All The Bells and Whistles

The term “All of the bells and whistles” often refers to a product or purchase that has more to it than just the base model.  Usually related to houses, cars and electronics.  A few weeks ago, I bought a new car.  It had all the bells and whistles. Especially when it comes to the safety aspect.


My car has regular safety car features.  Brakes, seatbelts, horn…  But it also has extra safety features such as ABS brakes, airbags, daytime running lights- all of which are pretty much standard on cars these days.  It also comes with a back up camera (which Canadian Law wants to be mandatory by May 2018 on all new cars), side cameras, a front camera, blind spot warnings, and proximity warnings.  Things I never thought necessary before in a car.  But it has all the bells and whistles of safety available in a vehicle of this price range.


After working at the railroad for nearly a decade, I think this statement “All the bells and whistles” definitely refers to safety.  On locomotives, the horn is called the whistle.  There is also a bell.  Both are often used when a train is approaching a crossing to give warnings to vehicle traffic.  The bells and whistles are a necessity to ensure safety.  To some, it may seem like overkill to hear a bell and a whistle on an oncoming train.  But to others, such as the locomotive engineer and conductor, these features are necessary to keep everyone safe.

If having “extra” safety features in a vehicle means it is no longer the base model, then what does that say about us as a society?

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