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Why are we so afraid?

@Volvo V70, I’m not sure the phrase responsible parenting should be applied to that particular case. They’re afraid of an MGB so they gave her a 5 Star rated sedan to drive and which she promptly drove into the back of a semi truck within 2 weeks?

So the 5 Star car is designed to save someone from themselves after giving their driving habits carte blanche…

@ok4450 I agree; a mandatory course in defensive driving should be part of getting a driver’s license. Cars are very safe, and that’s a good thing as Martha Stewart would say. But when a “trained” law enforcement officer in L.A. does not know how to stop a Toyota Camry by simply turning off the key during this “unintended acceleration” episode, I wonder what type of training this guy got.

It’s getting now where the car gets all the blame, not the big nut behind the wheel.

Ok4450, if Volvo’s neighbor’s 16 year old daughter had been driving an MGB instead of a modern sedan, she’d be dead instead of okay. It would have been a horrible tragedy instead of an accident. I commend Volvo’s neighbor for using good sense. Volvo’s post illustrates beautifully why I would not have wanted one of my kids driving an old Brit ragtop. I love them too much to put their fun higher on the priorities list than their safety.

You have to remember that Volvos aren’t safe, they are only safer. I’ll take a ride in a '64 VW driven by a sober and sane driver over a ride in a Volvo driven by an idiot any day. The safest cars are the ones that don’t crash.

At 15 I took drivers ed in high school and thought I was the hottest driver ever on the road with my learners permit. As I was turning 16 my family moved to a different state that didn’t allow a license until age 17 and which had horridly high insurance rates. Well, I had to wait to drive again until age 20. I was sooooo groused at the “unfairness” of it.

The summer I turned 20 my mom taught me to drive, starting out from the basics all over again. (She had learned to drive from a professional test driver for the Packard Motor Car Co. on the Packard proving grounds so she made a rather excellent driving teacher herself!) On the third day of driving lessons I suddenly realized what a dramatic difference my entire driving judgment, coordination, and safer performance had courtesy of a few years more maturity. And at that point I stopped being sour about having had to wait for a license and driving.

Some kids are ready to drive at an earlier age than others. Those I knew in college who grew up on farms and ranches where they began driving trucks and heavy equipment on the farm or ranch and on rural farm to market roads could drive circles around the rest of us and do so darn safely. Those of us who grew up strictly in the city where teen rite of passage was seeing how idiotic we could be with cars were far more likely to get in major accidents.

“School boards have to coddle and cushion kids so they can’t possibly hurt themselves, lest they be sued by neurotic parents.”

My daughter ran head long into just about every pole on the playground during recess when she was in elementary school, and that was 10 years ago. They made no effort to pad the poles, and we made no effort to sue them.

I count myself as fortunate to have a mom who let us do things that would be considered too dangerous today by most people.
“What are you kids doing in there?”
“We’re making gunpowder.”
“You need to do that outside.”

People are concerned about safety, and post questions. I don’t see it as a matter of being afraid but looking into choices that provide less risk. I am not one of those people, but do not post safety is over rated posts.

Sure I was ok except for a sore knee from where it hit the light knob, and some scratches on my forehead from where I busted the windsheild, and a sore left pinky from something after hitting a car that turned left in front of me while going through a green light at an intersection at 45 mph, 71 nova, no airbags, and no seat belt, and know 2 people broadsided, sustaining serious injuries, broken hip etc. because of wearing a seat belt, as the officer in each case said their injuries were worse because of the seat belt.

It does not mean I advocate less safe cars, or practices, but I am not going to criticize any one who cares.

I am not loosing any sleep over my airbag being up for a recall, but am thinking I should probably try and avoid accidents until it is fixed :slight_smile:

I’ll say this. Im 28 and can vividly recall the kids whos parents kept the tightest leash, went the wildest at their first bit of freedom. Kids have to make their own mistakes, its the only way, but their parents should instill responsibility and pride in their ride. Just about any car can still do 80-100 mph. No matter what engine.

I did some dumb stuff in highschool. Raced, off roaded, drove with legs hanging out the window, etc. You name it. But I drove my parents expedition. I think cars that are sporty cause kids to push them to their limits and beyond. I had a mustang gt when I was 18, and drove that for the following 10 years. Had close calls in that as well. Just lucky I guess.

Kids have to respect what it means to drive and the reality of it. They should drive lackluster vehicles, and be taught to maintain it, and take pride in it, and maybe insentivise them that if they show responsibility then they can earn something cooler for the future.

I am reminded of the differences between cultures. In the USA we have high safety standards for one real reason. WE CAN AFFORD THEM. Poor nations cannot. They are lucky to have a car at all, rather than riding in the back of a pickup.

In the 90’s before the first grandchild was born, we had a family reunion in our house in Mexico City. I had to make 8 trips to the airport to pick up and send off family members, since everyone came and went at different times. It was only an hour to the airport so I could.

Some years later, after our new house in the mountains was livable, one daughter suggested a family reunion in that house.

It was most of a day round trip to the airport. So, talking to the oldest daughter, I told her we needed absolute coordination so everyone came and went on the same flight.

I told her the safest way to get everyone back and forth was to sit them in my 2002 Sienna with the two babies on laps. I knew the other choices if the kids had their car seats. It would mean at least two adult men would be stuck on a tiring and much more dangerous trip by various taxis and third rate buses.

My car was a US standards car with good tires and brakes and I was an experienced driver in Mexico.

She said rather haughtily, “My babies are going to have their safety seats.”

I immediately said, “No one is coming to my house.”

She said, “You made that decision all by yourself?”

I said, “Yes.” And that was the end of that. She apparently thought her opinions were the only ones which counted. Even though she knew little or nothing about life in Mexico. And, she was willing to put the husbands into great discomfort and risk to make her babies only modestly more safe.

Though safety was the big issue, I also knew she was going to be whining I needed to make a long trip to the nearest big city to get the Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs her kids were used to eating, or something similar. All around not a desirable plan.

There is another viewpoint as well. We work hard to keep our kids from any possible injury, in some schools they can’t even play tag or similar games.

Then they take guns and try to kill each other.

Daughters protected by daddy to the maximum degree mess up their lives with marital problems.

In shopping for a new car, I now find myself having a hard time looking past the IIHS top safety picks. Especially when it comes to recommending a new vehicle for my parents, if something is not a top safety pick I almost immediately stop looking at it. I like the Honda CR-V, but after seeing the results of the crash tests where it didn’t get the best rating, I can’t rationalize buying one until they redesign it and make it at least perform better in the tests.

I’m definitely a safety nerd. I have always been deeply embedded in the “cars are deadly” camp, so I’m very interested in getting something as safe as possible. And I agree with the folks who say defensive driving should be part of Driver’s Ed. Heck, I think everyone should have to take defensive driving every couple of years as a refresher too.

Yes, it is quite possible to go overboard with the safety thing. It seems there’s a tendency of the car company marketers to think “if two airbags is good for sales, 4 air bags is better”. And if “4 is better, 8 is even better than that”. Safety, it’s a compromise, like anything else in life. Folks can decide for themselves.

When mandated safety systems make new cars so expensive that the middle class finds themselves hanging on to their old clunkers instead of trading them in for new cars, we may be shooting ourselves in the foot when it comes to safety.
I think there is a point where reasonable people will have to say “enough already”.

We are most afraid of the sensationalized stuff. That’s why people who are afraid to fly have no problem with going 80 while driving to the airport. I suspect that in the old west, more cowboys got killed by their horses than by gunplay.


There are plenty of people who will never be able to afford a new car

There are also plenty of people who can’t rationalize buying a new car, because of the massive depreciation

Count me in the second category

Cars are no more expensive than they’ve ever been. If you look at their prices relative to median income, they cost almost exactly the same as they did 50 years ago. And the new car is a lot nicer, safer, and much more complex. People are hanging onto cars not just because they have to, but because cars last so much longer. A ten-year-old car with 150,000 miles on it may still be reliable and in decent condition. We used to have a Civic that old and it never felt worn out and we could have easily afforded a replacement.

“In shopping for a new car, I now find myself having a hard time looking past the IIHS top safety picks. Especially when it comes to recommending a new vehicle for my parents, if something is not a top safety pick I almost immediately stop looking at it. I like the Honda CR-V, but after seeing the results of the crash tests where it didn’t get the best rating, I can’t rationalize buying one until they redesign it and make it at least perform better in the tests.”

@ccatx‌ I hope you don’t mind if I use your example as a springboard for a question I have, especially since you so well explained the mindset that I don’t quite understand.

Are you saying that if you found a car that was affordable, practical, comfortable, fun to drive, and suited your needs you would not buy it if it had a poor crash rating? And that you would perhaps buy a car that was less affordable, practical, comfortable, fun to drive, and suited your needs solely because it had a better crash rating?

What is it that led you to that point?

@irlandes‌ I agree with your point about differences in cultures. It seems we have become so reliant on and expectant of safety devices, especially when it comes to children, that we have sometimes lost sight of the practicality of them.

I’m a young man, 45 years old. In my lifetime we have gone from kids riding 60 miles a day on the highway in the bed of an open pickup to needing to be strapped in like a NASCAR driver.

@asemaster: In part my thought process always goes back to wanting to know I chose one of the safest vehicles available. Although I have not made a buying decision in a long time, I feel like above all else I want to know that I did not compromise on safety when it came to choosing the vehicle that would transport me and those I love the most. I guess I have an overwhelming fear of recommending something to my parents or buying something & then it performs badly in an accident. I’ll compromise on affordability & looks & fun to drive-ness (case in point: I drive a 1999 Subaru Outback now which is doing great at 150,000 miles and I think it’s good-looking but others would not agree & it’s never been much fun to drive). I do need comfort, so that’s not something I’d compromise on.

Examples I’ve looked at:
The CRV is affordable & comfortable but not a top safety pick.
The Forester is a top safety pick but I didn’t really like the ride quality, so now that’s kinda off my list.
The Mercedes GLK had an uncomfortable back seat which kinda ruled that out of the running.
The Volvo XC69/70/90s pretty much meet all of my criteria, but are expensive to buy & probably to maintain (my mechanic doesn’t like working on Volvos).

Now that I put my thinking under the microscope a little it does seem like there is a lot of fear behind it.

There really isn’t a new car out there that I would feel unsafe driving.
Reliability and longevity are the top items on my personal checklist. Well, actually, medical problems have put comfort and ease of access/egress way up there too. I’d love a Miata, but there’s no way I could get into or out of it.

I factor in reliability as a major safety factor. I am out an about in odd hours, sometimes unsafe neighborhoods. Being stuck in those situations is not safe. If I am buying a new car, I would check the ratings, but also am aware that the difference between average and good might not be much. The Mazda CX-9 I have now is not rated very high, but I think its size and weight makes up for it (compared to lets say a RAV 4 or CRV).