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NCBRIJEN

VERY interesting crash test between 1959 and 2009 vehicles

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Naah, you wouldn't love the results of a '59 Cadillac being used in that example instead of a '59 Impala.

Jim

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Yes I would Jim, and Matt we know all that. I wasn't in automotive engineering for 35 years not to know that. Yes I did move off point. I just would like to have seen a result with another 59 GM product for reasons mentioned in my post. It's just curiosity that's all. Nothing to get excited about.

Don

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Let's not miss the point here. Old cars aren't inherently unsafe because of their design, and new cars aren't impregnable safety cages that guarantee survival. However, the design of newer cars improves one's chances of survival

Exactly. Size and other things being equal, a car with crumple zones, air bags, etc. is going to protect you better than the same type of car without them when hitting a similar or immoveable object.

But the video is not about an old car hitting another old car or brick wall. It is about a new car hitting an old one. There are 1-5 star ratings for new cars based on size. Ever see the video of the crash with a Mercedes S Class sending the Smart Car flying around like a soccer ball? Even with top safety ratings, I cannot believe it would be healthy to be in the Smart Car in that accident.

And even though they weren't rated, all old cars would not be 1's even though the 1959 Chevy might be. The 1959 Chevy (3605 lbs) actually weighs about the same as a 2009 Malibu. But many 1950's-1970's cars weigh 5,000 lbs. Almost one and a half times the weight of the Malibu, and then there are new subcompacts with low safety ratings as well. If you take a full-size 5,000 lb. car that was designed like a battering ram and hit a new car designed to crumple, they will both do what they were designed to do. The old one will batter, and the new one will crumple and absorb the energy. But here is the point that everyone misses. The new car will absorb the energy from BOTH cars with its crumple zones. That was my point about the water barrels that got the snide "choose what you hit carefully comments". All the energy will not be passed on to the occupants of the antique car because it will absorbed by the crumple zones of the new one just like the water barrels absorb the impact. I saw that many times when working for a towing company, and experienced it myself with my own cars.

So all old cars are not death traps. And even though Rawja is claiming no one said that, that is exactly what My3Buicks and others here stated. And what many people automatically assume after seeing this video.

Edited by LINC400 (see edit history)

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Let's not miss the point here. Old cars aren't inherently unsafe because of their design, and new cars aren't impregnable safety cages that guarantee survival. However, the design of newer cars improves one's chances of survival substantially. I don't care what kind of old car you're driving, what vintage, or what features it has, it simply won't protect you from physics as well as a newer car, although it may, itself, fare better in a crash. But in a head-on crash at 80 MPH closing speed, who cares? If I can simply survive, I'm calling that a good day. The post-accident condition of my Oldsmobuick's fenders is a distant, distant concern.

Hmmm, me or the car? Is that really a hard decision to make?

I agree, the cars survival is a distant second compared to my concern for my personal safety & that of my passengers.

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Exactly. Size and other things being equal, a car with crumple zones, air bags, etc. is going to protect you better than the same type of car without them when hitting a similar or immoveable object.

But the video is not about an old car hitting another old car or brick wall. It is about a new car hitting an old one. There are 1-5 star ratings for new cars based on size. Ever see the video of the crash with a Mercedes S Class sending the Smart Car flying around like a soccer ball? Even with top safety ratings, I cannot believe it would be healthy to be in the Smart Car in that accident.

And even though they weren't rated, all old cars would not be 1's even though the 1959 Chevy might be. The 1959 Chevy (3605 lbs) actually weighs about the same as a 2009 Malibu. But many 1950's-1970's cars weigh 5,000 lbs. Almost one and a half times the weight of the Malibu, and then there are new subcompacts with low safety ratings as well. If you take a full-size 5,000 lb. car that was designed like a battering ram and hit a new car designed to crumple, they will both do what they were designed to do. The old one will batter, and the new one will crumple and absorb the energy. But here is the point that everyone misses. The new car will absorb the energy from BOTH cars with its crumple zones. That was my point about the water barrels that got the snide "choose what you hit carefully comments". All the energy will not be passed on to the occupants of the antique car because it will absorbed by the crumple zones of the new one just like the water barrels absorb the impact. I saw that many times when working for a towing company, and experienced it myself with my own cars.

So all old cars are not death traps. And even though Rawja is claiming no one said that, that is exactly what My3Buicks and others here stated. And what many people automatically assume after seeing this video.

I was gonna say the same thing, the crumple zones on the new car will benefit passengers in both cars, not just the new one..

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They needed to make two movies. One with two '59 Chevies hitting each other and a second with two Malibu's hitting each other. Then you would have a demonstration of something that might have a 50% of really happening.

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Guest my3buicks
They needed to make two movies. One with two '59 Chevies hitting each other and a second with two Malibu's hitting each other. Then you would have a demonstration of something that might have a 50% of really happening.

Any time we drive our old cars, it's 100% a possibly of an accident like that happening. Much much less chance of us having an accident with another antique car.

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Back in the earlier 1970s, when the "bigger is better" orientation of automotive safety was in evidence, there were some videos which had a Ford LTD (or Galaxie 500) having a head-on "situation" with a Ford Pinto, with a similar Caprice vs. Vega pairing. These weren't done in some laboratory, but in the open air under the light of day. As good as the small vehicles' safety might have been, each one of them got "pushed back" by their larger counterparts. Any surprise?

Now we have some "agency" doing this and receiving money to do it. The prior standards were "barrier collisions" (i.e., brick wall head on). On the videos of these crashes, it's easy to see the energy of the crash moving throughout the body structure, except for the cars designed to the then-European only "offset" collisions . . . where the car would hit the immoveable object in the lh front part of the car, then violently bouce BACKWARD as all of the collision energy was not completely absorbed by the vehicle structure. Although the particular Honda received a good score, that sudden rearward acceleration away from the crash object would make me wonder about how well the internal organs of the occupants might fare!

Prior to the enactment of the side impact standards, there were videos of a car (as in Lincoln Town Car) sliding sideways into "a pole" aligned perfectly with the driver's head (is this a statistical situation or one "for drama"???).

Always seemed interesting that air bags are called "Supplemental Restraint Systems" BUT it is mandatory that you wear a seat belt with them (to ensure that your body position is correct so the bags' deployment don't hurt you). Yet we seem to consider air bags to be "primary".

Certainly, offset collisions can still happen on many highways worldwide, but with the vast investment in divided highways, that possibility of happening should decrease . . . unless somebody manages to drive UP an off ramp. Still, it would seem that full-frontal impacts might become more common.

As for Chrysler Imperials . . . in the early 1980s, I was driving eastbound on US183 headed toward Irving, TX. At that time, the old underpass-runway from Greater Southwest Airport was still over the freeway. This is also where the on ramp for those coming from DFW Airport, headed west, ended . . . with appropriate markings and such. What I saw was a '67 Imperial "impacted" into that piece of vertical concrete at the end of the lane. The body was bowed, with the rear fenders higher than the fronts. There was little crumple space on those Chryslers, between the grille and the core support, not unlike other Chrysler products of that era. With just a lap belt, the driver survived, but later died at the hospital. His estimated impact speed was in the 40mph range. Never did hear if the driver had some medical situation or something else might have caused him to not change lanes.

I'm going to suspect that the point of the video was to "celebrate" the vast improvements in vehicle safety over the past 50 years. I never knew the particular testing agency was around in the early 1970s, much less the 1950s! Still, just a graphic illustration of how vehicles are now safer for their occupants than in prior times -- no more, no less.

As I recall, it was safety lobby groups which pushed for the bumper impact LEGISLATION in the beginning. First it was just the front bumper, then the rear bumper, then side door impact beams were added, then federal side impact collision LEGISLATION. Although many might have known which devices would be needed to achieve particular results, how they were orchestrated was determined by the vehicle manufacturers. The original batch of GM full-size vehicles with Air Bags were, as I recall, put out to let the insurance industry operatives drive them in the real world, in vehicles with "battering ram" bumpers no less.

All of these things come "at a cost". Whereas prior vehicle architectures might have resulted in replacement of body sheet metal and bumper items, saving as much of the vehicle as they could (with heavier-duty frames and such), the focus has moved toward sacrificing the vehicle more and more as weight has become more of an issue, in conjunction with fuel economy and emissions. Making a body structure "brick stiff" takes effective design, which can also add physical weight to the structure at the same time. Then comes the powertrain designers with more efficient engines and "more-gears" transmissions to hit the other governmental targets.

It doesn't matter which era of vehicle either one of the participants of a "meeting" might be in, or even in a "solo" event, as the saying goes, respectfully, "You can't fix stupid". Sometime, somewhere, somebody did something that could get innocent citizens hurt or worse.

"Driver inattention" is the current hot-button issue. Cell phones? Text messages? YIKES!! When the original proposed cell phone restrictions while operating a vehicle were brought up, one of the first people I saw driving and cell phoning was a local police officer. Seems that cell phones are a vital part of their modern activities rather than using their in-car police radios or other communications equipment.

ONLY way to counter "driver inattention" is to drive defensively, just as we were admonished to 50 years ago. Being aware of other drivers around you . . . PLUS, Linc400, watching what's going on behind you, via the in-car rear view mirror. I always stop a good bit farther back then is currently recommended, rotating between the side and ISRV mirror. Gotta keep ALL of them in the rotation, not just sit there and suddenly receive a "Surprise!!"!

In some of the later television driver education programs, from the 1980s as something of a modern adaptation of the 1960s "National Driver's Test", it was graphically noted that if you stop the specified amount behind the vehicle in front of you, then you could well have enough room to inch forward in the case of a suddenly-approaching driver who's now standing on the brake pedal. Be that as it may. (Oh now, here comes another "comment"!!)

Got enough Orville Reddenbacher popping corn, Fred??? Enough popping corn oil, too??

Later,

NTX5467

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ONLY way to counter "driver inattention" is to drive defensively, just as we were admonished to 50 years ago. Being aware of other drivers around you . . . PLUS, Linc400, watching what's going on behind you, via the in-car rear view mirror. I always stop a good bit farther back then is currently recommended, rotating between the side and ISRV mirror. Gotta keep ALL of them in the rotation, not just sit there and suddenly receive a "Surprise!!"!

NTX5467

Oh I see. So when I was stopped at a red light those times with a car in front of me, and a car to the side of me, if I had looked in my rearview mirror to see the car about to hit me, would it have just gone away? Or was some defensive action required on my part, like levitating the car straight up into the air?

And I already mentioned that one area that new cars are sorely lacking in regards to safety is visability. Sit in a new Camaro sometime and tell me how much you are going to see out of it. I wanted to buy one but couldn't believe how lousy the visability was.

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I havent read through all of the threads and I may have even posted on this before... this 59 Chevy crash has been on so many forums and I think its unfair for IIHS (though I applaud their testing on cars as they have became much safer over the years), but this is unfair. They cannot judge all 1959 cars on this one 1959 Chevy and them of all people should know that since they are the experts. ALL cars performed differently. Thats like in the year 1995 when they first started these... you had some excellent performers in 1995 and there were some really lousy performers in 1995. What if in the year 2020 they showed a test of the poorly rated 1995 Dodge Neon against a 2020 car, they cant say all 1995 cars were poor, because cars like the 1995 Toyota Camry and 1995 Chevy Lumina were good performers in this test. In 1990 the Lincoln Town Car and Cadillac Sedan DeVille performed super in these tests.

Also, not sure if it has anything to do with it, but in 1959, Chevy (and Cadillac) used the "X" frame, which had no outer girders in the mid parts of the frame... did this cause the car to be weaker in frontal tests? :confused: Who knows? The 1959 Buick and Oldsmobiles used a full frame (outer girders) which may have strengthened it (the passenger cage). They would/should have tested a 1959 Buick/Oldsmobile, or a 1959 Chrysler or Ford Galaxie before saying all 1959 cars would crumple like this. (though I would hate to see any other nice classics destroyed ;)) Would any of those performed better? I am not saying they would have, but not saying they wouldnt have either, because they were not tested and no one knows. I once seen an old pic of a 1959 Olds that was in a major frontal crash... the passenger part of the car held up very well. By the early 70s, I think they had improved drastically... I seen a pic of a 1973 Chevy Impala wagon that had been hit head on by a milk truck at a high rate of speed... the front end was crushed up severely, but the passenger cage was fully intact and not even any collapse of the A-pillars.... and it was said the driver only had minor injuries. Even in 71 Ford started using the "safety frame" which basically was a "S" design of the front part of the frame to absorb impact.

Still, even if a 59 Buick/Olds had of held up well in the passenger cage area, those cars didnt have the safety features that cars that even starting even as early in the late 60s had, so a newer car would have many advantages.

Anyone agree/disagree or have anything else to add?

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Oh I see. So when I was stopped at a red light those times with a car in front of me, and a car to the side of me, if I had looked in my rearview mirror to see the car about to hit me, would it have just gone away? Or was some defensive action required on my part, like levitating the car straight up into the air?

The current recommendation for how far to stop BEHIND the vehicle in front of you is that you can see where "the rubber meets the road" on the vehicle in front of you. Of course, this can be a variable situation due to hood slopes and heights, but it is still a good guideline. One which can allow you to possibly creep up a few feet if you might see FROM THE ISRV a vehicle approaching from the rear, just to allow them to have a few extra feet to stop. Plus, as you let up on the brake and reapply it, it should also flash your brake lights.

I also know that some driver's are so absorbed in what they are doing, other than driving, that they can be oblivious to warning signs that would otherwise get their attention. About 20 years ago, I saw a young female drive her early-1980s Olds Cutlass hardtop down an open lane of traffic, with BOTH sides of the other lanes stopped for a red light, yet she drove between those long lines of stopped vehicles right into the side of a Texas Electric meter reader F-150 stepside pickup . . . at the posted speed of 40mph. Looked like she never saw that red light of wondered why all of the other lanes of traffic were stopped.

More recently, a local lady happened to drive her late model Chevy Suburban under the back end of a local full-size school bus as it was stopped with all lights flashing, in a lane of traffic on a highway, unloading the few passengers left on the bus. No brake applications on the Suburban, from witness accounts, with an impact speed of about 55mph. The Suburban was a mess, for sure, but her three kids in the second seat were unhurt and the driver had a few bruises. The school bus driver acted according to plans in getting the remaining children off the bus (she thought she saw smoke) safely and expeditiously, calling for help too.

So, watching in the ISRV or side mirrors can help AND be a pro-active procedure to help protect yourself from the actions of others. Visibility of some newer cars might not allow you to maueuver in tight places, using the ISRV alone, but with the ISRV being basically a "center, rearward" device, you might not be able to see closer than 20 feet behind you, at deck lid level, but you CAN still see rearward from it. The rh outside mirror is of the convex orientation, which allows for a wider field of vision which, once you've learned the particular fields of vision, can work better than suspected. The convex rh outside mirror was not available on many older cars, as factory equipment, before about 1979, but GM offered an accessory mirror to attach to the existing flat mirror (which I did for my 1977 Camaro--the adhesive backing is still there after all of these years).

One other item of note . . . the Cougars of that vintage generally had a little heavier-duty frame under them . . . the same hd frame that went under the Torino Elites, as other Torinos got the "normal" frame for Torinos. Still, though, ANY vehicle with the hydraulic energy absorbers between the rear bumper structure and the vehicle frame should have performed just at well as your Cougar did . . . as they were all designed to meet the same Federal standards. The fact that the vehicles which contacted said rear bumper probably looked like they "came apart" were also doing what they were designed to do. And now that you've admitted to accepting multiple payouts . . .

On the www.tirerack.com website are some videos regarding tire tread depth and wet weather stopping distances. First was the full-treaded new tire, then one with 4/32" tread depth (top of the President's head on a USA 25 cent piece), and the third one with the tread wear indicator depth of 2/32" (top of Lincoln's head on the USA 1 cent piece). The results are VERY graphic and educational!

I mention these videos as, with respect to one of the videos, the dialogue goes something like this . . . "How'd you like to look up and see this in your rear view mirror?"

Now . . . IF you were Samantha and driving a '65 Impala, you could wiggle your nose and levitate yourself out of harm's way . . . but ONLY if you saw it coming.

Enjoy!

NTX5467

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NTX, try driving in Chicago sometime. If you leave too much space in front of your car, someone else is just going to pull into it. Or at the very least you will get sworn at and nasty gestures a lot. I imagine the same would hold true in New York, Boston, and plenty of other cities.

Even my driver's ed teacher in high school would comment on some of the films we saw that some of their driving safety guidelines simply would not work in Chicago.

Besides, my car got rear ended while sitting at a red light by a car going 40 mph by police estimates in one of the collisions. So moving up even 10 feet would have accomplished what? I'd get hit at 39.999999 mph? He was too busy texting to bother with braking or paying attention to traffic and lights.

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I'm not defending the flimsy construction of the '59, but reviewing the video again, I noticed that the 2009 was impacted just to the right of center...the 1959 was impacted just to the right of the headlights. Those IIHS boy knew what they were doing to make a point.

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I havent read through all of the threads

Also, not sure if it has anything to do with it, but in 1959, Chevy (and Cadillac) used the "X" frame, which had no outer girders in the mid parts of the frame... did this cause the car to be weaker in frontal tests? :confused: Who knows? The 1959 Buick and Oldsmobiles used a full frame (outer girders) which may have strengthened it (the passenger cage).

Anyone agree/disagree or have anything else to add?

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Guess you didn't. OLDS, Buick, Cadillac have side girders to the X frame and Olds, Pontiac and Cadillac (not sure of Buick) have rear steering, which helps keep the steering column where it's supposed to be, and not help push the firewall/dash and column into the driver like the video shows on the Chevy.

I would like a third test between the 59 Chevy and a 59 Cadillac.

Don

Edited by helfen (see edit history)

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LINC400, you were sitting at a red light and got hit by a vehicle travelling an estimated 40mph? IF you were the first one in line, depending upon your instincts, you might well have driven out of the other driver's way . . . again, depending upon available options, IF you were the first one in line. I suspect that if you were not the first one in line, then your vehicle would have been propelled forward from the force of the impact into whatever vehicle might have been in front of you . . . doing damage to the front of your vehicle and the rear of the other vehicle. Which scenario is accurate? Personally, I believe that if I looked in my rear view mirror (early on, at the time the light turned red, then periodically until vehicles behind me had stopped . . . which I normally do anyway) and saw somebody headed toward me, if I was the first one in line, I think I would have found another place to be, even if it might mean running the light, but looking to make sure what was around me first. IF there were no options, all I might do is hunker down in the seat, make sure the seat belt is tight, and "prepare for landing".

Many "big cities" have their own driving orientations. In some, you don't signal a lane change, you just do it, as another driver will then try to cut you off, as he knows where you're desiring to be. In Houston, many travel guides used to recommend counting to "three" before proceeding on a green light. In the case of Chicago, looks like you need to be aware of what size vehicles are around you so that you can tailor your following distances to not coincide with their size . . . but that would require use of mirrors or even glancing sideways. Otherwise, I've also heard that it's best to use public transportation in Chicago when you can (parking and cost is one reason). Be that as it may . . .

An astute observation, Old-Tank!

DRIVE FRIENDLY, Y'ALL!! Even IF you might not be in Texas!!

NTX5467

Edited by NTX5467 (see edit history)

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I've been rear ended at 40 mph also. It totaled my Ford Ranger. I have also been hit 12 other times. I have a target on me. ALL ACCIDENTS SUCK NO MATTER WHAT YOU ARE DRIVING!!!!!!!!!

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NTX, if you had read my post instead of pontificating what you think you perhaps would have done in my situation if everything had happened in slow motion allowing for tons of time to sit and calculate what perhaps might be the best course of action, you would see that I said there were cars in front, and to the side of me each time I was hit. Don't know how it is in Texas, but in Chicago, we do not have tumbleweeds blowing across the intersection when the light turns red. Even if I had been first, if I had driven out into the intersection, I would have been T-boned by 2 cars (or even semis) in each direction, and possibly the ones behind them. And probably still gotten rear ended. Much less chance of survival getting T-boned 4 or more ways than having one car rear end me. Not to mention the accident would then be my fault instead of the fault of the idiot that hit me. My insurance would drop me instantly, and I don't think I'd get too good of rates with whatever fly-by-night insurance I'd have to get after that. And before you suggest it, we have sidewalks with pedestrians, buildings and plenty of other obstacles to the sides as well. No empty fields to drive into. When you stop, you aren't going anywhere until the light changes.

In the accident where I was hit at 40 mph, my Mark V was indeed shoved into the car in front of it. And I had no injuries, not even a scratch or whiplash. In the Cougar, the car was hit at slightly lower speeds, and the car never moved.

And your suggestion is that I should never drive my cars and just take a bus instead? Sorry but buses do not travel on all streets, and there are none I could take from my house to my job. Maybe I should try to get a job where I work from home, and become a shut in then so I don't get hit? Or maybe I should zig zag continuously so that I can decide which car I want behind me just in case it happens to hit me. Get real, we have TRAFFIC here. You don't get to select what cars or trucks are around you.

Edited by LINC400 (see edit history)

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BOY....? I had no idea that my "interesting video" posting was going to generate such animosity or touch so many folks nerves... how can I remove this posting so we can all in the words of R. King; "all just get along" and play nicely....

As Buick5563 said "ALL ACCIDENTS SUCK NO MATTER WHAT YOU ARE DRIVING!!!!!!!!!"

GO BUICK!!

Edited by NCBRIJEN (see edit history)

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LINC400, you were sitting at a red light and got hit by a vehicle travelling an estimated 40mph? IF you were the first one in line, depending upon your instincts, you might well have driven out of the other driver's way . . . again, depending upon available options, IF you were the first one in line. I suspect that if you were not the first one in line, then your vehicle would have been propelled forward from the force of the impact into whatever vehicle might have been in front of you . . . doing damage to the front of your vehicle and the rear of the other vehicle. Which scenario is accurate? Personally, I believe that if I looked in my rear view mirror (early on, at the time the light turned red, then periodically until vehicles behind me had stopped . . . which I normally do anyway) and saw somebody headed toward me, if I was the first one in line, I think I would have found another place to be, even if it might mean running the light, but looking to make sure what was around me first. IF there were no options, all I might do is hunker down in the seat, make sure the seat belt is tight, and "prepare for landing".

Many "big cities" have their own driving orientations. In some, you don't signal a lane change, you just do it, as another driver will then try to cut you off, as he knows where you're desiring to be. In Houston, many travel guides used to recommend counting to "three" before proceeding on a green light. In the case of Chicago, looks like you need to be aware of what size vehicles are around you so that you can tailor your following distances to not coincide with their size . . . but that would require use of mirrors or even glancing sideways. Otherwise, I've also heard that it's best to use public transportation in Chicago when you can (parking and cost is one reason). Be that as it may . . .

An astute observation, Old-Tank!

DRIVE FRIENDLY, Y'ALL!! Even IF you might not be in Texas!!

NTX5467

I would like to make a comment or two in regard to your comment as well as the film. First, I found this film fascinating, I showed the film back in Dec. 2009, for a presentation I was doing for the Chevy Malibu in a class. Little did I know that the Professor's husband had just died in a head on, anyway, I pointed out a few interesting items, first, the malibu has all new steel and underpinnings and the '59 is old and corroded, no matter how much you keep a car closed in this is still a problem, the metal is not what it was in '59. Secondly, the frame and construction were not the best on those.

Now, to some points brought up here, first, in regards to a rear end collision, I found great insult in the fact of someone saying 'just get out of the way'. That is a stupid statement, when you are rear-ended you are not expecting it, especially when you are at a red light, and typically there is no where to go, and you are at a stop, wheras the other vehicle is rolling, it will take you longer to respond. Secondly the idea of counting to 3 before going through a light is a sound idea, but, not always fool-proof. There was an accident with the driver turning left on a green arrow, he waited plenty of time before going, but, was plowed through by an idiot through the southbound red, who did not even try to stop. The left turning driver, could not see the southbound driver as there were taller vehicles in the closer lanes, so, the middle lane could not be seen until one was turning in front of it. So, the two ideas are preposterous as with the first it is impossible to 'get out of the way' and the second, because there are many other factors, and here in ca people will pass through a long red light, I see it all the time.

As to following distance, it is important to maintain distance, idiots get in there, but, I increase distance, and sometimes, people who are not patient are pissed because I am slower, but, to bad, I get there at the same time they do. All of Nx's postulations suggest that someone has all day to plan for a rear ender! Which, you do not, you have a couple of seconds if any.

Here is what I see:

Cars with horrible vision- My mother's massive Toyota crap suv is like this

Horrible drivers- No patience

Cars which are to fast and shield the occupants from noise

Cars can accelerate too fast

People with not enough insurance or none at all

Too many distractions

Too many SUV's and other tall vehicles, with horrible visibility and the fact that they are taller, and one cannot see past them.

Hopefully, with higher gas prices, more of these people will be off the road!

Edited by 1948Lincoln (see edit history)

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