New Winter Driving Tech: Worth It?

October 21st, 2011

Frozen car

For the first 10 or so years of my winter driving career, my cars were equipped with nothing more than a slow-working heater and, maybe, a rear defroster.

That made for some cold driving experiences and often required some extra time outside scraping the windows clear before hunkering down in the driver’s seat wearing a down coat and puffy gloves. (It’s amazing what a 10-degree snowy night will do to a car!)

In the years since, I’ve moved up in the world to the point where I now have a garage, which I believe is the most essential piece of the winter driving puzzle. Incredible inventions, those garages. I also discovered heated seats, which back in the day I would have said I would never need. Now I can never not have them.

I was reminded of all this while reading a piece on MSN called “5 Techie Features for Winter Driving.” Are these overkill, pointless gadgets or the next things we won’t be able to live without? Read on and leave your opinion!

Infrared 4-Zone Climate Control

Infrared beams monitor the temperature around all (up to four) occupants in a vehicle. When the temp drops below the preferred setting, the car warms the individual’s space. Lexus, Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Land Rover make this luxurious warming tech available, but you can be sure it’ll eventually filter down to the cars of the masses, too. This one’s brilliant.

Onboard Weather Radar/Forecasting

Technology built into your car that gives you accurate, up-to-date weather information? Hmm. Sounds just like an iPhone. I’ll pass on this one or just look out the window for my weather info.

Rear-Seat Heat

I laughed at the people who loved their heated seats. “Wear warmer pants,” I remember telling them. Well now, as soon as the temp drops below a brisk 40 degrees, I push that button and warm my seat without hesitation. Why should my rear passengers be denied that same pleasure? Bring this one on!

Heated Steering Wheel

I don’t mean to toot my own horn here, but I invented this. Oh sure, maybe I didn’t get my credit, but I thought of warming my frozen hands on the steering wheel long before anyone thought that heating our rears would be a good idea. This should be standard equipment on all cars from now until forever.

Are these bits of car technology overkill, pointless gadgets or the next things we won’t be able to live without?

-tgriffith

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  1. Randy
    October 22nd, 2011 at 16:56 | #1

    heated wheels and seats are nice, and so is a decent quality stability system and four wheel drive. After that, cars makers need to work a lot harder on my number one winter complaint– wiper blades and windshields that freeze up, creating a safety hazard and that annoying reach out the window to give the wipers a snap, usually accompianied by a faceful of show. You’d think with the automobile being more than 100 years old now, they could make a good windshield wiper.

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