Meet Tootsie: The Car that Corrects My Driving

My New Sweetie: Tootsie, a 2020 Hyundai Tucson

After much painful car shopping, I have purchased my last car. I call her Tootsie, short for Tucson. She has all of the latest safety features, and I must get used to them. Driving her home on Monday, after not having driven a car but once in the last two and a half years, I was so nervous that my driving, not good at the best of times, was atrocious.

Tootsie has Lane Keep Assist, and obviously when one is too close to the left or right lines, the car changes the symbol for the feature from green to orange. If you do not make the necessary corrections, the car beeps at you and then, unbeknownst to me, takes control of the steering wheel and corrects your mistake. I didn’t know what was happening as the steering wheel kept pulling to the left. I assumed it was broken, and that I needed to turn around and take the car back to the dealership.

But, my husband, Douglas, was following me, and when I told him that the steering wheel was broken, he laughed and informed me that I had ridden the right side white line nearly all the way home! The car was doing what it is programmed to do, and I kept jerking the car back to the right. I was gobsmacked to think that the car is, in some sense, chastising me, as if saying, “What is your problem, Regina? Get off the line, woman!”

God was definitely with me. And yes, I thanked Him all the way for the “angels that encamp around those who fear him and deliver them.” Still, I contemplated returning the car and being only a passenger. But, I have calmed down, and I will keep the car. I have a strong faith, and I believe that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens and helps me.

I am learning the different features. Yet, I know that, ultimately, I, as the driver, am in control, and that I cannot depend on the features to do my job. I can’t get distracted by the features, either, such as watching to see if the symbols change colors or listening for beeps, but must pay attention to what I am doing so that I am safe and so are the people traveling the roads with me. I take that responsibility seriously.

So, although I may joke about my driving, I do believe that I have a duty to be a safe driver, as a way of demonstrating that I “love my neighbor as I love myself.” Tootsie and I finally meshed a couple of days ago, and on a trip out and back, she never beeped at me one time! I stayed in my lane!

I just have to let go of the fear of driving and grasp the freedom that comes from not having to wait for my husband to be avaialble to take me places. I want to go to the symphony, and because Douglas tends to go to sleep while the music plays (even with the cymbals!) and has to be asked to leave, I have to drive myself.

I had thought that one car would be sufficient, but it is not when you live so far out in a rural area without buses or other forms of public transportation but want to enjoy cultural activities. I am starting to love my new car, because Oh, boy, the places Tootsie and I will go!

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