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Where do you think you're going?
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Where do you think you're going?

2 min. 23.08.2013 From our online archive
In his latest column, Dan Franch explores the perils of the windshield "pirate eye patch", or sat-nav, in everyday traffic.

The windshield; an oddly fascinating part of the car. Apart from bird droppings and dead bugs, it’s a bulletin board of sorts -- a place where we hang bits and pieces about who we are.

Residents of Luxembourg City have a sticker announcing in which “quartier” they reside. Employees, such as those at the European Commission, have a sticker for parking. And travellers to Switzerland have a sticker to drive on that country’s roads.

Hence, plenty can be learned about people simply by what they post on their windscreen.

Another object stuck to that large piece of glass is the rear view mirror, a perfect place for dangling the various tchotchkes of our lives: fuzzy dice, tassels, crosses, air fresheners, baby shoes, dream catchers, laundry... OK, I made that last one up. Then again, why the hell not?

A drying t-shirt can’t be much more obstructive than one other doodad we suction cup to the windshield like a large, motionless garden snail.

The GPS.

I don’t want to get all neo-Luddite here, but I don’t have one. Without doubt they are useful, but for now I’ll stick to a paper map and/or MapQuest.

Besides, the GPS can be a handicap. I’ve been stuck behind drivers relying on a sat-nav unit as they approach an area where there are three or more lanes and only two choices of which way to go.

The car slows down and jerks left and right, all the while the driver’s eyes and ears are fixated on the GPS waiting to see and hear what the little black box has to say. At the end of their indecisive zigzag, they often continue going straight or else in the direction the large road sign shows if only they had bothered to look up.

Then again, that can be difficult considering where some drivers place their GPS... just below and to the left of their rear view mirror. It’s a pirate eye patch limiting their ability to see.

Surprisingly, this is not illegal. From what I understand of the law here in the Grand Duchy, while nothing is allowed in the driver’s field of vision, the sat-nav is an exception. In fact, it’s allowed to partially block the field of vision if fixed according to the rules.

"Aaaaargggghhh, matey!" is my printable response.