An automotive arms race?

The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers.
~Dave Barry

Apparently my car can be “deadly.” For me, anyway. A lot of people feel that smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles are less safe for occupants than larger, heavier vehicles.

Naturally, as a driver of a small car (I often describe it as “paper-mâché”), I don’t feel that my car’s safety is a result of a poor vehicle choice on my end. I know damn good and well that in a collision with a Chevy Suburban, my Nissan Versa and I are going to come out the losers. Then again, I also ride a bicycle, and bicycle vs. anything (including the Smart Fortwo) is also a losing scenario for me. And just to add potential insult to potential injury death, I walk a lot. I’d lose to even the bicycle, then.

But I refuse to join the automotive arms race. I like getting good gas mileage, and I like not putting other vehicles and their occupants in danger because I want to come out on top. But my personal safety isn’t very high up on my List o’ Important Shit. (See also my views regarding “national security.”)

All this means is that when driving my car, I can’t screw up. Bicycling helps with this…when on a bicycle, you can NOT take anything for granted. I can’t assume that a driver has seen me, or will stop for me. This also means I love to use my horn. Try to fling your weight around in another vehicle, and you’ll be sure to hear exactly what a Versa’s horn sounds like. Beep.

4 Responses to “An automotive arms race?”

  1. Dargon Says:

    I just bought a motorcycle, your Versa will win against me. Of course, I understand that risk and I’ll take it.

    That being said, paying attention on the road is something people need to do more, bicycle or Hummer H2. I cannot count the number of times I have seen some idiot swerving back and forth across the road, only to see them texting as I fly past. Sure, you screw up in that Sherman tank and you’ll be fine, but will you be okay with your repair bills, or even worse, hurting or killing someone?

    Unfortunately, these idiot drivers only keep the feedback cycle making people feel at risk on the road, thus getting big, safe feeling vehicles. Not sure how to fix this, aside from taking the risk myself.

    • Self-driving cars.

      • Dargon Says:

        I’ve heard some interesting things about those. A lot of the newer features in cars, like auto-park, the thing that auto slows down if you get too close to the guy in front of you, or the thing that keeps you in your lane, those are less to help the driver and more to get the driver more and more comfortable with the idea of the self-driving car.

        Personally, as someone who loves driving, I don’t want me one of those.

      • That idea makes the crackpot in me scream bloody murder.

        I’d say I don’t trust a computer to drive my car, but considering how many times I’ve probably unknowingly put my life in the hands of a computer before, I shouldn’t.

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