Sunday Column: Corey Isolda’s – Safety First?

ABS, ASR, TRAC, TPMS, CPU, ESD, SAS, RSC, PB, PCD, LDW, IVD, IC, ICC, EMP, ESC, ESR, EBV, EBS, EARS, DRP, DSC, CC, ALSD…

The list continues on and on (and on and on and on!). Now many of us do not make much out of this list of letters?  We recognise a few abbreviations as car equipment, but in fact all of this equipment is standard on cars today! There are hundreds of electrical gizmos calculating our every move at the steering wheel, waiting to save us from our next mistake or to just dull the ride of our cars. Of course, we are thankful for many of these devices and wouldn’t let our families into a car without them. The question is do we really need them? Or are we being wrapped up in a huge ball of automotive cotton wool?

Driving old cars as daily runners seems to of become a taboo as of late, you will instantly hear chimes of ,‘but that hasn’t got an airbag!’, as soon as you mention the idea! Now I am not suggesting airbags aren’t a worthwhile piece of kit, they save hundreds of lives. Why do people treat cars without airbags as if they are more dangerous than a game of Russian roulette? For years people drove cars without airbags, and are they all dead? No.

Are the cars still around? Yes.

It seems everyone is in a quest to buy the biggest, safest car they possibly can. Everyone desires a Chelsea tractor for their yummy mummy to pop Waitrose in, but I believe this causes more of a problem. People seem to have the idea that 4×4’s are the safest thing around, but in my opinion you are just as likely to die in a crash as you are in an Austin A30. Take this situation for example, I am driving at 50mph on a B-road in my shiny new Chelsea tractor, when all of a sudden something runs out in front, I swerve to avoid it, yank the wheel hard. Bang. The car is rolling and my necks broken due to g-force even though the air bags are deployed, the roof still is relatively in shape, but I am dead or severely brain-damaged. If I was in my old car I’d have just flown into bush and hoped for the best, and yes I may still be dead. Oh dear, this isn’t looking too good for me!

Safe 4×4?

So I have established car crashes kill you and if my old car had an airbag when I crashed into the bush I’d probably be ok, but what about if I’m in my safe car.  For example, a BMW 3 series and a generic city car pulls out of a turning without warning, with no time to stop I crash into the side of the car, all the safety devices worked, seatbelt pretensioner’s and airbags deployed.  I get out of the car fine, but poor old John Smith in his city car is dead from the side impact.  In any car he probably wouldn’t have stood a chance as what is there to really protect you from a side impact? I mean how many cars have side airbags?

Big safe car-good for you-VERY BAD FOR OTHERS!

Many people will not probably not agree with that argument, and that is fine, my other point is does all this equipment on cars actually better our experience? How many new cars give you that fun bit of slide or under steer anymore without cutting in with electrical assistance? Is it really fun to have the car drive you? l can be certain of one thing, I’m going cold turkey on the gizmo’s, live on a knife-edge, the wild side, I’d rather enjoy my car with many risks than worry about how it will save me from hairy situations. I’ll just do my best to avoid them! Heck, when does anything fun in life not have risks? Skydiving, roller coasters, motorsports, skiing, snowboarding, white water rafting, bmx’s, mountain biking, surfing, mountain climbing, scuba diving…you see we live on risk, fight or flight, next time your browsing the classifieds-sod the NCAP rating!

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