Safety of Small Cars

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 Originally Posted By: ekpolk
US90 is hopeless. For at least 50% of the distance, it's stoplight-to-stoplight crawling through the Mississippi coast casino country.
I love how good highways get screwed up with a bunch of useless traffic lights, expertly timed by Mrs. Wilson's kindergarten class.
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and actively trying to stay out of the way of the slumbering idiots doing 85 while munching burgers and listening to music...
This is why I won't use I95 between Baltimore and DC at night. The traffic volumes really don't drop much at night on that highway.
 
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 Originally Posted By: lovcom
 Originally Posted By: Black Bart
The best safety device is located between your ears but unfortunately far to many don't use it. The autobahn is safer than the interstates in the USA Contrary to what the police preach it is NOT speed that causes accidents it is stupid drivers.
You got it wrong ;-) It is true that speed does not cause accidents, however speed does kill, because the more speed involved in an accident increases the risk of injury and death.
NO I don't have it wrong I would agree with you that when an accident occurs the speed can make it worse but driving over the stupid 55 mph speed limit don't cause accidents. In fact since practically no one drives the speed limit if you drive the limit you are creating a hazard because everyone will be passing you. It would be better to drive with the traffic flow.
 
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 Originally Posted By: Black Bart
. . . In fact since practically no one drives the speed limit if you drive the limit you are creating a hazard because everyone will be passing you. It would be better to drive with the traffic flow.
Which is exactly the point I was making, calling the concept "relative speed."
 
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Ticket fines priced according to an agreed upon kinetic energy formula seems fair, where additional mass/weight and speed would result in higher fines. Set the standard to the current average passenger car vehicle weight/mass, where smaller cars and motorcycles would get a break and heavier vehicles would see an additional penalty. This would place more responsibility on larger vehicles to be nice on the road. On the other side of the coin accident statistics should also include a 'Darwin' factor, where driver caused accidents are acknowledged and not used to penalize others in society with subsidies on lame programs.
 
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 Originally Posted By: 1sttruck
Ticket fines priced according to an agreed upon kinetic energy formula seems fair, where additional mass/weight and speed would result in higher fines. Set the standard to the current average passenger car vehicle weight/mass, where smaller cars and motorcycles would get a break and heavier vehicles would see an additional penalty. This would place more responsibility on larger vehicles to be nice on the road. On the other side of the coin accident statistics should also include a 'Darwin' factor, where driver caused accidents are acknowledged and not used to penalize others in society with subsidies on lame programs.
That makes sense. I would like to see an option to pay a surcharge (maybe 50%) on your ticket to have the ticket not be seen by insurance companies. Another complaint. Present statistics call an accident alcohol related even if the person who tests positive had nothing to do with causing the accident. If Joe Sixpack with 0.08% BAC is sitting at a stoplight doing nothing wrong and he gets rear ended by Suzzy Selfrighteous with 0% BAC, it gets logged as an alcohol related accident. I'm against drunk driving, but some honesty in statistics would be a nice feature. The truth may not be good enough for some people, but it's good enough for me.
 
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 Originally Posted By: XS650
 Originally Posted By: 1sttruck
Ticket fines priced according to an agreed upon kinetic energy formula seems fair, where additional mass/weight and speed would result in higher fines. Set the standard to the current average passenger car vehicle weight/mass, where smaller cars and motorcycles would get a break and heavier vehicles would see an additional penalty. This would place more responsibility on larger vehicles to be nice on the road. On the other side of the coin accident statistics should also include a 'Darwin' factor, where driver caused accidents are acknowledged and not used to penalize others in society with subsidies on lame programs.
That makes sense. I would like to see an option to pay a surcharge (maybe 50%) on your ticket to have the ticket not be seen by insurance companies. Another complaint. Present statistics call an accident alcohol related even if the person who tests positive had nothing to do with causing the accident. If Joe Sixpack with 0.08% BAC is sitting at a stoplight doing nothing wrong and he gets rear ended by Suzzy Selfrighteous with 0% BAC, it gets logged as an alcohol related accident. I'm against drunk driving, but some honesty in statistics would be a nice feature. The truth may not be good enough for some people, but it's good enough for me.
Obviously you drive one of those motorized skateboards.
 
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 Originally Posted By: 1sttruck
"if you are driving a car and your car is the only car on the road, what can you hit?" In one study that I ran across, where inury and death rates were broken down by vehicle type, gender, age, and accident type, as I recall some of the main contributors to pickup truck accidents were younger drivers, accidents by young and middle aged males on weekends in rural areas, which was primarily attributed to alcohol, and women who in general did poorly in pickups (SUVs) too. Don't need other cars around to run into, trees, poles, bridges, and the earth are enough.
That is why I said that it was a possibly a philosophical question.
 Originally Posted By: brianl703
 Originally Posted By: ShiningArcanine
Admittedly, it would be very difficult for a high traffic density to occur on a road that has a 100 mph speed limit
Sure it would. I saw it in Germany(although the road had no speed limit at all). The issue was drivers, mainly from France and the Netherlands, who drove in the left lane and refused to move over to allow others to pass. This did a fine job of screwing up traffic and bringing down the speed on the road to the 65-70MPH that the left lane hogs wanted to drive.
At least they were going at 65 to 70 mph. On roads here, I have been at 1 mph on occasion because of the traffic.
 Originally Posted By: Black Bart
 Originally Posted By: lovcom
 Originally Posted By: Black Bart
The best safety device is located between your ears but unfortunately far to many don't use it. The autobahn is safer than the interstates in the USA Contrary to what the police preach it is NOT speed that causes accidents it is stupid drivers.
You got it wrong ;-) It is true that speed does not cause accidents, however speed does kill, because the more speed involved in an accident increases the risk of injury and death.
NO I don't have it wrong I would agree with you that when an accident occurs the speed can make it worse but driving over the stupid 55 mph speed limit don't cause accidents. In fact since practically no one drives the speed limit if you drive the limit you are creating a hazard because everyone will be passing you. It would be better to drive with the traffic flow.
Laws exist for a reason. Either follow them or work to change them following them until they are changed. Any violation by any person of any law out of mere convenience gives everyone else a license to violate any law out of mere convenience and which law is violated does not need be on the same level of severity in your mind as the one you violate. I want speed limits on all roads changed to the roads' respective design limit, in both cases where they will increase and cases where they will decrease, but until they are changed, I will not violate a law because it is convenient to do so and I suggest that you do the same. If you fail to follow the law, then there is no ground to anything that you say and if that is the case, nothing will ever change.
 Originally Posted By: 1sttruck
Ticket fines priced according to an agreed upon kinetic energy formula seems fair, where additional mass/weight and speed would result in higher fines. Set the standard to the current average passenger car vehicle weight/mass, where smaller cars and motorcycles would get a break and heavier vehicles would see an additional penalty. This would place more responsibility on larger vehicles to be nice on the road. On the other side of the coin accident statistics should also include a 'Darwin' factor, where driver caused accidents are acknowledged and not used to penalize others in society with subsidies on lame programs.
I think that if someone exceeds the speed limit by more than 10 mph, his vehicle should be confiscated and either sold at auction or parted out. The only way people will learn to drive within the speed limits will be if exceeding them results in the loss of their vehicles, especially when they are still making payments on them. A police officer I know told me that they tried that for a few years, but the cost of impounding cars made it impractical. Mathematically speaking, it is possible (using data collected from when that law was in effect) to calculate a minimum fine to accompany the confiscation that will pay for the cost of impounding, but no one in the county legislature seems to know mathematics to be able to do it. \:\(
 
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 Originally Posted By: ShiningArcanine
. . . I think that if someone exceeds the speed limit by more than 10 mph, his vehicle should be confiscated and either sold at auction or parted out. The only way people will learn to drive within the speed limits will be if exceeding them results in the loss of their vehicles, especially when they are still making payments on them. . . .
Just imagine where interest rates on car loans would go if the bankers realized they faced loss of the security on their loans if borrowers were caught speeding. And of course, the rental car industry would likely collapse. But it's still an interesting idea. I'm right with you on the concept that those who won't follow the law need to face consequences that will correct their behavior the first time, and deter others as well. And it would be particularly nice if effective enforcement of meaningful laws happened to have a safety benefit as well...
 
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I have to put my 02 in here. Americans as a whole can't drive. I've seen so many people lose control when their car slid that probably would've been better off just letting go of the steering wheel. Over and over I see people take a small slide and overcorrect two or three times before finally spinning. A good friend of mine wrecked us on a mountain road. We weren't going fast but he freaked when he saw another car come around the corner, locked the wheels and skidded straight off the side. I had time to tell him over and over to let off the brakes but he kept them locked with the wheel turned full lock and couldn't understand why the car wasn't turning. My girlfriend will stand on the gas until she flies up on someone then slam on the brakes and then back on the gas again just to hit the brakes again. No one tests their cars out in the middle of nowhere to see how it stops and corners. I had the TL out testing it the day I bought it to see how it would react in emergency situations. I see too many people take little incidents and turn them into major accidents. Americans just aren't educated and don't use common sense when driving. All we have to do is prove we can stop on red, go on green, and parallel park to get a license. When I was in Greece, your average 60yr old woman could control a car better than the majority of Americans. Streets are narrow and people manage to keep the traffic flowing by using common sense where over here there would be major traffic jams 24/7. Their traffic system is completely messed up and I saw some horrific accidents but the drivers are no doubt more skilled.
 
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 Originally Posted By: ShiningArcanine
At least they were going at 65 to 70 mph. On roads here, I have been at 1 mph on occasion because of the traffic.
That happened a few times in Germany too, on roads with no speed limit. The point is, though, get someone driving slow in the left lane and watch it mess traffic up. At least in the USA you can pass them on the right, legally. Not so in Germany.
 
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Traveling down your typical two-lane road, I'd think that the number of left and right curves would average out to equal. However, once you start talking about divided highways with exit ramps, most ramps are on the RHS (at least for LHD motorists) so additional right hand curves are presented as exit ramps, driving up the number of RH curves for the typical US driver.
 
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To get back to the topic of vehicle size. I have to wonder about vehicle height. There has been a trend to make pickup trucks and SUV's very high, it seems to me that this would not only tend to make the vehicle Top Heavy (and increase the chance of a roll over) But also tend to 'override' any normal height vehicle it runs into. I'm sure this could effect car v SUV crash statistics. I have seen some 4x4's with bumpers virtually at my windshield height! There was a big thing in the 70's with Bumper height regulations, I guess this did not apply to Trucks and commercial vehicles, and SUV's have come under the same exception. I have also noted in Europe Semi trailers are fitted with side skirts and shock absorbing rear bumpers, extending low to prevent a passenger car running under the truck frame. Seems to make a lot of sense!
 
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 Originally Posted By: ekpolk
 Originally Posted By: ShiningArcanine
. . . I think that if someone exceeds the speed limit by more than 10 mph, his vehicle should be confiscated and either sold at auction or parted out. The only way people will learn to drive within the speed limits will be if exceeding them results in the loss of their vehicles, especially when they are still making payments on them. . . .
Just imagine where interest rates on car loans would go if the bankers realized they faced loss of the security on their loans if borrowers were caught speeding. And of course, the rental car industry would likely collapse. But it's still an interesting idea. I'm right with you on the concept that those who won't follow the law need to face consequences that will correct their behavior the first time, and deter others as well. And it would be particularly nice if effective enforcement of meaningful laws happened to have a safety benefit as well...
The banks already face the loss of their security if the owner of the vehicle is in a severe collision. The same goes for a home when the owner does something stupid enough that it burns down. This is why we have insurance for both cars and homes, although I doubt that insurance companies are willing to insure cars for the case where the owner gets it confiscated.
 
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 Originally Posted By: ShiningArcanine
. . . The banks already face the loss of their security if the owner of the vehicle is in a severe collision. The same goes for a home when the owner does something stupid enough that it burns down. This is why we have insurance for both cars and homes, although I doubt that insurance companies are willing to insure cars for the case where the owner gets it confiscated.
No, that's incorrect. Banks do NOT face loss of security if the vehicle is in a severe collision. They will never allow your car to go uninsured, thus risking their security. Read your loan's fine print. In most cases, they will have the right to purchase insurance themselves (for collision/comp) and add the cost to your loan, if they find out that you've allowed your coverage to lapse. The lenders will aggressively protect themselves, and make you pay for it. By contrast, as you correctly note, you'll have a very, very difficult time purchasing insurance to cover the loss of your car as a result of a misconduct-based confiscation. Won't happen. Again, on a gut level, I appreciate the idea of such a law, but it won't happen for many reasons, one of which would be if it were ever proposed, the banking industry would descend upon it with their lobbyists like a swarm of hungry locusts.
 
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 Originally Posted By: brianl703
 Originally Posted By: ShiningArcanine
At least they were going at 65 to 70 mph. On roads here, I have been at 1 mph on occasion because of the traffic.
That happened a few times in Germany too, on roads with no speed limit. The point is, though, get someone driving slow in the left lane and watch it mess traffic up. At least in the USA you can pass them on the right, legally. Not so in Germany.
It happens rarely that someone clings to the left lane on the Autobahn or any multilane high-speed road. Loss of license if you get caught, not to mention you will likely die the first time you try such stupidity. Even on the Autobahn and multilane Bundesstraßen (Federal Highways), if the left lane traffic is getting slow or stopping, you may pass (or rather proceed) in a right lane, although your speed must be reasonable. However, you must never pass a slower vehicle on the right while being yourself in an Autobahn exit lane.
 
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In Greece drivers were supposed to be reactive to people coming up behind them. On a two lane road if someone comes up on you, you're supposed to get halfway on the right shoulder to let them pass you while they're halfway in the on-coming lane. Drivers coming head on react and get on their right shoulder. These people pay attention. No cell phones or messing around while driving. Only problem is they totally rely on the oncoming cars to move over and that's probably why I saw so many head on collisions. From what I saw the little fender benders are less than normal but fatalities are normal. I saw what I thought was a subcompact that looked like it had been turned inside out. There was a big patch of skin haning off of what I think was the dash (I have a weak stomach and nearly puked). It was a surprise when I found a BMW badge stuck to some unknown body panel. I was just thinking back to when I used to go to the Sonic drive in every weekend to look at cars and pick up races. We had the "show" crowd with old hot rods and Corvettes (they never race) and the street racing crowd on the opposite side which I usually was in and consisted of mostly American muscle. On any given day you had tons of 12 and 11 second cars with a few 10 second and sometimes faster cars. Funny thing is everyone drove through the parking lot at idle and behaved themselves. Then every now and then we would get a chain of ricers driving through that would almost run people over, rev the motors at us and do a poor attempt at a burnout in a small crowded parking lot. Bad thing to do with a bunch of rednecks. By the time we got done with them they would drive by on the main street and rev and take off.
 
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Long wheelbase, low center of gravity and weighs 4500-lbs; add fully independent suspension, AWD, and good design: Charger/300 is a good point-of-departure, IMO, as a basically safe car. The old E-Class Mercedes chassis and E-Matic drive. Other cars "show" even better, some worse and some flat terrible. Yes, there are adjustments for age, etc. http://www.informedforlife.org/ The site has explanations of how it uses the data provided by others. Pretty nice work.
 
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"I love how good highways get screwed up with a bunch of useless traffic lights, expertly timed by Mrs. Wilson's kindergarten class." I call roads with untimed lights 'red light districts', which sometimes gets another question of 'oh yeah, where is it again ?' :^) In addition it's a political philosophy issue, as roads that interrupt a main flow of traffic for one car to turn are socialist dictatorships, since in a straight democracy the one car would have to wait until the traffic slowed down enough to make the turn, the majority of drivers having the right of way.
 
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 Originally Posted By: Spitty
To get back to the topic of vehicle size. I have to wonder about vehicle height. There has been a trend to make pickup trucks and SUV's very high, it seems to me that this would not only tend to make the vehicle Top Heavy (and increase the chance of a roll over) But also tend to 'override' any normal height vehicle it runs into. I'm sure this could effect car v SUV crash statistics. I have seen some 4x4's with bumpers virtually at my windshield height! There was a big thing in the 70's with Bumper height regulations, I guess this did not apply to Trucks and commercial vehicles, and SUV's have come under the same exception. I have also noted in Europe Semi trailers are fitted with side skirts and shock absorbing rear bumpers, extending low to prevent a passenger car running under the truck frame. Seems to make a lot of sense!
very good comments I really get upset with lift kits on trucks due to the change of bumper hights .Law enforcement seems unwilling and ignorant of the laws or dangers of the modifications.
 
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 Originally Posted By: brianl703
That's because outside of North America, "knowing how to drive"=safety. Here in North America we have better things to do than worry about how we drive (like talking on cell phones) so we need big vehicles to keep us safe.
Actually, most European countries have a higher rate of accidents and death related to car accidents then the USA. Spain, Italy, and France especially are worse then the USA for traffic accidents...Portugal too..and the Eastern Block countries are even worse.
 
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