Newer cars a lot safer? Worth the expense?

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I have a 1991 Honda Civic and it runs well, but I feel like I should probably buy a newer car with airbags for more safety in a crash. Another reason I might want to buy another car is that mine is small.
A larger car would probably provide additional protection. On the other hand, if I keep my current car I'd save money. Does anyone think it's not necessarily worthy spending the money for a bigger car with airbags?
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Some helpful details would include what type of driving you do, whom you carry in the car, besides yourself, how many miles a year you put on the car, and whether you're stupid enough not to wear a seat belt.
Jeff
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I always wear my seat belt. I would think that even if you wear it, an airbag is going to provide a lot of added protection.
I drive under 12,000 miles/year. I drive to work an average of only about once a week. When I do drive, to work or anywhere; my trip usually is 30 minutes or longer each way.

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Here is a thread you might find of interest, it is in a Hybrid group but, physics is physics....the newer Civic is, according to the epa, hybrid or not, one of, if not the cleanest running cars on the road right now as well as one of the safest.
http://www.greenhybrid.com/discuss/f13/heavier-doesnt-mean-safer-17024/#post161264

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I also had a '91 Civic and was happy to "upgrade" to a '97 at least because it had front airbags and ABS. My '04 Accord has front, side, and side curtain bags, and ABS... I wish it had traction control, and will look forward to one day having a car with that feature. So it does appear later model cars are safer. I often hear Tom and Ray advising against an older car for new drivers for that reason.
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I too have a 1991 Civic that runs well. A year or so ago I was thinking of buying a 1999 or more recent Civic. I priced the auto insurance for a newer car. Despite the newer car's higher value, the auto insurance was less by a fair amount. Ten percent or so? Can't remember, but your current auto insurer should be happy to quote you the figure. I asked what was behind this. My insurer said all the safety features of the newer car. I think the insurance companies back this up with statistics.
As to whether it's worth the extra piece of mind, I reckon that's up to each individual.
I do not speed. I am not out gallavantin' at 2 AM or similar. Lately I do almost all [western] city driving (ugh). So a high speed, and hence more dangerous, crash might be said to be less likely. My Civic is very maneuverable compared to SUVs and other large cars. Overall, I feel safe driving it. The fuel mileage is great, too.

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote in

Air bags may have no overall effect at all in safety. Offsetting behavior is a confounding factor in computing their effectivelness. See the book "True Odds", chapter 10, By James Walsh. Merritt Publishing, 1996.

A larger car is undoubtedly safer than a smaller one. You are safer in a large car with no seat belt than you are in a small one with a seat belt.

I don't think it's necessary. The probability of being involved in a fatal or greviously injurious collision is remote.
Overall, it's about 1 in 60 if you drive 10,000 miles every year for your whole life, but that's misleading, since the figure (from the NHTSA, 1993) includes all drunks and 16 year-olds as well.
Personally, I've covered well over half a million miles since I started driving. By the NHTSA's figures, I should be dead now.
--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

great car.

if that is truly a concern, wear a helmet. seriously. if transport safety authorities were serious about safety, helmets and 5-point seat belts would be mandatory.

these are not airbag issues, but they are "should i buy a more modern car or look at the big picture" issues:
1. paradoxically, the gas savings of more efficient modern engines are offset by much heavier modern cars, so no benefit there.
2. heavier cars are harder to stop, given that tire sizes are the same and thus available braking traction is the same.
3. modern cars consume more resources in their manufacture.
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On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 20:00:13 -0800, jim beam wrote:

Will a helmet keep the steering column from piercing your chest?
Will a helmet keep your neck and ribs from snapping when that SUV hits you directly on the driver's door at 60mph?
The answer to both questions is "NO". An airbag likely would, though.
I wouldn't drive, or let any member of my family drive, a vehicle without airbags. Yeah, we all used to do it "back in the day", but things change. There's just no good reason to not have them now. Not to mention the fact that the roads are crowded with inattentive morons talking on cell phones while driving 20+ MPH over the speed limit, and driving the biggest vehicle they (can't) afford. An airbag is a necessity.

We're talking safety here, not gas mileage. Would you rather be safe(r), or save $0.23 on a trip across town?

Tire sizes are generally quite a bit wider now-a-days than they used to be, not to mention the existence of ABS. Today's cars can stop *MUCH* better than a car of 15-20 years ago.

That's beyond our control, and not a factor in anything.
--
"Ubuntu" -- an African word, meaning "Slackware is too hard for me".


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Dan C wrote:

untrue. there are no air bags in race cars. race cars can crash at 150+ and the driver walks away because [s]he's properly restrained. 5-point belts and helmets will save many more lives than airbags.

that's a function of suspension, not desire to improve braking. you need wider tires with macpherson strut to make up for its geometrical shortcomings. the disadvantage of wider tires is more gas consumption and more tendency to aquaplane in rain or slide on loose surfaces.
not to mention the existence of ABS. Today's cars can stop *MUCH*

untrue. they can help a driver stop under certain conditions where inexperience or lack of skill may be a problem, but in many situations, anti-lock braking distances can be longer than stock brakes. check your owners manual.

if we make it, we control it. by definition.

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On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 22:03:35 -0800, jim beam wrote:

Jesus, you really are clueless. There's more to it than belts and helmets. There are roll cages, kill switches, fuel cells, and more, in a race car. Can you see the normal citizen putting on a full-face helmet and attaching a 5-point harness every time they make a trip to the grocery store? Get real. Try to speak in relation to reality for a change.

Nice try at dodging the issue. Wider tires also assist braking due to more surface area contacting the road. Simple physics, man.

Wrong again. You really don't understand much, do you?

The point was that we as consumers, can't control that aspect. If you want a new car, you buy a new car. You can't buy a "new" 1985 model just because you want something that was made with "less resources".
--
"Ubuntu" -- an African word, meaning "Slackware is too hard for me".


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No, he's right about that. ABS helps the driver keep control. ABS does NOT in and of itself automagically shorten braking distance under all conditions.
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Dan C wrote:

i'm pointing out that if safety were the real objective, harnesses and helmets are the way to go - because they are much more effective. what you're exhibiting is personal dislike - but that's not engineering analysis.

for dry clean road. but in the circumstances i outlined, wider tires can be a problem because the larger contact area decreases the ground pressure and thus ability to retain contact.

i stated fact - check your owners manual.

yes we can - we absolutely control what we buy.

you can if you want to. i prefer older vehicles for the above reasons, so i drive older vehicles. concept seems simple to me.
and the correct english is "fewer resources".
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Dan C wrote:

I have to respectfully disagree with you on the airbag being a necessity. I was properly restrained in my accident, and the damn airbag did MORE damage to me than the accident did. Of course, I was blowing my horn when the moron crossed the center line and hit me, but nonetheless, the airbag sprained the hell out of my wrist and left me with some scars that will probably never go away.
This is what the car looked like post accident, as seen in another post: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8891294@N04/2258118240 /
I will try to find a better picture of what my arm looked like post accident.
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Nothing is perfect is all situations. In this case the airbag did more harm than good, but would you agree that in many situations an airbag can protect you from serious injury; and that you are better off with it than without it?

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

if you're a small person with short arms that drives hunched over the wheel, the airbag will be a benefit. but if you're a larger person that sits back from the wheel, and who wears their belt, properly adjusted, the airbag is of little or no value. the way to avoid injury is to prevent the person colliding with the vehicle's interior. airbags kinda sorta help with that, but not as effectively as a helmet and belts. again, that's why race cars [that tend to crash at higher speeds than normal road users] use the latter system.

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jim beam wrote:

I am 5'11" and I work out. I was told that my wrist or arm should have been broken by the airbag since I was blowing the horn when it deployed. I was also told that the reason my wrist/arm was not broken was due to the fact that I am a "big guy" even though I don't think of myself as that big.
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My mother has been in the insurance industry for the last 30 years . She has extensive experience in the claims division. She says she can't tell enough people to wear their seatbelt. She's seen countless accidents where the person in the car wearing a seatbelt walked away from the crash. Whereas the other person in the vehicle is dead because they chose not to wear a seatbelt. Airbags do make a HUGE difference,but without a seatbelt they're pracically useless. Look at crash ratings to see which car has better ratings. Smaller doesn't neccessarily mean less safe. If a smaller car has better crumple zones than a bigger car does. The smaller car will generally be more safe because the car is design to 'absorb' the impact. Google safety ratings for the model your interested in.
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On Feb 16, 1:35am, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Private Private) wrote:

every weekend there's some fatal crash reported in the paper here. at least half the time, the victim is thrown from the vehicle. i figure that means they're not wearing their belts.
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yeah, i was looking at a civic si yesterday; 190 hp, but 2900 lbs. and that still makes it one of the lighter cars out there, even at its size range. but that compares to 2400 lbs for my 92. weirdly, the other car i was looking at was an acura rx, only 2800 lbs. when did hondas get heavier than acuras? and 201 hp.
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