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Old 06-23-2008, 06:36 PM   #81
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Just picking up on the overstressed American desk jockey, it makes me wonder who has more stress: Sure, working people do have job-related stress. But, it seems to me that many people who are retired early have enormous amounts of financial stress, and no immediate way of solving their financial problems (unless, of course, they return to being desk jockeys...)

So what good is ER when it entails being constantly stressed about money, and using the term "frugal" to refer to their living on the edge of poverty? Seems to me that many ER people have only exchanged one form of stress for another -- possibly worse -- source of stress.
I cede your point. I'm sure there are ERs living as you describe.
Of the ERs I know, including myself, some of us are indeed sometimes stressed about money.
However, I find my total stress is much less than when I was a desk jockey, because I was stressed about money even when I was working and making a decent wage. I had lots of money, but because I was surrounded by other desk jockeys spending money on clothes and houses and nice cars, I wanted more. This was on top of the job stress, repetitive motion injuries, no time for fun, etc.
But so far I don't have to dumpster dive to survive. If I HAD to, I would not be a happy camper, I agree.
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Old 06-23-2008, 06:53 PM   #82
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The Smart car is a 2-seater car that has about the same length as a motorcycle. (There is no back seat.) I like the funky styling, I like the fact that the body panels are plastic and can be easily replaced when damaged (of if you want to change the colour of the car) and would like to own an electric version of it. There is an electric version on the way, but it doesn't use the latest electric technology, so won't have the performance and the range that would come with using wheel-motors and Altair-Nano batteries. However if it was offered with that technology, it would still have the shortcoming of not being able to transport 5 adults and some luggage, which I need to do a handful of times each year. The other day it occurred to me that the solution would be a closely coupled trailer with a single bench seat, 2 doors, a capacious trunk and an intercom system to communicate with the front. The trailer would be in the same funcky styling and when in use the overall six wheeled vehicle would work like one of those buses with an articulated section, what we in London call "bendy buses."

It wouldn't be necessary to own the trailer, you would just hire it on the handful of occasions you needed it. The Smart car comes in a limited range of colours, so for those who like things to match, looking good wouldn't be difficult to arrange.


OK, so once again I'm behind the times ... sounds great, let's just do it!

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Old 06-23-2008, 07:08 PM   #83
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... using the term "frugal" to refer to their living on the edge of poverty?
seems you are doing that, don't believe others here are.
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Old 06-23-2008, 09:52 PM   #84
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Having survived a motorcycle accident, I will take metal around me anytime.........
and cars have roofs, heat, AC, and radios
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Old 06-24-2008, 03:23 AM   #85
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i saw them in italy over 10 years ago

they are OK if you are single, but even with 1 child they are way too small

i'm actually surprised they made it to the US. we used to joke that they were death traps

Some horrible electric cars are around that are about the same size and shape, and they are death traps. In a recent test the crash test dummy was left in three pieces. I think those cars are only allowed on the roads because they are licensed as a "quadricycle."

The Smart car itself is built by Mercedes Benz and has a Euro NCAP 4 (out of 5) safety rating, which is the same (to take a random example) as the Honda Civic Hybrid. Another reference point: the Nissan Navara pick-up truck only scores 3. A Chrysler Voyager scores only 2. (These figures assume I've interpreted their web-site correctly, I find it a bit confusing.)
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Old 06-24-2008, 10:32 AM   #86
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The lesson for the day is that good engineering, rather than mass, protects you from accidents. My Toyota Prius has a teeny tiny engine compartment, much smaller than most cars. But it still is rated tops for impact protection, because of the way it's designed. Similarly the SMART had a lot of work put in on active and passive safety systems, so it's a decently safe vehicle.
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Old 06-24-2008, 10:50 AM   #87
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free4now, you are missing the point.

TRUE: Big car with good safety design better than Big car with poor safety design.

TRUE: Small car with good safety design better than Small car with poor safety design.

If a Small car with good (or poor) safety design hits a Big car head on, the occupants in the Small car get much higher G-forces - go back and watch the S-Class vs the Smart car linked above.

The difference in G-Forces trump the differences in design. Just like a mediocre Heavyweight boxer can beat an excellent Featherweight.

Yes, the small car might outmaneuver in some cases, but look at those stats I provided, the death rates were much lower in the Mini-Vans compared to compact/subcompact. Those MVs don't maneuver too well. It only goes so far.

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Old 06-24-2008, 11:16 AM   #88
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Yes, the small car might outmaneuver in some cases, but look at those stats I provided, the death rates were much lower in the Mini-Vans compared to compact/subcompact. Those MVs don't maneuver too well. It only goes so far.-ERD50

Definitely true. Small car "maneuverability" is mostly car-enthusiast magazine and advertiser copy. It might be fun, and some things like traction control will help you a lot- but in a wreck, especially vehicle on vehicle, you gotta love iron.

Many wrecks happen so fast that reacting is mostly a fantasy. Your main reaction is going to be autonomic- as in how much do you bleed?

There is a reason why Germans still drive Mercedes, even with the gas prices they pay.

As for me, when it comes to adopting very small cars-“After You , My Dear Alphonse”.

Ha
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Old 06-24-2008, 11:40 AM   #89
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Many wrecks happen so fast that reacting is mostly a fantasy. Your main reaction is going to be autonomic- as in how much do you bleed?
I'm not the best driver in the world and as a result have been in four collision accidents. Three of them occurred before I even realized it, and in the fourth I had a split second to react before impact. My action in that split second was to slam on the brakes which turned out to quadruple the repair costs to my car because instead of hitting bumper to bumper my front bumper went under their rear bumper which crumpled the front part of my engine compartment.

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Old 06-24-2008, 01:03 PM   #90
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If a Small car with good (or poor) safety design hits a Big car head on, the occupants in the Small car get much higher G-forces - go back and watch the S-Class vs the Smart car linked above.
I don't think anyone is denying that.

My point was simply that the crash is even more lop-sided when you substitute a motorcycle for the Smart Car in the S-Class crash, yet reduced crashworthiness is mentioned far less frequently in discussions regarding motorcycles compared to Smart Cars.

It seems as though people assume Smart Cars are actively trying to kill them, yet (the more dangerous) motorcycles enjoy a free pass. I'm just struggling to understand why people would shun a Smart Car, calling it a death-trap, then turn around and hop on a motorcycle without a second thought. Is it hypocrisy? Stupidity? Denial?
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Old 06-24-2008, 01:18 PM   #91
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I wouldn't hesitate to drive a Smart Car....but I don't think I'd ever drive a motorcycle for everyday use just because one wrong move at high speed, say over 60mph, (by you or someone else) and you're pretty much toast. At least in a Smart Car you have a fighting chance. Also, I think people in smaller cars tend to (but not always) drive slower...that helps in two ways...you have more time to react and if you do get into an accident the damage is lesser at the slower speeds.

I do agree though, given a small car with the same safety rating as a large car...people in the larger car will probably come out better. Since this thread was about frugality, the question should be...how much are you willing to pay in higher costs (gas, insurance, vehicle price to begin with) for that extra safety?
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Old 06-24-2008, 01:22 PM   #92
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Agree with kombat and free4now, and also feel that perhaps there is an irrational perception about the smaller cars. Not that they are safer than the larger cars, which as anyone with even a slight background of physics or mechanics will tell you is generally not true, but that the safety of the car is looked as suspicious while those of motorcycles, driving with a cellphone, speeding, tailgating, etc. aren't quite looked at the same.
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Old 06-24-2008, 01:23 PM   #93
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Re big crushes small car -

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Originally Posted by kombat View Post
I don't think anyone is denying that.
I think that maybe free4now was.

Quote:
My point was simply that the crash is even more lop-sided when you substitute a motorcycle for the Smart Car in the S-Class crash, yet reduced crashworthiness is mentioned far less frequently in discussions regarding motorcycles compared to Smart Cars.

It seems as though people assume Smart Cars are actively trying to kill them, yet (the more dangerous) motorcycles enjoy a free pass. I'm just struggling to understand why people would shun a Smart Car, calling it a death-trap, then turn around and hop on a motorcycle without a second thought. Is it hypocrisy? Stupidity? Denial?
I thought that was a very interesting point you made. Made me think. So the law says we can't sell certain vehicles because they don't meet crash standards, yet a vehicle that is much, much worse can be sold (just because it has 2 wheels instead of 4) - it really does not make sense.

If someone wants to take the view that motorcycles are inherently dangerous, so the driver should just accept this.... well, why not accept that some make/model of car is dangerous. Just put a sticker on it.

I imagine it is just a matter of being pragmatic. There are fewer motorcycles on the road, so the law is trying to protect the largest groups? Plus, you couldn't do much other than ban motorcycles (at least as we know them today), and they probably figure they just couldn't get a law like that passed, so they do what they can.

Crazy, yes - but what would you do if you were King? You really want Hell's Angels to come visit you, you know, to give you a little 'advice'?

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Old 06-24-2008, 01:31 PM   #94
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Yet, to what restraints do we pass laws/regulations that disconnect individual's from their own choices?
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Old 06-24-2008, 01:50 PM   #95
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Yet, to what restraints do we pass laws/regulations that disconnect individual's from their own choices?
Yes, I was thinking that as I typed. Kinda off topic from the OP, but...

I am not fond of govt involvement, except where they can do it better than the alternatives. This is probably a good case for that.

An individual interested in better safety doesn't really have that much 'vote with your wallet' impact with the big car companies, unless the vast majority are interested in better safety. I don't think the average person has a good grasp on what makes a car safe or not. So while I'm certain these regulations are flawed and convoluted and maybe even sometimes counter-productive, I'd bet that we are better off with them, than without them.

While the crash test standards are a good way to drive good design, I think those 'annual driver deaths' per cars sold ratio, broken down by car model would be an interesting thing to put on the sticker of every car sold.

Imagine the impact of a big YELLOW sticker like those Energy Star stickers on washing machines:


Quote:

<----- (BEST) ----- NUMBER OF DRIVER DEATHS per 1000,000 CARS SOLD -----(WORST)----->

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[ THIS CAR ]-------


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Old 06-24-2008, 03:08 PM   #96
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My plan is to buy the smallest (highest MPG) vehicle for everyday use, and if I ever want to take a 2 or 3 week road trip I can always rent something bigger if I feel that there is some sort of comfort or safety advantage.
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Old 06-24-2008, 03:09 PM   #97
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the average passenger vehicle typically carries only 1.2 occupants.
I can fit the .2 person in the trunk.

Just jokin' with ya Milton...I agree that they have their place in society. My wife and I have considered one...we'd use it only "in town". I live in a small town where the speed limits rarely are over 35 mph. I know that serious accidents can still happen at that speed too...we always must drive carefully and wear seatbelts.
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Old 06-24-2008, 11:00 PM   #98
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TRUE: Big car with good safety design better than Big car with poor safety design.

TRUE: Small car with good safety design better than Small car with poor safety design.

-ERD50
I thought the issue was is a big car with poor safety design better than small car with good design.

This discussion started because Smart Car was ruled out on safety grounds because of its size, yet Chrysler Voyager (being large) implicitly wasn't. The crash test results (I presume) mean there are accidents where you would walk away if you'd been in a Smart car, but not if you'd been in a Voyager.

Anyone care to post a statistic of what proportion of accidents are head-on collisions? I'm going to guess fewer than 5%. I'm open to correction, but I believe the most common type of accident where you're likely to be injured is where you are hit from the side with your drivers door being the point of contact.

I do vaguely recall seeing a TV program where an extremely large car (jeep or SUV) was test crashed head-on into something half the size, and it was only the driver in the large car who would have had his legs mangled.

Of course in real life no one is torn between a Smart and a Voyager on safety grounds. For most consumers relative safety carries between zero and negligible weight in their choice of vehicle. I think this is rational. Even though crash tests may identify weaknesses in particular models, for 99.9% of us they won't matter as we'll never be in an accident where a different car would have made a difference to the health outcome for us.

Having said that, my parents where glad they were in a Mercedes when a pick-up truck driver wandered over to their side of the road and hit them head-on. They walked away, the truck driver was dead.
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Old 06-25-2008, 12:11 AM   #99
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Of course in real life no one is torn between a Smart and a Voyager on safety grounds. For most consumers relative safety carries between zero and negligible weight in their choice of vehicle. I think this is rational. Even though crash tests may identify weaknesses in particular models, for 99.9% of us they won't matter as we'll never be in an accident where a different car would have made a difference to the health outcome for us.

Having said that, my parents where glad they were in a Mercedes when a pick-up truck driver wandered over to their side of the road and hit them head-on. They walked away, the truck driver was dead.
I think your second point contradicts your prior statement. Start talking to people- I was saved from much worse injuries than I got by having a new, safe car when I was struck first from the side, then head-on by a third car. Your parents had their experience. Talk to your friends- many have been in crashes in a Volvo or other safe car that they very likely would not have survived in an old Corolla, and old Corollas are by no means the worst example. The Institute of Highway Safety gives a different, more real world look than the government tests.

Another intersting thing to do is talk to highway patrol, or EMTs. See what they say about who does best in the many crashed they see- the guy in the old Beetle, or the guy in the SUV?

And you couldn't get me on a motorcycle for anything. Why be hyper-conservative with investments, then ride around on a motorcycle?

Ha
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Old 06-25-2008, 04:14 AM   #100
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I think your second point contradicts your prior statement. Start talking to people- I was saved from much worse injuries than I got by having a new, safe car when I was struck first from the side, then head-on by a third car. Your parents had their experience. Talk to your friends- many have been in crashes in a Volvo or other safe car that they very likely would not have survived in an old Corolla, and old Corollas are by no means the worst example. The Institute of Highway Safety gives a different, more real world look than the government tests.

Another intersting thing to do is talk to highway patrol, or EMTs. See what they say about who does best in the many crashed they see- the guy in the old Beetle, or the guy in the SUV?

And you couldn't get me on a motorcycle for anything. Why be hyper-conservative with investments, then ride around on a motorcycle?

Ha
I kind of agree with you about motorbikes, I had them as transport when I was a student but couldn't ever see myself going back to them.

My parents accident certainly does illustrate that the right car can make a difference, however I never really said otherwise. What I said was that the times when it does are so rare that it's probably not worth worrying about.

If we were concerned about safety at all costs we would never venture out at all. Given that we do, there must come a point where a safety difference between two cars is outweighed by other factors. For example, suppose I had to choose between being lent a Nissan Murano and a Toyota Prius for a year. I've estimated that a years worth of fuel for the Prius would cost me $2400, but for the Murano it would cost me $8300. So I would choose the Prius, even if you proved to me the Murano was safer.

I have absolutely no reservations about the Smart car on safety grounds. My reservations in the past have been purely to do with practicality and value for money. (I don't like to buy cars like BMW's and Mercedese's and Smart cars which suffer from "positive brand image", meaning they are so desirable they are sold at a price that gives you less car for your money. My current car was an extreme case of getting value for money by going for an unpopular brand; I bought it 3 years old for a quarter of what it cost new. The "negative brand image" that allowed me to do this was partly to do with the manufacturer having gone bust a few months earlier, plus the fact that every other model the manufacturer made was inferior to the competition.)

Going back to motorbikes, if my finances now resembled my finances when I was a Student, then I probably would consider them again. Being wealthier enables me to be more cowardly. If Bill Gate's had to face the Murano versus Prius choice, I doubt the fuel costs would sway him towards the Prius.
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