The conundrum

stovebolt

As someone who has been playing with cars all of
my adult life I sometimes try to tackle one of
lifes unanswerable questions. Are our cars really
safe?

You may quickly reply that they are. But if that
is true why do still have traffic fatalities? Those
of us who grew up before the seat belt law when
wing windows were the everyman’s air conditioning
system remember a slower pace.

Remember older rusty cars, cars belching blue
smoke, and cars with loose steering wandering
around the road? Cracked windshields, bad brakes,
faulty wiring with lights that only worked half the
time also shared the road with us yet we survived.

There was also a lot less of us out and about back
in the day when all the stores closed at 5 pm and
our business districts were deserted after dark.
But does our 24/7 lifestyle add to the problem?

We don’t believe so and there are too many things
that compound our daily drive to stay competitive
in this rat race we call life. Back in the day we
had the gauges and an AM radio to distract us.

Today we have cell phones, display panels, in car
DVD players and more vying for our attention. To
offset that we have little noises that alert us if
we’re too close to another vehicle, air bags, and
ABS brakes. And more people on our roads and
streets traveling faster than ever.

While I was in the service a Senior Chief asked me
if I was afraid of my motorcycle and I said “no”. He
told me that if it wasn’t afraid of it I should
sell it or my attitude would end up killing me. At
the time I thought him crazy but have since seen
the wisdom in his words.

Could it be our cars are now too safe and we are
no longer leery of the dangers? Our cars practically
drive themselves, yet we still have accidents. Could
it be that too many of us put too much faith that the
fluffy little clouds called air bags will save us?

Those of us who remember manual steering, manual
transmissions, and blind spots 3 miles wide tend
to believe the problem isn’t the cars but the
nuts behind the wheel. But that is only an opinion.
The question may never be answered.
Comments are always welcome.

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4 Responses to The conundrum

  1. Brittius says:

    Serious issues. Today, high tech cars/low tech drivers. Decades ago, we all did our own wrenching. We understood the mechanical systems and respected them. we operated our machines as if we owned them. Today, leasing. Loud radios. Automatic transmaissions. People race to red lights and slam on the brakes last minute, then accelerate from green lights like they were on the quarter mile track. No brains. They cannot even change a flat tire. Problem with a car, simply trade it in for another. No respect. One of my uncles was a farmer. When I was in high school in aviation mechanics, he would wait for me to travel upstate (NY) to him to tear down, and repair, or lube, his 1954 M-Series John Deere tractor. Same with his Allis-Chalmers, and McCormick tractors, plus all of the attachments. At that time, my father owned a 1965 Mack C-Model tandem with a Quad-Box transmission. I was the flat tire repair monkey, the grease monkey, the fuel monkey, the wash and wax monkey. If I ever drove too much like a teenager, a swift backhand smack. I learned. We also knew as young adult parents, to use our hand and arm as a passenger restraint. Cheap tires meant 30 mph. Better tires were for highway use. Front end bushings, people today, think they are indestructable and require no maintenance. What, they ask, is a Zerk itting, then they laugh and say that is from the old days. The smart people of today, are imbeciles in the real world. Impact absorbing technologies, negated, by higher speeds, louder radios, delayed braking as people do not understand speed/distance/weight requires greater braking distances. Brains must observe, then interpret, then command motion. Oops, someone made a mistake and “BANG!”, whip out the insurance information and exchange license information. Cruise, I am damned glad, that I grew up in America, when I did, and the world was full of Common Sense. We are a disappearing breed.

  2. Grumpa Joe says:

    Until car makers design human error from their product, there will be accidents,

  3. cruisin2 says:

    Brittius,
    amen to that. I’m also glad I grew up in the 50s and 60s.

    Grumpa Joe,
    good point. But can that really be factored in? It seems like too many people with too many errors.

  4. Nitrous55 says:

    I prefer now. More options.

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