouble. Let's assume drivers aren't dumb enough to go surfing while they're driving, that doesn't mean passengers aren't constantly showing off the latest disgustingly brilliant creation on thisiswhyyourefat.com.
Technology: Massaging/Active Seats
Example: Mercedes-Benz SL550
Why it's getting dangerous: The idea of massaging seats aren't particularly new, but combined with the now normalized seat heater it's a recipe for nap time, napping of course being the most passive version of distraction.
Technology: OnStar Route Guidance
Example: Anything from GM
Why it's getting dangerous: On the face of it, OnStar route guidance seems like the antithesis of distraction, but after you've called OnStar and had them beam directions into your car's computer a disconcertingly sexy voice dictates the turn-by-turn directions. Men have been distracted by much less.
Technology: Mercedes Splitview
Example: Mercedes S-Class
Why it's getting dangerous: Here's an idea, arrange two video sources on the navigation screen so the driver can see only car stuff and the passenger can watch TV or a DVD. All's fine and dandy until the passenger starts watching porn. You know it'll happen.
Technology: Sync iTunes tagging
Example: 2010 Ford products
Why it's getting dangerous: Zipping along listening to music is a time-honored part of motoring, but in 2010 Ford's going to let you tag the songs you like to remind you to buy them on iTunes later. It's probably innocuous if it's just the driver, but when the brood in the back launches into the front seat to insure the latest teeny-bopper manufactured garbage tune is tagged it'll get a little distracting.
Technology: iPhone Turn-by-Turn Nav
Example: Any car
Why it's getting dangerous: The iPhone turn-by-turn app actually works fairly well for providing directions, what it doesn't do is prevent drivers from fiddling with their fancy widget while it's stuck to the windshield, or taking phone calls, or fiddling with other applications, or texting...
Example: Ford Flex
Why it's getting dangerous: The fridge in the Flex is situated between two captains chairs in the middle row and the door flips forward, things specifically designed to keep drivers from using it. Drivers will use it, and because it's in the back they'll have to do some pretty severe acrobatics to get into it, and we're not even going to get into what might go in there.
Example: Lexus RX450h
Why it's getting dangerous: That hybrids put drivers to sleep through crushing boringness should be enough, but they all pretty much include some form of fuel economy graphing system. Hybrid drivers are naturally inclined to want to eke out the most fuel economy possible and fixating on bar graphs detailing fuel consumption is a great way to get higher readings, it's also hugely distracting.