SurPASSSing Driving Problems and Pressures

Arjun N

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His foot incessantly tapping the concrete driveway, Henry anxiously awaited his mother. Tonight was the Homecoming Dance, and he invited his long-time crush Jamal. Suddenly, he received a text from his mom: “Hey, honey! I’m stuck in horrible traffic, so I can’t pick you up. I’m trusting you to drive there alone. Be safe and use the PASSS app!” Nervousness and excitement bubbled inside of Henry; his mind drowned into a whirlpool of a million thoughts. While grabbing his keys, he activated PASSS (Preventative Assisting Seatbelts, Sound, and Steering). Inside his car, thin seals covering the seat buckle and lock cylinder turned on: the buckle seal opening and the cylinder seal locking. They are composed of tiny sliding metal doors with a motion sensor connected to PASSS. A decibel meter attached to the air vents activated, as did two pressure sensors located on ten and two of the steering wheel. As this setup finished, Henry flew into his car, slammed the key into the lock cylinder, and floored the gas pedal. Nothing. Confused, Henry noticed on his phone the PASSS flashing in red and yellow “SEATBELT!” Gosh! How could I forget that? I need to calm down, he thought. Taking a deep breath, he buckled himself and noticed his keys on the floor: they had been blocked by the seal. But now that the buckle’s motion sensor was interrupted, the cylinder seal opened. Henry gently started the car and smoothly pulled out of the driveway. As he drove away, the PASSS sent “I’m leaving!” to his mom and powered off his phone. Jamal was equally excited about driving alone, and they drove to their favorite restaurant, In-N-Out. “Hey, can we eat on the way. I wanna get there early,” Jamal asked. “Ummm….sure,” Henry acquiesced. They got their food, and Henry exited the drive-thru, cheeseburger and the steering wheel in his left hand. Unfortunately, they turned onto a construction-ridden street. When Henry decided to take a bite, the juicy burger blocked his view of an enormous pothole. It was fifteen feet away, ten– Beeep! Beeep! A siren erupted from the now-completely-red left wheel sensor. Shocked, Henry quickly returned his hand to the wheel, silencing the sensor. He immediately saw the monstrous pothole and jerked the car to the farthest lane. He pulled into a nearby parking lot. “Maybe…maybe we should eat here,” Jamal chuckled nervously, and Henry nodded. The awkward silence passed, and flirting and laughter quickly ensued. Once they finished, they disposed of their trash and continued to the party. At the party, they danced until their feet ached. Henry’s friends then agreed to go to his house. The group split between Henry’s and his friend Brady’s car. The boys taunted each other, and a race inevitably began. As the volume blasted and the passengers screamed, Henry resigned to adrenaline and started accelerating. He sped ten yards before an irritating noise filled in the car. The decibel meter measured above 90 decibels, the volume of blaring traffic, for more than ten seconds and had sounded a warning. The noise subsided and so did the decibel meter; Henry snapped out of his trance. The mood quickly changed to mild conversations. They saw Brad’s car fly past. Jamal was in Brad’s car, and the reckless driving scared him. However, he didn’t want to ruin the fun, so he remained quiet… When Henry arrived at his house, PASSS sent “I’ve arrived!” to his mother with a detailed report of the drive. But as Henry’s mother sighed in relief, Henry sobbed as firetrucks sped past him, knowing exactly why their sirens blared.