I don’t remember being particularly jumpy as a child.  I don’t actually remember not being jumpy either.  I’m gonna assume it was a nonissue.

I’m not sure exactly when this changed, but somewhere along the way I became a bit more high strung.  People startled me by walking into a room, and by “startled” I mean said hi then watched as I peeled myself off the ceiling.  Slamming doors made me jump, and going into a dark basement then searching for that chain to turn the light on?  Forget about it.  You could have a secret chocolate fountain down there and I still wouldn’t go.

I mean dang, who hasn’t had nightmares about their grandparents’ root cellar?  No?  Just me?  Well.  Okay then.

Back to my point then which was that I can be a bit jumpy, especially while driving.  There’s something that makes me nervous about hurtling down the road upwards of 50 mph surrounded by dozens of other drivers who may or may not be fully focused on the task at hand.  (I have trust issues, sue me.)

Which is one of the reasons I was so excited to get a Volvo.

Side note: I am not being compensated in any way by my local dealership, the Volvo Car Corporation, or Sweden itself.  I wish.  As a matter of fact, if any of those folks feel like throwing a little love my way they are welcome to do it in the form of a Volvo dog gate.  Because yes, that’s a real thing.  And despite the fact that my dogs shed like Alaskan Malamutes in summertime, I miss taking them for car rides.

Before we go any further I have to give whoop whoop props to Mo and The Chef for very graciously showing up with their new Volvo while visiting BrightSide’s folks in November.  (Boy, this makes us sound like a hoity toity family, but I can assure you that’s not the case.)  I’m not one to ooh and aah over cars; I mean, it was pretty and all, but I wasn’t itching to get behind the wheel or anything.

This is where BrightSide made his critical mistake.  He made me drive the car.  And that, as they say, was that.  The Chef lobbied for my cause with a few well timed texts.  A few weeks later we found ourselves at the Volvo dealership; a few (++) hours after that, I was driving home my really pretty super fun responsibly safe car.

Here are just a few of the awesome safety features on this thing:

  • A 360° camera that gives me a bird’s eye view of the car.  Perfect for when I don’t want BrightSide to mock my parking job.
  • Blind spot warnings on the side view mirrors.  I’m diligent about checking my blind spots but let’s get real – you have to be a double jointed circus performer to check the entire rear of your car before changing lanes.
  • A Lane Keeping Sensor.  Let’s say I drift a bit (which the car recognizes because I didn’t use my turn signal)…my car will “gently” steer me back into my lane.  (I say “gently” because you can set the steering wheel response to mild, moderate, or strong, and believe me when I say a “strong” correction from your car is startling.)
  • City Safety is a system that “detects danger ahead, warning you and preparing the brakes for a quick response.”  The car will brake automatically if a collision is imminent.

Now some of my thoughts on the matter:

  • I love my 360° camera.  Bear says it makes her a bit woozy, but I find it’s perfect for checking to see if I’m really in between the lines or, say, about to crash into something in the garage.
  • Flashing red lights on my side view mirrors are highly effective.  Flashing red = bad = STOP AND THINK.  I’d have to be a moron to pull into another car on the interstate with these things.
  • Boy, was that experiment with the “strong” setting a mistake.  Take a somewhat jumpy driver, put her on a country road going 45 mph, then have the steering wheel jerk suddenly in her hands.  Talk about a recipe for overcorrection.
  • First off, I love the automatic braking system, I truly do.  But let me give you a translation for the above notes.  “Detects danger…warning you” means flashing a row of bright red lights across the lower windshield while piercing beeps sound. “Preparing the brakes” means a strange tic beneath the brake pedal, almost as if the car is taking control.  “Quick response” apparently means .8 seconds, because both times this system has reacted I’ve found myself lurching forward as my car slams on the brakes and screams at me.

It has alerts on the backup camera if something is behind the car, but it also screens about ten feet either way so if something is even approaching your car the (really loud and alarming) beeps go off.

Long story short, I love my car.  Love, love, love it.  But it does yell at me.  Not without good reason, but it’s startling all the same.

If you’d like a car that makes every effort not to let you drive off a cliff (then protects you as you roll down the embankment), then a Volvo’s for you.  Not a big fan of the bells and whistles?  Well, you’d probably be happier if you kept shopping.