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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Auto safety is something we always have to be concerned about, especially during the summer, when we spend more time in our cars. Sitting in traffic.

Consider the following stories, all of which are true:

In June, there was a highway accident in New Jersey involving two trucks—one hauling bread, and the other hauling—you guessed it—cold cuts. It’s hard to feel like that wasn’t on purpose—like they were trying something.

Anyway, the bread and the cold cuts went tumbling out all over the road and each other. Chris Christie was very excited. No one was seriously injured, but motorists were left waiting while workers cleaned it up, which took hours, including a break for lunch. You know how sometimes you’re on the highway stuck in miles of traffic, and you’re wondering, “What’s going on up there?” And then you get to the front and it’s all cleaned up and the cold cuts are gone, and you’re like “What was all that traffic for?”

Anyway, that’s why it smells in New Jersey. This week, at least.

Meanwhile, a couple of years ago in New Zealand, two trucks sideswiped each other and caused 770 gallons of glue to spill out on a highway.

“Why are you late?”

“I got stuck. In traffic.”

“Oy.”

The road was then closed for two hours as workers had to wait for the glue to dry so they could peel it off in one piece. That’s a lot of glue down the drain. And glue down the drain is not good for the environment, so they had to set up road blocks around the sewers. And then the road blocks got stuck to the road. It was a whole thing.

Also, last month in China, an open-air truck carrying 30,000 baby chicks rear-ended another truck on the highway, and all the boxes burst open and the chicks tried to make a break for it. Authorities still don’t know if this was a carefully orchestrated plan by the chicks, who distracted the driver with their cuteness so that he hit the other truck. All they know is that while they were trying to tend to the driver, the chicks were jumping off the truck and running all over the road. (“Run! Cross the road!” “Why?!”)

It was in the Chinese newspaper.

And spills aren’t the only issue. There’s also thrills. A couple of years ago, a teenager in Oregon got into an accident while going through a tunnel. It seems that he and his friend were playing a popular kids’ game where you try to hold your breath until you get to the end. But this game is not really recommended if you’re the one driving. As it turns out, this kid got into the tunnel and held his breath until he passed out. The weird thing is that the tunnel had a 55 mph speed limit and was 80 feet long. It should only have taken him 10 seconds to pass through it. He’s horrible at this game.

My point is that driving isn’t safe, not to mention giving licenses to teenagers.

But I have good news: Thanks to technology, we’re finally coming up with safety measures. For example, Apple recently announced the Apple Watch is going to have an app called “Breathe,” whose sole function is to remind you to breathe. So the tunnel thing won’t be an issue anymore! (It also has an app that helps you walk by constantly saying, “Left foot right foot left foot right foot” and so on.)

There are also new safety developments in regard to the self-driving car. As I’ve mentioned at some point, Google has been developing a new autonomous car. You just sit there and say, “Ok Google. Show me dolphins,” and it drives you to dolphins. That way you don’t need the internet. This leaves the “driver” free to discipline kids and fight over the thermostat and look up words like “autonomous.” Also, you could pass out all you want, especially since it doesn’t go above 25 miles per hour.

The idea of the Google car is to improve safety by eliminating human error, because they figured out that 90% of all accidents are the driver’s fault. This means that of all the accidents in the last 100 years, at least 90% of those cars had drivers. The other 10% were parked on a hill.

But apparently, they’ve been testing the car, and crashes still happen. So now they’re blaming pedestrian error. So let’s eliminate the pedestrians! Take them off the road, we mean.

So here’s the good news: Google just received a patent for placing a strong adhesive on the hood of their cars, where if they hit a passenger, the passenger will stick to the hood, rather than bouncing off and hitting the road or another car, which, studies show, cause the more serious injuries. So this way, instead of bouncing around, the pedestrian will be stuck to the bumper, along with the phone he was looking at. It’s like human-grade flypaper.

And the good news is you don’t have to pull over right away. You can drive around trying to find a safe place to do so, all the while collecting more pedestrians, bicyclists, and seeing-eye dogs like hood ornaments. You can even run errands.

“I’m going into the store. Anyone need anything?”

“Band-aids.”

Of course, this invention leads to a lot of questions. For example, does it come with a spatula so you can peel them off? Or do you have to wait for it to rain?

Right now this idea is still in the testing stage. But if it works, maybe they’ll add it to driverful cars!

Don’t hold your breath.

By Mordechai Schmutter


Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He also has six books out and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected]