Ever wonder why the sequence on your car transmission shift and many gas-powered RVs goes Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive, then Drive 2 or Low? It is all about safety. Thank Ralph Nader.
Before 1971 it was not the law. It is now. Many vehicles, particularly General Motors and Chrysler, used P-N-D-L-R (Park, Neutral, Drive, Low, Reverse) sequence. Ralph Nader brought to attention the fact the driver had to look down at the shifter to go into low when driving. Downshifting and inadvertently going into reverse while driving was not good for safety or the transmission!
Even moving from a parked position into reverse if the transmission shift was not lifted enough vehicles could go forward instead of reverse. A huge safety issue when looking back thinking in reverse and then going forward.
Putting Neutral between Reverse and Drive was safer. U.S. manufacturers put the P-R-N-D-L sequence in effect by 1966 and it became Federal law in 1971. “Location of transmission shift positions on passenger cars. A neutral position shall be located between forward drive and reverse drive positions.”
Even now with electronic shifters, the sequence remains relatively the same. When park is a separate button, neutral still separates drive and reverse. Ferraris, Lamborghini and McLaren are all a different configuration, but it is still hard to accidentally shift into reverse when wanting to go forward.
Where is Ralph Nader for RV safety?