Don’t Panic

I remember the days of actually having to insert a key into the lock in a car door. In fact, up until 2011, when I bought a Toyota Yaris, I’d never experienced the magic of remote keyless entry.

Not that I was amazed by this thing that was new to me. It’s not as if I’d never been around people who had the key fob thingy who could magically press a button to unlock the driver’s door. Press it twice and you unlock all the doors!

My current car, Fiona, a 2009 Corolla, also has keyless entry. I’ve got four buttons on my key: Lock, Unlock, Trunk, and Panic.

Lock, Unlock, and Trunk, I use all the time. Pretty much every day.

The only time I’ve EVER used the Panic button has been entirely accidental. And it’s always when I’m trying to hold multiple things in one hand and a finger or the interior of my palm somehow depresses that little red button and manages to hold it down long enough for the car to register that it needs to blow the horn repeatedly, causing me to be the one who panics trying to get my hands back on my key in a purposeful way so I can stop the noise!

It’s better when it happens in a public parking lot where there are multiple strangers and/or small children nearby who freak out at the sudden assault on their eardrums.

Ironically, the buttons I need to work, I usually have to mash down on or hit repeatedly in order to achieve the desired effect.

I have never once used the Panic button on purpose. Because I cannot for the life of me imagine what the Panic button’s purpose actually is. I’ve given it some thought, and… you know… I like to imagine I’m a fairly clever individual. I just can’t figure out why the designers of today’s automobiles and their accompanying key fobs need to have a Panic button.

My first thought is that you may use Panic to find your car in an overcrowded parking lot when you’ve forgotten where you parked. But Panic in this situation, to me, seems to be a bit overkill. Panic, as I said earlier, will cause the car horn to go off repeatedly. It’s loud and obnoxious and would startle anyone nearby. I’d probably think it rude if someone used Panic in this way, especially if I happen to be standing near the panicking vehicle. A better way, I think, would be to keep hitting Lock or Unlock, which causes a much less invasive sort of noise.

Another thought I had is less pleasant. What if you’re being assaulted in a parking lot somewhere. You’re near your car and you want to get someone’s anyone’s attention. So they can get help. Not a bad thought to use that old Panic button. But then I think about the reality of whenever I hear someone’s car panicking in a parking lot. I typically ignore it. Because my assumption is always that someone has accidentally hit that button the way I tend to. Or maybe they’ve got a kid who was playing around with the keys. Whatever the case, I go about my business.

Those two are really the only potential reasons I could think of for the inclusion of a Panic button on everyone’s key fob. So I’m looking for more answers. For that, I turn to you.

Do you ever use the Panic button in relation to your car? In what situations have you used it purposefully? Has the Panic button ever saved your life? Let me know in the comments!

Feature Photo by John Matychuk on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “Don’t Panic

  1. I’ve never used the panic button on purpose but once I went on a hike and I guess while leaving or walking back, but still in range of my vehicle, I hit the panic button and the alarm was going off for an unknown amount of time.

    One reason I always read about for panic buttons is to scare people away – sleeping in the middle of the night and you hear what sounds like hooligans outside? Hit button to scare them away!

    Liked by 1 person

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