Estimated Time to Read: 2 minutes

In late September 2012, legislation was passed in California to allow driverless cars on the state’s roads. The announcement passed with barely a flicker of interest in some quarters, which is perhaps surprising because it represents a major step in the continuing advance of technology, and how it affects us in our daily lives.

The prospect of sitting in a motor vehicle without having to worry about how it gets from A to B will seem strange to many drivers, but there’s a very real chance that the day will come when none of us are actually in control of our cars any more. The sense of freedom will be palpable, so here are four things you could be doing while the on-board computer worries about the pedestrians, traffic lights and congestion issues.

Read the paper

Can you imagine sitting in what used to be called the driver’s seat of a car and reading the paper while you’re travelling to work? It may take a little while to get used to the idea, of course, because there will be certain trust issues to worry about, but I reckon after a short while we’ll all be catching up on the latest celebrity gossip and checking out the weekend’s sports results without thinking twice about it.

Talking on the phone

Using a mobile phone while driving is understandably seen as a dangerous activity, and it’s one the police will continue to clamp down on for many years to come, no doubt. However, it may be that when driverless cars become the norm we’ll be able to chat away to our heart’s content without worrying about lady law. It’s an interesting proposition, and one that may become acceptable in less time than we originally thought.

Drink a beer or two

This could be the strangest issue of all. Drinking and driving definitely do not mix, and it quite rightly incurs serious punishments for those who transgress the laws of the road. However, if we’re not actually driving the cars of the future will it no longer be an illegal act to indulge in an alcoholic drink or two while on the roads of the future? Something tells me this particular issue will take a long time to change from the current situation.

Watch TV

Over the years, car manufacturers have understandably balked at the idea of including a television set on the dashboard, but if we’re not actually driving the car anymore who’s to say they shouldn’t start doing it now? There may even come a day when BMW, Ford, Buick and the rest of them all have their own dedicated TV channels for drivers of their vehicles to enjoy. Watch this space.

David Showell is a driver from the UK. He works for 121carhire.com.