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Old 06-21-2008, 10:38 AM   #21
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One of the good things about the higher price of gas is that over time we'll have fewer people with your logic around.
Yep, they'll get killed off driving those little cars...
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Old 06-21-2008, 10:54 AM   #22
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Yep, they'll get killed off driving those little cars...
Any way to get peanut butter jelly spew off the screen
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Old 06-21-2008, 11:45 AM   #23
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GRRR!!!!

Just joking, though I sure wish I had Wii Fit. I have been looking all over just for a Wii, so that I can get it set up and THEN have the "privilege" of looking for a Wii Fit. They sure are hard to find! Guess I will just continue to work out at the gym and forget about Wii, for now.
This is another side-effect of the weak dollar. These aren't that hard to find in Europe, which is where most of the supply is going. The strong Euro makes it more profitable to export into that market.
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Old 06-21-2008, 11:52 AM   #24
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36 MPG'S on the Highway! maybe even a little better
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Old 06-21-2008, 12:43 PM   #25
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One of the good things about the higher price of gas is that over time we'll have fewer people with your logic around.
If the playing field were more level, I would be happy to drive a smaller car around. But there are a lot of 4000# and up vehicles on the road, and simple physics indicates that your chances are a lot better in a heavier vehicle if you get in a wreck. And higher gas prices long term would help, but the lifespan of a vehicle is over 10 years, so there will be great hulking SUVs on the roads for many years to come no matter what happens to sales of new ones in the near future.
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Old 06-21-2008, 01:43 PM   #26
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If the playing field were more level, I would be happy to drive a smaller car around. But there are a lot of 4000# and up vehicles on the road, and simple physics indicates that your chances are a lot better in a heavier vehicle if you get in a wreck. And higher gas prices long term would help, but the lifespan of a vehicle is over 10 years, so there will be great hulking SUVs on the roads for many years to come no matter what happens to sales of new ones in the near future.
Do some research and you'll find the size of a car is a minor factor in overall safety. See this link for a visual of crash results for a mini-cooper and Ford F150. Moral of the story is that the safety engineering behind a car is more important than the size and the fatality statistics bear that out. Some of the safest cars out there are subcompacts and some of cars with the highest death rates are for larger cars.

bridger.us » Archive » Crash Testing: MINI Cooper vs Ford F150
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Old 06-21-2008, 01:51 PM   #27
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Moral of the story is that the safety engineering behind a car is more important than the size and the fatality statistics bear that out. Some of the safest cars out there are subcompacts and some of cars with the highest death rates are for larger cars.
As far as death rates go, I would agree that the commonly "perceived" safety of larger cars and trucks is overstated, but there's more to it than that.

I've seen some studies indicate that *on average*, those who are in vehicles that make them feel "bigger" or "safer" are less likely to drive as safely. So that could explain some higher accident statistics for those larger vehicles, or the severity of the accident.
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Old 06-21-2008, 02:41 PM   #28
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Do some research and you'll find the size of a car is a minor factor in overall safety. See this link for a visual of crash results for a mini-cooper and Ford F150. Moral of the story is that the safety engineering behind a car is more important than the size and the fatality statistics bear that out. Some of the safest cars out there are subcompacts and some of cars with the highest death rates are for larger cars.

bridger.us » Archive » Crash Testing: MINI Cooper vs Ford F150
The article says "Now keep in mind that this is not a test of how the two cars would fare in a head-on collision with each-other."

Granted, the mini is impressive in the test, but crashing cars into a barrier is comparable to colliding with a car of the same mass. So this article comes closer to comparing a MINI-MINI crash and an F150-F150 crash.

When I see stats that compare accident/injury/death rates for different types of cars, I wonder how much is correlation vs causation. To take a hypothetical example, if MINI drivers have the same rate of death per distance driven as a larger car, how much of that is due to the type of person who buys a MINI vs the larger car? Does anyone have a link to some stats or articles which try to take this sort of thing into account?
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Old 06-21-2008, 04:09 PM   #29
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The article says "Now keep in mind that this is not a test of how the two cars would fare in a head-on collision with each-other."

Granted, the mini is impressive in the test, but crashing cars into a barrier is comparable to colliding with a car of the same mass. So this article comes closer to comparing a MINI-MINI crash and an F150-F150 crash.

When I see stats that compare accident/injury/death rates for different types of cars, I wonder how much is correlation vs causation. To take a hypothetical example, if MINI drivers have the same rate of death per distance driven as a larger car, how much of that is due to the type of person who buys a MINI vs the larger car? Does anyone have a link to some stats or articles which try to take this sort of thing into account?
Of course you're right, the photos of the crash tests only show how each does running into a brick wall. But my point is that vehicle weight is only one factor and maybe not even a very important one. Given the mini-cooper's superior engineering, would you rather be in the F150 or the mini in a head-on collision? I don't know the answer other than to say that it's not obvious to me which occupant would be better off. The bigger F150 will transfer more force to the mini, but if the mini handles the impact more effeciently, then maybe the mini passenger will be better off?

The issue of auto safety is very complex. Things like safety engineering and driving habits have much to do with who dies in an auto crash. Your question about the driving habits of a person more likely to drive a bigger car is discussed in the New Yorker article that was referenced in my link above, it says

"According to Bradsher, internal industry market research concluded that S.U.V.s tend to be bought by people who are insecure, vain, self-centered, and self-absorbed, who are frequently nervous about their marriages, and who lack confidence in their driving skills."

Well now my wife drives an SUV so don't think I'm trying to pick a fight with about 30% of the US population. But clearly different types of people might gravitate towards certain types or brands of cars and all that can affect driving habits and accident rates.

The article concludes with:

"Are the best performers the biggest and heaviest vehicles on the road? Not at all. Among the safest cars are the midsize imports, like the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. Or consider the extraordinary performance of some subcompacts, like the Volkswagen Jetta. Drivers of the tiny Jetta die at a rate of just forty-seven per million, which is in the same range as drivers of the five-thousand-pound Chevrolet Suburban and almost half that of popular S.U.V. models like the Ford Explorer or the GMC Jimmy. In a head-on crash, an Explorer or a Suburban would crush a Jetta or a Camry. But, clearly, the drivers of Camrys and Jettas are finding a way to avoid head-on crashes with Explorers and Suburbans. The benefits of being nimble–of being in an automobile that’s capable of staying out of trouble–are in many cases greater than the benefits of being big.”
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Old 06-21-2008, 05:36 PM   #30
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36 MPG'S on the Highway! maybe even a little better
Looks nice a nice car. I think that this picture is the 2009 model which should be available this fall.
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Old 06-21-2008, 08:31 PM   #31
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The issue of auto safety is very complex.


The article concludes with:

But, clearly, the drivers of Camrys and Jettas are finding a way to avoid head-on crashes with Explorers and Suburbans. The benefits of being nimble–of being in an automobile that’s capable of staying out of trouble–are in many cases greater than the benefits of being big.”
Well, I see that the article has been picked apart some, and some good analysis has come out of it, so I won't pile on. But I question their conclusion. Another way to look at that list is to sort by 'Driver Deaths' - since different vehicles may normally carry different # of passengers (but they hopefully all have one driver!).

So, when I sort that way, the five safest vehicle types were:

minivan 31
minivan 37
large 40
mid-size 41
S.U.V. 46


And the five most dangerous vehicle types were:

pickup 111
compact 118
subcompact 146
subcompact 158
subcompact 161


And we are talking 3x to 4x the death rate. What would be really interesting is to plot the crash test numbers against that. I'm sure the data is out there.

FWIW, I drive a compact myself most of the time. The one thing that I do is try to limit my miles on the road, that has to be safer. And of course, try to drive safely, which I make a conscience effort to do, but I'm far from perfect, but it should improve your odds.

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Old 06-21-2008, 09:00 PM   #32
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Whenever someone suggests driving smaller cars, someone with a larger vehicle will talk of crushing the smaller vehicle (and killing the people therein).

Is there some sort of escalation involved?

If 40% of the drivers are 8 feet high and 3 tons, does that mean I have to be 9 feet high and 3.5 tons to feel safe?
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Old 06-21-2008, 09:37 PM   #33
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Do some research and you'll find the size of a car is a minor factor in overall safety.
I think you've got the facts very wrong (I hate to be abrupt, but facts are important here)

The crash test programs (e.g. the very good program run by IIHS) almost always compare vehicles in the same weight class. That is because weight is such an important over-riding factor in crash performance (especially against vehicles of different mass) that it would overwhelm most differences caused by good vehicle design, etc.

There are two reasons:
Momentum--you can't repeal this with engineering. If a 4000# chunk crumpleable steel going 60 mph hits a 2000# chunk of crumpleable steel 60 mph head-on (assume a perfectly inelastic collision) , they both end up going the same direction as the 4000# chunk was going, but at 20 mph. In the very brief time of the collision, which chunk endured the bigger acceleration: the chunk that changed velocity by 40 MPH or the one which changed velocity by 80 MPH? Which block would you rather ride in/on?
Space: Heavier cars tend to be more voluminous as well, offering more crush space and crushable structure. Given the same degree of good engineering, that reduces the chances of object intrusion into the passenger compartment and also greatly reduces deceleration forces.

Yes, good engineering and designing for crashworthiness is very important, but weight is also a huge factor.

From the experts:
Weight Matters, Vehicle Weight, weight class
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Weight Class - Statistics show that if two vehicles with the same NHTSA full frontal rating crash into each other head on, but one vehicle weighs twice as much as the other, the occupants of the lighter one (2000 lbs / 909 kgs) are eight times more likely to be killed than the occupants of the heavier vehicle (4000 lbs / 1818 kgs). However, vehicle weight offers no safety advantage or disadvantage in single-vehicle crashes.
Question from figner:
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When I see stats that compare accident/injury/death rates for different types of cars, I wonder how much is correlation vs causation. To take a hypothetical example, if MINI drivers have the same rate of death per distance driven as a larger car, how much of that is due to the type of person who buys a MINI vs the larger car? Does anyone have a link to some stats or articles which try to take this sort of thing into account?
From (derivative source) : Seatbelt Physics
"The U S Department of Transportation keeps data on traffic accidents including the Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) with fatalities since 1975 which number over a half million (averaging 45,000 per year in the US). Each year there are about 18 million property damage crashes with 1.7 million injuries. The risk of accidents for young drivers is greater in all categories of accidents, 18 yr olds having 400% more accidents than 40 yr olds. Analysis of such data permits reasonable estimation of factors which influence safety such as vehicle mass and the use of seatbelts. Some interesting human factors come into play. For example, given a severe crash, the driver of a 900 kg car is about 2.6 times more likely to be killed than the driver of an 1800 kg car. But overall data indicates that 1.7 times as many drivers of 900 kg cars are killed, compared to 1800 kg cars, indicating that drivers of light cars are more cautious and less likely to have such accidents. In seatbelt statistics, it must be factored in that persons who choose not to use seatbelts are more likely to have accidents out of a higher general bent toward risk taking.
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Old 06-22-2008, 04:54 AM   #34
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Do some research and you'll find the size of a car is a minor factor in overall safety. See this link for a visual of crash results for a mini-cooper and Ford F150. Moral of the story is that the safety engineering behind a car is more important than the size and the fatality statistics bear that out. Some of the safest cars out there are subcompacts and some of cars with the highest death rates are for larger cars.

bridger.us » Archive » Crash Testing: MINI Cooper vs Ford F150
Wow. That truck was in bad shape.

However, if both vehicles were doing 40mph and did a head on... there would be more energy and the mass of the F150 is more. It is a little different than hitting a stationary wall.

I would like to see them if they hit each other head on at 40 mph.

I wonder what they each look like if they were tboned by a vehicle?
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Old 06-22-2008, 06:30 AM   #35
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If I remember correctly... there is a video of a smart car and a large Mercedes having a head on.... to show how good the smart car can take a hit... can somebody find it
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Old 06-22-2008, 06:50 AM   #36
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If I remember correctly... there is a video of a smart car and a large Mercedes having a head on.... to show how good the smart car can take a hit... can somebody find it
Is this the video you are thinking of?



What would tell us even more is the instrumented readings of the acceleration forces experienced by the dummies in both cars. Those Smart Car dummies experienced far higher acceleration than the dummies in the Mercedes. Also, careening around the intersection as the car does is not conducive to survival--thar be other cars out thar!
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Old 06-22-2008, 09:24 AM   #37
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I could open the video samclem provided for some reason.

Here is one on youtube.

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Old 06-22-2008, 09:28 AM   #38
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Honda FIT vs Nissan Versa

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Old 06-22-2008, 09:53 AM   #39
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Old 06-22-2008, 11:17 AM   #40
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I could open the video samclem provided for some reason.

Here is one on youtube.

WOW!

Just like samclem said, the larger car gets crunched and comes to a stop within a few feet, the smaller car gets crunched and actually thrown backwards. Obviously a HUGE difference in the g-forces that the occupants would be exposed to.

edit add/ - look at about 0:55 to 1:10 for the best shot, the editing actually makes it hard to follow, not sure my lack of skill in German makes a diff

I wish the safety ratings would include some data on this. I would imagine that the majority of accidents involve hitting something that moves, rather than a brick wall. Although rollovers are probably a big cause of serious injury, so rollover ratings on a car are probably important, and don't involve another car.

It strikes me that lower weight cars really need to have much higher ratings, to help compensate for the mass differences in collisions with other cars. I would think that Smart Car would need a 10 foot crumple zone to match up with that S-Class. But then, it wouldn't fit in that little parking space, would it?

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