Every self respecting gear head prides himself in the fact that he knows how to drive, understands a vehicle, is the consummate expert in shifting a transmission with a clutch pedal, will always hit the sweet spot of an apex every time...all the time.
There is an endearing sense of causality in mastering the control of a vehicle...or thinking that we have mastered the abilities of a vehicle. Folks actually pay to go play with a vehicle on ice and snow, to understand how a vehicle behaves in adverse conditions.
Must be the reason that genuine hard core gear heads have motorcycles, and derive an immense pleasure and satisfaction in riding a motorcycle...out in the wind, responsible for all their actions, keenly aware of their riding environment.
By now you know that The Colonel has been around for a little longer...lets turn it to him, and see what he understands about technology and vehicles.
Collapsing Steering Columns: If you are of an age that you remember bent steering wheels almost contacting the seat back, or head liner it was always a gory scene. A steering column that absorbed collision energy was a meanigful advance in safety.
Seat Belts: Remember the early lap belts which were considered of questionable benefit, since the upper body was not restrained. A pony car still being sold today, back in the day had metal side panels for the rear seat area (today immense plastic panels do the same thing) with the window cranks sticking out. You got it, rear passenger flew from one side to the other, the head lands on the metal, fortunately did not hit the crank.
Air Bags: First saw an air bag deployed in the mid 1970's when folks were refusing to wear seat belts, a demonstration up close of what happens when the vehicle stops abruptly (collision) and the passengers continue through the windshield or under the dash was very convincing. Fortunately it was all done with "crash test dummies". Back in the day, a deploying air bag was a violent incident...very violent.
ABS: First encounter with ABS was in the late 1970's as FMVSS 121 on HD trucks with air brakes, very cool at the time to see and hear it work, although is was not accepted on HD trucks. The first model year that certain cars had ABS brakes in Canada was 1985. A few years later had an opportunity to experience ABS under various conditions, yes ABS lets you steer out of trouble for one. In addition at highway speeds, is it just wet, is there ice, safe and simple with ABS to gently apply the brakes to see the outcome, could not do that with a vehicle without ABS. Agreed...some ABS systems were scary with the noise and pedal pulsation.
Brake Assist: A momentary distraction, the vehicle in front brakes a little harder that you expect, brake assist is very useful to avert an embarrassing situation.
Traction Control: The early days of traction control...very useful under slippery conditions, with patience and low speeds traction control is effective. Although human nature interprets traction control as an instant remedy to get out of situations. In many instances there is a disconnect between the right foot, and traction control. In addition to the disconnect between the vehicle with traction control, and the one with AWD.
Electronic Stability: How many manufacturers would put 20 inch wheels on SUV/CUV if the vehicles did not have ESP...think about it. Especially when the wheels are one size too big, and the tires two sizes too wide to achieve the "look". In snow trying to stop or steer this thing generates another look and activates enough computing power to fly a plane.
These are just a few...yes there's a lot more in a current vehicle...how often have the precedings saved you from an embarrassing situation?