“All the Who girls and boys would wake bright and early. They’d rush for their toys! And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise! That’s the one thing he hated! The Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!” (Dr. Seuss; “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”)

Yep, for the Grinch it was the noise. Same reason I’d guess he isn’t too fond of driver assistance technologies either, because he perceives the alerts – especially in slow moving traffic – as just noise!

Ever felt like the Grinch when you’re on the road? Maybe the thought of stopping the alerts has crossed your mind?

I know, I’ve been there. Driving a Bendix truck through Washington D.C. traffic on a Wednesday afternoon at 5:30pm. And yes, my driver assistance technology sounded like a beeping symphony. But what could I do…every time I created space, another car found its way in and the beeping started all over again! Should I do something to make the alerts stop? Tempting, tempting, tempting…

…But, I didn’t. Any you should not either.

Why not? Simple. When the temptation to tamper arises, I keep in mind three key points:

• The alerts are there to help me - they are letting me know that maybe I'm too close and need to back off a bit. And, I know that in some situations, especially heavy traffic, I’m likely to get alerts and, even in this situation, providing a little more space helps.

• The system isn't responsible for my driving, I am. This is why I consider myself a professional – it’s me, not the system, that’s in control. This is driver assistance technology, not driver replacement technology. Safety is, and always will be, my responsibility as the driver.

• While tampering may be tempting, it is also risky. How would I feel if I was in a crash that might have been avoided? What's my liability if I’m in a crash and I’ve tampered? Could I lose my job? Could I be financially responsible? Is my career over?

If you’re in traffic and feeling a little Grinchy as the temptation to tamper creeps up, my advice is simple - DON’T. Instead, if the system is bothering you, learn from it. Reflect for a moment about what it’s trying to relay and use it to change your behavior. More than likely it's just a need to back off a bit.

Of course, excessive alerts, or alerts on vehicles that are in the other lane, could be an indication of an issue with the system. If you feel strongly that you’re getting excessive or alerts that don’t make sense, let your supervisor and maintenance technician know. Maybe there is an issue, such as a radar out of alignment, that is causing the odd beeps. Get the system checked out or repaired and then see how the technology works.

If the extra alerts are still there, maybe it’s time to think about your driving approach…is there something you can change? Be honest! I know I’ve become a better driver working to avoid alerts by backing off and changing some habits.

Finally, Bendix has a single-beep strategy, where instead of multiple signals as you get closer to a forward vehicle, the system delivers one beep and a visual alert. This system change can be made by using our ACom® PRO™ software. (Don’t make this change without the knowledge and support of your fleet’s management.)

Keep in mind, as the Grinch learned, tampering with Christmas is not a good idea. Same goes for driver assistance technology. Play it safe. Don’t tamper.

Have a great and safe holiday season!

Bendix Blog

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