Wednesday, April 15

Protect Your Wallet? Protect Yourself?

I am all for going green and protecting our environment, but what about protecting ourselves? Ever since these so called "Smart" cars have come out I can't help but wonder if people are thinking of their wallets over safety. It doesn't take a genius to see that these cars are not a smart idea at all. Sure they save you money on gas and help with global warming. You might as well just be driving a motorcycle because you are getting the same protection.

Yesterday, April 14th, 2009 the IIHS released the crash test ratings and video for 3 of the most common smart cars. It really didn't surprise me. There is just no way these cars can stand up to any sort of vehicle in any type of crash.

Laws of physics prevail: The Honda Fit, Smart Fortwo, and Toyota Yaris are good performers in the Institute's frontal offset barrier test, but all three are poor performers in the frontal collisions with midsize cars. These results reflect the laws of the physical universe, specifically principles related to force and distance.

Although the physics of frontal car crashes usually are described in terms of what happens to the vehicles, injuries depend on the forces that act on the occupants, and these forces are affected by two key physical factors. One is the weight of a crashing vehicle, which determines how much its velocity will change during impact. The greater the change, the greater the forces on the people inside and the higher the injury risk. The second factor is vehicle size, specifically the distance from the front of a vehicle to its occupant compartment. The longer this is, the lower the forces on the occupants.

Size and weight affect injury likelihood in all kinds of crashes. In a collision involving two vehicles that differ in size and weight, the people in the smaller, lighter vehicle will be at a disadvantage. The bigger, heavier vehicle will push the smaller, lighter one backward during the impact. This means there will be less force on the occupants of the heavier vehicle and more on the people in the lighter vehicle. Greater force means greater risk, so the likelihood of injury goes up in the smaller, lighter vehicle.

Crash statistics confirm this. The death rate in 1-3-year-old minicars in multiple-vehicle crashes during 2007 was almost twice as high as the rate in very large cars.

I just can't understand why anyone would want to be put in that sort of danger just to save a few dollars. If you want to help with the environment try getting a bigger hybrid car. They may not be AS environmentally friendly, but it's better than nothing.

In the video, the IIHS released, the Smartcar actually went airborne and did a 450 degree turn around. The entire front of the car was gone. Absolutely zero hope for survival in something like this if you were in a head on collision of any sort. Is it really worth it? Is it really a good idea, these cars? I am just not convinced. There is just no upside to owning one of these, in my opinion. Like I said, I'm all for going green, but not at my life's expense.

To read the entire crash test rating article visit the IIHS site by clicking the link.


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