Stay safer in an older Saab!
Well, we’re now in the 21st Century and things in this great country of ours are bound to get more unfair for the everyday motorist. The Government has made no secret about its contempt for the older larger car. Astronomical fuel taxation, a road tax hike for anyone who dares drive a car with an engine bigger than 1800cc and tax on car parking spaces at work, not to mention city centres closed to PLG vehicles. It seems that nothing would make Tony Blair happier than to see us all running around in motorised tin cans, or micro-cars as they’re more commonly known.
Such vehicles are already a common sight on the roads today with their wonderful fuel consumption figures and their funky looks but the truth of the matter is that we, the general populars, have been deliberately mis-informed about the safety of such cars in an accident. They apparently did well in their crash tests but there is a quintessential piece of information that the testers and manufacturer’s haven’t come clean about, a fact that will undoubtedly make you think twice before buying a Ford KA, a Deandomatiz or a Daihatsu Move, and it’s all to do with the way in which cars are crash tested.
The theory involved in crash testing, is straight forward enough: run said car into a large immovable object, say a great big piece of concrete, a work out, with the help of crash test dummies, whether the passengers would get out alive. Simple enough but here’s the problem: in such tests the only kinetic energies (weight and velocity energies that must be dissipated, usually into a deforming crumple zone, for the vehicle to be able to come to a halt) that these cars have to absorb are their own.
Yes, but that’s no different to any other car in such a test, I hear you cry, and on that front I would agree but the thing about having a road accident is that you can’t choose what you crash into. In a perfect, Tony Blair endorsed world there would be nothing but micro-cars on the road so this particular safety element wouldn’t be an issue.
The truth, however, is that there are a lot of large cars on the road, very large cars, like the Volvo 940 for example, or the BMW 7, or the Audi A8. In a real world accident a silly little micro car not only has to absorb its own kinetic energies but possibly also the kinetic energies of a substantially larger car coming in the other direction. The larger the car, the more kinetic energies that must be dispersed. Crash said BMW 7 into a Daewoo Matiz at any speed above 25 mph for both vehicles and the passengers in the Daewoo just wouldn’t stand a chance.
However well designed, however well built, micro-cars just cannot absorb that much kinetic energy in an accident. OK, so it would be no different than hitting a bus or a truck in a normal car, but the chances of being killed or seriously injured in such an accident rocket skyward the smaller the car you drive. The smaller the car, the more vulnerable you are because your car is smaller than a larger percentage of the vehicles on the road. My ultimate point is that these cars save you money but, is that saving worth the risk to you and your passengers?
The Government seem to think so, but then they think that the public transport system is working so well that it can easily cope with double the amount of passengers; they think that a privatised rail network is miles better than a publicly run system and they honesty believe that their ridiculous levels of HGV and diesel taxes don’t affect the Country’s economy or unemployment figures.
The truth is that it feels like you take your life in your hands every time you use public transport. You’ll probably arrive late, there will be no buffet car and, if you have to use the lavatory, you’ll have to stand in half-an-inch of someone else’s pee to do so!
Safety has now, it would seem, become a luxury, a luxury that only the well-off can afford because most people are no longer allowed to buy a medium to large car, be it new or secondhand, without being taxed to death by a Government who have lost touch with people who have to drive and live to survive.
We are just a statistic to them. We, it would seem, are the expendable masses. We don’t deserve a fighting chance in an accident because we can’t afford to run a safer car thanks to their ridiculous road and fuel taxes. And I thought the Labour Party provided Government by the people, for the people. I thought that was the ethics at the core of the Labour Party. Just goes to show how wrong you can be!