I was thinking something like the series that Honda offers:
another thing worth considering - a lot of the modern computerized
technology that goes into cars these days doesn't weigh much. and a lot
of already existing installations such as the engine computer can
potentially display information such as safe stopping distances relative
to speed for example. add things like proximity sensors, and suddenly
you have a significant safety tool. use the g-force detectors already
in your air bag computer system, and you could have safe cornering speed
indicators. poor visibility sensors wouldn't cost much. [etc] all
these are potentially very useful in crash avoidance and add little or
even nothing to a vehicle's manufacture cost. and if it did cost
something, it would be easily comparable to 500 extra lbs of processed
now, if you think about the [lack of] government focus on crash
avoidance, vs. weight increasing "crash safety", it's an interesting
exercise. crash avoidance technology doesn't keep body shops in work.
it doesn't keep manufacturers selling new cars after write-offs. and it
doesn't keep insurance companies and all the multitudes of peripheral
people involved with them in work. there's a /huge/ industry built
around people getting into accidents. things that heavy, less
maneuverable cars find it harder to avoid.
sorry,but too much info can be a distraction and lead to LESS safety.
if you need sensors to tell you you're cornering too hard,or you're too
close to the car in front,you should not be driving.
G-Force sensors don't tell you the road surface's condition,which is more
critical to cornering. it won't warn you if you hit an oily,sandy,or icy
An indicator that tells you if there's car in a blind spot would be useful
and practical,though.(although a decent driver should be aware that a
vehcicle was approaching their blind spot)
The IR Heads-Up Display could be good if you're caught in a heavy
fog,BUT,should you be driving in those conditions,or be pulling off the
road as far as you can get?
IMO,cars SHOULD be risky to crash,occupants should NOT be protected against
extreme collisions. I also don't believe cars should be constructed idiot-
proof for the "lowest common denominators";the clueless and
incompetents. Let them walk,take the bus,or other modes of transpo.
Such cars give drivers a sense of invulnerability (witness SUVs) and create
a worse hazard than the "safety" they give the occupants.
Becasue there are 18 wheelers on the roads,does that mean every other
vehicle should be as well armored? I think not. Besides,put an idiot behind
the wheel of a large semi,and you have a REAL hazard to others,both in
vehicles and buildings.
IMO,a driver in a lightweight,unarmored car pays more attention to their
driving AND surroundings so that THEY don't get crunched,because they know
they would not survive a crunch. Thus,everybody is safer.
But don't take this as my being against reasonable safety systems,like
anti-lock brakes,seat belts or airbags.
I also agree with your arguments against unmaneuverable vehicles and
That information shouldn't be sent to the average end user; however,
it's there and the computerized controls can easily be set up to use
them to present a balanced chassis to the average driver, over a very
wide range of conditions. In other words, that information can easily
be used to prevent the driver from getting in over his head.
It exists today--it's called the side mirror.
Most people have their side mirrors set completely wrong, though, and
that's where this idea that "we need electronic doodads to tell us when
there's a car coming up beside us" comes from.
Just set the damn mirrors correctly. If you can't do that, you
shouldn't be driving AT ALL. Once the mirrors are set correctly, both
the side mirrors and the rear view mirror, AND if you're (correctly)
scanning your environment, you will know exactly where every car
is--when it's coming up behind you from the side, when it's beside you,
and when it's passing up front of you on the side.
No electronic doodads required. Just DRIVER TRAINING. Oh--and driver
responsibility, too. Of course, we're America--we can't have THAT! No
sir, it must be the MANUFACTURER'S fault that I didn't know about the
car beside me!
this mirrors thing is complete bullshit. in europe, they have drivers
door mirrors where the inner portion is plane, then the outer portion is
curved convex. the field of view is complete. yet they're neither
seen, not i believe, even allowed in a single piece of glass over here.
for the same retarded reason the passenger door mirror, which is all
convex, has that stupid "objects in mirror are closer than they appear"
message etched on it.
so, why do we continue to suffer from retarded regs that prevent use of
decent mirrors that cover the blind spot from factory? follow the
money. follow who stands to profit from drivers getting into accidents.
that's easy to say, but as you are probably aware, what is common sense
for you doesn't necessarily mean it's common sense for the other people
on the road. i mean, tailgating is pretty much the norm despite it
being ridiculously dangerous. it may not be popular, but a car that
bugged the s*** out of you for being too close for your speed sure would
be a significant safety improvement.
g-force sensors tell you if you're setting up to slide if there's a loss
of traction for the reasons you list.
use a convex mirror. they should be standard on all cars imo.
sure. and in fact, an i.r. sensor/camera would be dirt cheap. the
heads-up display would cost a little more, but if it contained all the
instruments, the incremental cost would be reduced significantly.
there's a lot of logic to that - google "risk compensation". however,
if you're taking the "crash industry" into account, with all the people
that make huge amounts of money off people having crashes and either
repairing or buying new cars, then killing off the customer base doesn't
work. you need to shear your sheep, not skin them.
couldn't agree more.
seat belts, yes. air bags, no. i've said it many times - if we were
taking accident safety seriously, every vehicle would have a full safety
cage, 6-point harness belts, and everyone would wear a helmet. just
like race car drivers that can hit the barrier at 100+ and walk away, no
anti-lock brakes? i don't like them personally. they're great for my
grandmother whose idea of cadence braking is to try to press the pedal
to the floor and just let the car sail on into a death spiral. but for
myself, i like the option of locking brakes in mud or snow, and i know
how to cadence brake in the dry or wet. there's nothing worse than
driving an anti-lock braked car and finding yourself running out of road
because it's not stopping as quickly as an ordinary braked car.
but then again, for some types of motorcycles, they're a life-saver.
hey now, isn't the whole claim to fame of these things that they do
bring you do a stop in the minimum time, exactly by spiking the pedal
and letting the computer work?
I've wondered a bit, now and then when I hit the brakes hard and the
antilock turns on at modest speeds (say 10-30mph) and especially
if the wheels aren't dead-on straight forward, if it wouldn't stop me
faster to lock the wheels, even if that did scrub the front or spin out
the rear, a little.
if you read the vehicle's owner manual, there is a carefully worded
disclaimer about abs increasing braking distances, and waffle about
"stomp and steer".
can abs stop you quicker in ideal circumstances? yes. [marginally].
but can it stop you quicker in /all/ circumstances? definitely not.
but it's a trade. abs offers the ability to implement cheap traction
control, which is beneficial. and the abs sensors can also be used to
detect flat tires that the driver might otherwise miss. and abs is
/definitely/ useful on a heavy land yacht of a car where the driver has
no feel for the brakes or their efficacy. [especially so for big rigs.]
but abs on a small light responsive vehicle where the driver braking
feedback is strong and immediate? i think disadvantages outweigh
But it's not about stopping distance. It's about control--and keeping
the wheels turning while at their optimum traction level for braking at
least allows the driver the ability to turn the car to try to avoid the
some things i've learned:
1. abs is completely ineffective if you happen to have wheels off the
2. abs doesn't help even slightly when you crest a blind hill at speed
only to find some doofus double-parked in your lane and someone else
beside you so you can't change lane.
3. abs is simply dead weight if #2 is related to #1.
problem is,most "drivers" don't even try to avoid an imminent
collision,they stomp and pray. no attempt to steer around or dodge.
most driver's are "straight line" drivers. any curve,and they immediately
slow down,even if not necessary. Particularly SUVs.
maybe "not necessary" with more modern suv's. but the old ones, with
leafspring suspension, you had no choice. anyone who grew up driving
stuff like that is never going to trust a car on a bend ever again.
Their habit of no maneuvering is ingrained in the typical SUV/PU-truck
driver.Even with a better vehicle,they still will not maneuver,just jam on
the brakes and pray.(or ram and count on the airbags.)
One good trend is the "crossover" SUV,that are lowered SUVs,and also have
better suspensions,along with electronic stability controls. They are less
of a hazard to other vehicles.
But your average driver -of most cars- doesn't have any "maneuver
reflex",it's total and blind reliance on brakes.
And a reluctance for cornering.
i've lived in europe, and found their small engined cars taught you a
completely opposite set of driving skills. don't use the brakes unless
you absolutely have to - because to takes so long to get up to speed in
the first place, the last thing you want is to slow down again. this in
turn teaches you the "maneuver reflex" in a big way.
then again, most of their cars handle and can be relied on to maneuver
in the first place - unlike some of the crap we have here. the fact
that it took the frod exploder fiasco and thousands of deaths [corporate
homicides] to finally wean detroit off leaf springs is a complete disgrace.
I want an aluminum car.
the motor's already AL,so's the radiator,the tranny casting is AL,the
wheels,brake calipers and MCs,might as well make the whole car out of AL.
Back in the in 1966 I had a used 64 Jaguar XKE roadster 3.8 -- the curb
weight on that car was right around 2500 lbs. Of course, no power anything,
a/c, safety devices etc. That car could really handle and run (most of the
time). Poor electrics and it would tend to overheat in Texas when in town.
We have come a long way I suppose when a Civic weighs several hundred lbs
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