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Saturday, March 05, 2005


"Safety" is a kind of interesting idea. Really, no vehicle is any safer than any other. When manufacturers try to sell the "safety" of a vehicle, they are always citing how much damage is done to the vehicle, and sometimes how much is done to the people inside. Their math is a bit questionable at times, as well. I've seen some independent reports that show that mini-vans as a whole are more likely to be involved in an injurious accident. But the fact that they are minivans has nothing to do with it.

The truly safest vehicles are those driven by safe drivers. Safe drivers (especially those who have taken defensive driving courses), driving smaller and more agile vehicles are less likely to ever get in an accident to begin with. The argument that you can never really prepare for everything out there is often made. In commercial driving, however, they use a different set of standards when it comes to the "fault" of an accident. Rather than just going with what a police report says, most companies that center around commercial driving (trucking companies, taxi companies, etc), have their own investigators who assess any accidents in a far more revealing way. They ask from the start, what their driver could have done to avoid the accident all together. Did the driver need to be driving in that location? Was the driver tired? Was the radio on? There a million factors that can go into an accident. Some are big, and some minute. The idea, however, is to train yourself to all-out avoid unnecessary circumstances. The fact that it's "the other guys fault" isn't much consolation if you or your children are laid up in a hospital bed or worse.

I don't know much about the vehicles you mentioned, but my response is to recommend that you check out their breaking abilities and turn ratios.

There is an excellent article on why we think vehicles are safe when they really are not at http://www.gladwell.com/2004/2004_01_12_a_suv.html

Although it's kind of SUV centered, it examines the psychology that goes into determining safety, and really has some very revealing statistics.

Thanks Andy for the interesting insight. I'll have to read the article when I get back from a couple days off.

I agree that driving a smaller car is safer in terms of avoiding an accident. I much prefer driving them -- I like their quick maneuverability -- but there are other issues that make me want to go to a bigger vehicle.

For example, the Echo is so small and there are so many SUVs on the road that I could lose my entire family in one accident. I drive some of the busiest freeways in the world every day, and about once a month I get passed by someone driving so recklessly and so fast that even the best driver would have trouble avoiding disaster.

I also see 1 or 2 updside down cars a month. They are of all makes, big and small, though I see SUVs most. I've never seen an overturned mini van to date, though I'm sure it happens. Still, I do believe the data that says they're safer than most SUVs.

When a pickup truck pulled out in front of my Acura, which was moving at 35 miles per hour, I T-boned the guy. His truck was so high I watched as his passenger door moved closer and closer to my face. If I'd been doing 45 and hit him, I would have been decapitated.

Although I consider myself an alert driver, I'm pretty sure that there was little I could have done to avoid this one. He flew out of a blind spot and left me less than a second to react.

Once my kids are grown and out of the house, maybe I'll feel more comfortable with a smaller car. Or maybe if I can find a way out of the big city and I'm not surrounded by maniacs and Hummers. In the meantime, I perfer to delude myself that the larger minivan will provide a small measure of extra protection for my wife and kids.

It's good you have made a list what are you looking for.This is very important when buying new car.And this way you wouldn't depend on the advisors in the store.

Having a site like this with the most reliable cars of the year listed down is going to be helpful for those who are looking forward to buying their first family car. You're right about that roadster thing, and it kinda relates to the saying, "It's better to be safe than sorry."

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