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.
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.