- Cut & pasted here from the SEVA email list -
On Jul 25, 2008, at 11:24 AM, John Windberg wrote:
What I would like to do is encourage less responsible drivers, who
don't really understand how to properly control a larger vehicle, and
are thus less safe in then, to buy Camrys or similar. It would be
safer for them, and for others on the road.
It does seem there are more of them out there every day.
In the mean time, I drive a little biddy car with almost no blind
spots, and I feel much safer in it then I do driving my truck.
I read a similar story about the design of the PT cruiser. They were
contemplating a great big rear window instead of the little round
portal window it came with. They let people drive cars with both
versions. Most people said they "felt safer" in the one with the small
window, probably as no one could look in. In reality the big window is
safer as it drastically reduces the blind spot.
I want real safety, not perceived safety even if it increases sales.
On Fri, Jul 25, 2008 at 11:17 AM, Ken Hunt <firstname.lastname@example.org
Nice email John!
I didn't read every word but skimmed each of the articles you presented. One
day I'd like to look into this in more detail. The basic thing I get from
this is that SUVs are not safer, but they are not more dangerous either -
the rollover risk cancels out the higher safety rating of regular crashes.
Just like folks that try to say flying is safer than driving...there is a
bit of trickery in the numbers. If you got in a plane and took a little trip
1000 times every year for 25 years, I think you'd crash at least once...er
only once. You almost never crash, but if you do...forget it, your dead. I'm
not saying that SUVs are like this, I'm saying that the numbers are always
displayed to support a specific point of view, with an intended reaction
from their audience.
I think part of it is you have to take each person and put them in the
different situation. For example, many of the accidents and rollovers cited
in the links below are related to bad weather driving / snow / ice etc.
People that get cocky and overdrive their Broncos & Blazers (yes, these were
quoted in the article by a tow truck driver, not imports), and end up in the
ditch and or turned upside down. Stay with me here. I have an SUV, and I
have driven it A lot (for these parts anyhow) in the snow & ice, and I've
had scary moments, but NEVER came close to any rollover situation. Not even
close. I don't overdrive it, I realize I have a lot to stop, and it is
harder to stop....it means I go slower, and have a larger (extremely)
following distance, and I always have a way out. When driving in snow I am
always ready to veer to the side of the road to get more traction (from snow
as opposed to compact ice) or prepared to take it off road to avoid
colliding with another car etc. Some times I decide the down hill is too
steep and I won't go that route. You have to make these kind of decisions.
A couple years ago we had a storm hit right at rush hour...I was with my
kids in Maltby...It took me 5 hours to get home to Redmond. I passed
probably 500 cars on the sides of the roads, including abandoned cars on 405
etc. The roads that day went almost to ice immediately. I had to go up union
hill road, which if you know of it, it is steep, windy, poor site distance,
etc. I was one of the minority that made it. People were sliding back down
the hill running into other cars, some parts of the hill was so littered
with cars (and SUVS of course) I could barely squeeze through. I didn't have
chains, but I took each hill, each corner, each mile as serious. I knew I
could get stranded with my kids several miles from home in the cold....I'm
not saying I'm a great driver, I'm saying that a lot of other folks just
seem to do things that after they do it, they say...why did I do that?
I'm not saying that I will never be in a rollover accident in an SUV, but I
am saying that I am aware of the dangers, and my driving takes into
consideration these things. I feel safer in and SUV than in a low slung car,
and I honestly feel that I am safer. It will take a lot more data than the
marginal numbers in these studies to change my mind. If you are a careless
driver, then you will do less damage in a collision if you are in a smaller
car. So if the folks that drive SUVs because they "drive like a car" but are
up higher to be safe...then maybe they should drive a car. But until they
do, I will increase my seeing distance, put more metal around me, and be
safer in my SUV.
Remember the insurance commercial...cars don't cause accidents, people do. I
could go on and on (yes, even more), but I have other things to do today
I may do some research in the comming weeks though for a different
perspective of the numbers
On Fri, Jul 25, 2008 at 10:34 AM, John Windberg <email@example.com
Yup, I hear the argument all the time.
"There are things you just cannot avoid."
I counter that with the actual studies and statistics out there.
If you increase the number of times you actually can avoid an accident
by driving a smaller car you will statistically reduce your potential
If you research the statistics, larger vehicles result in more injuries.
Certainly, larger vehicles result in fewer injuries per collision, but
I would much rather not have the collisions in the first place, and
I'd go with the actual statistics of what is really safer.
Sure, wearing a bullet proof vest is safer, if you are going to get
shot, but not getting shot in the first place is even safer.
Driving a great big SUV increases your potential for getting in a
multi car collision, thus increasing your potential for injury.
The Myth of SUV Safety Superiorityhttp://www.emagazine.com/view/?3032
SUV safety myth: children just as safe in carshttp://www.terrapass.com/blog/posts/suv-safety-myth
The myth of SUV safetyhttp://www.southphillyreview.com/view_article.php?id=136
Children No Safer in SUVs Than in Passenger Carshttp://www.mindfully.org/Health/2006/SUVs-No-Safer3jan06.htm
Is Bigger Safer? It Ain't Necessarily Sohttp://enews.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/EETD-SUV-Safety.htmlhttp://enews.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/EETD-SUV-Safety-newWin.html
SUV's safer than cars? Now you can throw that myth out the windowhttp://www.autospies.com/news/SUV-s-safer-than-cars-Now-you-can-throw-that-myth-out-the-window-4814/
I'm finding studies from Pennsylvania to Australia, some done by
safety organizations, others by governments, others by auto
organizations. Every one of them says the same thing, statistically,
larger vehicles are no safer.
Even the US department of transportation lists the Toyota Camry at the
safest vehicle out there. You want to be safe, drive a Camry.
I put the statement, "Larger vehicles are safer" in the same list as
other "common sense" phrases as:
Alternative power could never power the base grid.
Batteries will never get good enough to power cars.
The earth is flat.
Objects of different weight fall at different speeds, proportionately
to their weight.
I use my common sense to make a supposition, but I don't even believe
my common sense until I find actual proof, and one incident is not
On Fri, Jul 25, 2008 at 10:07 AM, Ken Hunt <firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, John - I'd much rather not be in a collision in the first place.
I stated before, there are just so many bad drivers out there. The first
(and only major collision) I was in was when I was 20 years ago when I
driving down Broadway in Everett, and someone punched it at a red light
hit my car as I was going through the intersection. There was no way for
to avoid it...I've driven through thousands of green lights, there is
so much you can do before you have to trust that people are not going to
stupid things. The lady who hit my car, which sent me up on the sidewalk
into a store (it was closed, and no one was hurt), was drunk, and just a
block from her house...It's a good thing me and my passengers were
seatbelts...it was pretty scary though - the alarm went off on the store
(very loud), and the big glass window to the showroom shattered all over
sidewalk...if anyone was on the sidewalk, they would have not
So avoidance is the preferred route, but there is a fair amount out of
control. The truth is, it can happen to anyone.
On Fri, Jul 25, 2008 at 6:54 AM, John Windberg <email@example.com
Sure, when two cards collide, I'd rather be in the safer one, but
wouldn't you much rather not be in a collision in the first place?
On Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 11:22 PM, Ken Hunt <firstname.lastname@example.org
So many things to say...too bad this wasn't all on the forum! Ok, off
So I agree with Dan on this one...I don't care what you say about how
small car is, when a metro meets a yukon, I'd rather be in the 7
As for the 4x4s in the snow...it's sort of like the stock market has
So many newbies have gotten in to day trading, having to invest in
plans, walked into stock options etc, that the markets instability
often based on knee jerk reactions that are not even based on
you are going to invest, that is what you have to deal with. So many
folks who have never driven a stick - never driven that old car with
breaks, thinks all cars have computer controlled traction control
can't hardly break my wifes 4runners tires from the road - even in
rain)...and of course they think they can out maneuver anybody b/c
tires & 4WD. Well, yes, they get over confident, and over drive their
vehicles...and end up in the ditch. SUVS used to known as Sport
Vehciles, and like JEEPs, were for the adventurous outdoorsy type.
Tom Dick & Harriet has one...and they are big & heavy, and take a
to stop in snow / ice. I am just fortunate that I actually can drive
around here...because I learned to drive in a cheap small car, and
lots of cheap pick ups / cars in bad weather...Somewhere down the
people forgot that driving is actually a very serious responsibility,
you need to pay attention, be careful, and of course know your
limitations and never lose control of it.
My 2 cents.
On Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 11:06 PM, Dan Bentler
I dont care too much about getting in an accident
BUT I do care about survivability and being able to walk away
To paraphrase from sailboating experience "TONNAGE HAS RIGHT OF WAY"
in other words in a collision a freighter will survive but a 30'
has big problems.
Collision between low slung sportscar and high slung SUV or 4 x 4 I
be in the high slung rig.
SUV vs Kenworth with 50' trailer and GVW of 55 ton put me in the KW
KW vs 250 ton bridge well I would rather be on the bridge.
The problem with lots of 4 x 4 drivers is YES they go better in the
BUT they have exactly the same braking characteristics as a 2 wheel
Yes I laugh at the 4 x 4s in the ditch when it snows also especially
they just passed me doin 50.
----- Original Message ----
From: John Windberg <email@example.com
Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2008 10:52:18 PM
Subject: Re: [seva] Utilities say grid can handle rechargeable cars
And here is one of the largest myths about large vehicles, that they
Check the statistics, smaller cars are much safer, primarily because
they get in accidents far less as they are much easier to control.
Try driving from SF to Tahoe sometime, all the vehicles off the road
in the ditches are SUV's, small cars drive right past them.
Most large SUVs are also only held to truck safety standards, actual
cars have higher standards to live up to.