Worlds Safest Cars – ever

Safest Cars - Volvo

NCAP Vs Driver Safety Vs Safest Cars on the Road

Although there is no doubt that cars with high safety standards are a feather in the manufacturer’s cap it can also be said that many argue about the reliability of some of these cars and indeed, gauging by the number of comments posted by readers on some of the safety reviews, whether statistics are biased or somewhat ambiguous.

We don’t believe that these stats are wholly skewed though as cars with a higher safety spec, often the German marque, do reflect a lower incidence of drivers and passengers succumbing to injuries in the event of an accident. The argument is often more about the vehicle size than safety. The argument is based on smaller cars causing more injuries. Our argument is that it is very seldom the car but always the driver – cars don’t cause accidents, drivers do. Guns don’t shoot people – people do. A driver is not legally entitled to drive a vehicle which is not roadworthy, neither under the influence of narcotics or alcohol.

Safest Cars Vs Safest Drivers

Not wearing a seatbelt is considered illegal in most countries and provinces. A question arising here is whether seatbelts and airbags are interlinked. Of course they are. This question comes up quite often and here we have another dilemma – why aren’t learner drivers taught this at driving school? Any person taking to the road for the first time should have been taught about the differences between AWD, FWD and RWD vehicles, stability and traction control, ABS,  wet weather driving, gravel roads, speed, under and over steer, overtaking and HP versus torque. Not just where the pedals, horn and indicators are located. We know that talking and texting over a cell phone is not a legally entertained practice but what about eating and drinking in a moving car? We need to get this right first and then can talk about what can happen in the event of an accident.

Motor cars are dangerous beasts and the faster one drives the less chance occupants of a vehicle will get out alive in the event of an accident. Which accidents are worse, head on collisions, side or T-boning, rear-ending, overturning or landing in the drink? Most accidents can be avoided by taking the defensive driving approach which then of course includes driving within the speed limit and thinking ahead. Ever notice how some drivers speed up when it rains? Often AWD vehicle drivers are the worst transgressors. And small pickups (empty) with very little traction on the rear wheels.

Driving the Driver

According to the more technical, modern motor cars are driving the driver – the driver becomes reckless knowing that his car can pull him out of a tight spot. This is a dangerous take on any situation.  Motor cars all have a safety margin of safety and a head on collision at 100 mph is not one of them. Braking hard at 100 mph may be fine in a Mercedes AMG but not in a 1995 Ford Escort. Driving under a truck with both vehicles will not leave much behind even at 50 mph. NCAP ratings don’t necessarily expect one to drive under a truck.

Safest Cars - Volvo
Volvo S90 – Manufacturers making a difference

The safest cars on the road today are often the most unreliable. Well this is a view from many armchair critics and gauging by the amount of negative publicity that certain cars have produced it’s an easy conclusion to come to but truth be told we don’t know how often the car gets serviced, how it is driven and neither the condition of the roads.  What we do know is that if one specific car can get 300 000 miles and another of the same type only 20 000 then we need to look at the driver and of course, the old theory about Monday cars. The fact is that modern cars are more reliable than older cars.

Feeling safe with AIDS

Stability control is a proven life saver for countless amount of drivers in SUVs but we’d rather know that the driver is aware of the risks of driving a high center of gravity vehicle at speed rather than him or her relying on an aid. Because that is what it is, an aid. An airbag may save your life but it is useless without a safety belt. Which brings us to the last point: driver safety.

Cars do not lose control, drivers do. Stick to the speed limit, don’t drive intoxicated or suffering from fatigue, adhere to the road traffic signs, keep off dangerous roads, slow down in the rain, ensure that your car is roadworthy and yes, checked by the AA once per year, play by the rules, be courteous, be watchful and alert and then you may be surprised to find that NCAP doesn’t really mean much at all.

The world’s safest cars are only as safe as the driver.

 

 

 

 

 

Do computers make us lazy?

How to become lazy by doing things!

“We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work” – TA Edison

Loading the latest piece of freeware that looks like AutoCAD but isn’t I was enthralled by the complexity, the genius of the software engineers and the ease of use. Much, much later I realised with dismay that we had friends coming around for dinner. Why is it we always friends around for dinner when I am testing out new software? Interestingly enough I am not a design engineer but this software had me enthralled. One month later it still had me wrapped around it’s finger of bits and bytes.

In that month I could have built a bird cage, rebuilt my old Ford engine, gone to the movies, reconnected with old friends and even re-landscaped my garden. I didn’t though because I was stuck behind the screen, as my brother calls it, in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” mode.  Computers are interesting that way, they make us damned lazy. Unless you are using your computer to make money like many do most of us are captivated by the ease of use,  games and other novelties. We use it to “Google” and “Wiki”, we use it to paint, draw and write. We use it to communicate and write blogs, post pictures and troll. All of this at a price.

A computer is a very useful tool in the right hands. It was designed for the user to capture and manipulate data, it was designed to be a tool. Now we have become the tool. We communicate less effectively, we no longer write and we certainly don’t feel the urge to do something constructively once we sit down to jot our memoirs on Facebook. In short we have become freakin’ lazy.  Instead of using time at work constructively, as one is paid to do, we What’sApp friends and family. We “Google” for easy fixes – as if the page will jump out and fix the kettle. There are three things a person needs to know about your common and garden kettle – it has an on/off switch, it heats water and it will make a noise when the water boils or switch off automatically. How many people “Google” for a rapid fire response when their kettle fails. I do! Most probably so do you.

I recently watched a technical video on how to strip and repair an automatic gearbox. I learnt a lot and now when we talk gearboxes I can with absolute authority maintain my own in any conversation. How many people out there are like that?  Those same people have never wielded a spanner nor know the difference between metric and imperial. If ever there is an industry which has been most hard hit by the internet it must be the IT industry. There are now so many computer technicians floating around I wonder often whom is growing the beans? With a few key-strokes and a click of a button we find out which university degrees are hardest to get, read up a little and then become experts.

A few years back I needed some forms to be printed. The lady doing the job dropped the completed forms off and told me with a voice of authority that I need to check my grammar in future. I felt my stomach drop through my butt. She used spell and grammatical usage with what Word had decided and used that instead. One thousand forms written in Computer English.  How many times does one read of the word “loose” being used instead of “lose” and the other favourite, “witch”. Writing a blog now has become rather simple nowadays because most people reading the content will only read one paragraph. I do this with emails, skip over most of the content and think I have enough information to generate an accurate reply.

One wonders how much the use of a computer, the switching on of a TV receiver or the playing of games on a tablet has lead to diabetes and heart disease?  We sit behind a computer these days and do things. That’s what I do. Each and every day. I thought I was the only one until I looked across the sales floor.

I envy those that fix automatic gearboxes and landscape gardens.

“Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.” sci-fi author Robert Heinlein

 

Africa – Our state of manufacture

manufacture - Egyptian Masterpiece

Manufacture – the art of production without slavery

History, if left unchecked has a nasty habit of repeating itself. In the case of Africa this may very well be good news. From our young schooling days we learnt about slavery, the bad guys and the good guys. Depending on which side of the river you sit the bad guys may very well have been good guys. Liberators are the bad guys that become the good guys. In essence if there is one thing that history has taught us is that we cannot get on with our brethren. If there is one thing that evolution has taught us is that we all came from the same seed.  We are taught that Africa has very little history but yet common sense tells us that it can’t be so, Africa is the cradle of mankind. Searching through hundreds of pages on the subject, comprising of white papers and reports, some from highly reputed sources such as KPMG and leading intellectuals, the one that caught my eye was that called Africa before Slavery.

     3. Egypt

One senses that Egypt has always been at war. Although we single out Singapore as being an 8th Wonder in how the nation rebuilt itself under the leadership of Lee Kuan Yew, Egypt has been remarkably resilient, under the control of the British Empire, through WW2, The Six Day and Yom Kippur Wars Egypt has re-invented itself. It is now in the top five African countries showing a strong economical growth and having the most powerful military. Strategically speaking it could very well see itself as being the strongest nation in Africa over the next few years. Will this happen though? Stability and controlling the sea route through the Suez Canal are key drivers.

manufacture - Egyptian Masterpiece
San Stefano – Alexandria
By Realman208 at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4654547

      2. The Republic of South Africa

The Republic of South Africa, previously the strongest of all the African nations economically as well as national defence is fast seeing itself being reduced to junk status, poor governance and high levels of corruption being major causes. The legacy of the apartheid system, current racial tension, militant workers and poor educational levels does not bode well for this country but it’s not all doom and gloom. Natural resources, raw minerals, strong financial sector, an under valued currency and the importance of the east-west trade routes remain critical i it’s survival.

  1. Nigeria

Nigeria is currently the strongest economical component of the African Union. Joining OPEC in the early 1970s did little to grow the nation, then being military run. After two successive wars between 1967 and 1970 left the country under military rule and it was not until 1999 that the country had a new leader, a new democracy. By 1999 revenues were largely just an indicator of what could become,  the return never given back to the nationals to improve housing, education or local business which has left Nigeria with a staggering nominal GDP for an emerging country but an impoverished society. This is changing however.

Democracy and great manufacture are not good bedfellows

Why are these three countries so fundamentally important to Africa as a whole? They aren’t because there’s a host of others but these three are the top players in their field right now, financially and in the state of manufacture (albeit low). Iran hosts some of the top engineers in the world, let alone Africa. If all states of Africa had to have financial discipline, possibly on par with that of the RSA and to be safe as Botswana then we are all in for an interesting ride. Unfortunately cultures, beliefs, greed and corruption get in our way. Democracies are never what we think they are and liberators often end up being jailers.

Many years ago there was talk of the African Monetary Union as having one common currency. Read Is it beneficial for the African Union to have one currency. Idealistically, yes. Realistically we need to look at the EU and their state of manufacture

Skills shortage. Much emphasis was placed on Zimbabweans to get a proper education, thanks to current president Robert Mugabe, a former teacher. In many African regions there is a shortage of broadband and internet facilities, let alone PCs and laptops. Distance learning is of great importance to school goers and university entrants. On a theoretical level this applies to artisans as well. On any level the hands on approach is the most beneficial to get results quickly. Africa lends itself perfectly to the manufacturing of electrical goods, which also implies armature winding, switch gear, conductors, insulators and consumer goods. What about tools? Why do the Germans manufacture the best tools in the world? Africa can too.

Textiles. South Africa was a formidable textile producing country. Unions destroyed this through their militant behaviour. The production of affordable clothing is always a good entry into the world market.

The motor industry. South Africa remains a very large motor manufacturer. Most roads in Africa are conducive to modified two wheelers, designed to be used on difficult terrain. Yet Africa falls short in this area and India has the upper-hand. Kenya may change this with Honda investment.

Africa at War

When driving through the roads of many African countries one gets the feeling of overwhelming hopelessness yet the human spirit endures. People are friendly but are dirt poor. Yet opportunities exist, many more opportunities than in Europe and the USA. Africa is new but it is also very old. Western powers are tired of giving hand-outs. A beggar will never work if he or she doesn’t have to.  Western powers are quick to hand out guns and ammunition and never get tired of this. Yet small boys and girls become killers. One doesn’t have to be a genius to understand the desperate need to prohibit the use of landmines world wide, not just in Africa. There are numerous resources on this horrific practice.  Are there winners after a war? There are many articles written about the influence of the Cold War on Africa – South Africa was not the only one.

Egypt was King

Although Africa has never been known to be a great manufacturer of goods one needs to look at the influences of Islam and Egypt going back centuries. Africa needs to distance itself of the political influences of the west (and east) and go it alone. War in Africa has never been a solution, only a catalyst of destruction. Right now China is brokering deals with African nations to foster partnering in projects. There is no such thing as a free lunch, in this case, a “free road or bridge”.

Educate, Upskill, Build

(Author’s note: One needs to live and work in any country to understand the cultures of the people. Afro Americans do not share the same cultures of the peoples of Nigeria, neither Afro Europeans of Tanzania. If one is white and born in Africa this does not make one a Euro African or Euro South African. I am South African. There are Khoisans living in London whom are British).