Automatic Headlights Don’t Work! And Other Insane Things We Are Calling “SAFETY” In Cars.

Yes, this is a little bit of a rant, but I am hoping it’s also a bit of a wake up for many.  I sell cars for a living, I used to work on an Ambulance cutting people out of cars, more importantly I’m driving every day on roads.

Automatic Headlights don’t work.  Seriously how lazy have we gotten that turning on and off headlights it a reason to spend lots of $$?  Automatic headlights do not come on when it rains or snows during the day.  Did you know that it’s actually a ticketable offense to not have lights on when it’s raining or snowing?  Why are cops not ticketing more people? Most cars these days are black, white, silver, grey or blue and you cannot be seen well without your lights lit.  Yes, the majority of the cars have daytime running lights, but that does nothing for the people behind you.  I have had people pay thousands more because they HAVE TO HAVE automatic headlights.  I don’t understand how it’s so difficult to flip the switch.  For all of you out there during the rain and snow days, I will high beaming you if you do not have lights on.

Let’s talk about blind spot monitoring.  There are some vehicles where it would be a help.  Sports cars, Beetles, many Chryslers, and anything with really no windows.  However I have found that the majority of people looking for that feature are setting up their side view mirrors so they can see the car they are in.  It seems that no one is teaching people how to properly use a car these days.  If you can see the car you are in, you cannot see the lane next to you.  The scariest thing is that I STILL have people trying to merge into me with the monitors.  That’s  because they go off so often the driver becomes numb to them and lazy about looking.  Some manufacturers have started to get smart and only have the blind spot monitor go off when the turn signal is in use.

Lane assist, or staying in the lines.  This is one that I’m not so irritated by.  Too many people are drowsy driving or distracted driving and I can see the benefits of this without it making us les observant of our surroundings.  Rear cross traffic alert is one I can see definite use in, but again fear it will make us a bit less cautious.  Anyone who has ever been parked next to a huge vehicle (that is usually parked poorly because it is so big) can see a use for it.  However will it make us less cautious when pulling out because the tech will be there…. until it isn’t.

Autonomous braking…. really?  You need your car to stop for you?  Now, the purpose for this specific piece of tech is for stop and go traffic in heavily congested areas.  When you are rolling in bumper to bumper traffic and look down at the radio, if traffic suddenly stops it’s there to mitigate or stop an accident.  It is not, however, there to stop you at high speeds.  Two major car manufacturers are currently in litigation because this difference was not clearly stated at the time of purchase.  I had someone come in a few months ago legitimately looking for a car that would stop her husband at 40 mph if her forgot to stop…. TAKE HIS KEYS FROM HIM.  Don’t look for tech to protect someone who should not be on the road.

Beep Beeps with backup camera, why on the planet do you need both.  I had one customer answer, “because what if I’m backing up and not paying attention?”.  My answer, “don’t move the car if you are not paying attention!!!!”.  This is one of the many reasons just as many children are being run over in driveways with backup cameras as without them.  The backup camera is a 4th eyeball and view point, not the only or primary.

These are very heavy projectiles driving down the road and attention is required at all times.  There are enough natural distraction, the view outside or someone driving erratically, that cannot be avoided.  Please explain to me why we are putting tech into cars to make it easier for people to pay less attention?  How is tech, that will eventually fail being hailed as a safety feature and people are eating it up?  Accidents will never be eradicated.  Lets just be clear right now on that fact.  Safety features should only ever be what happens after an accident occurs.  Will my family and I be safe?

There are a few manufacturers that have begun to use the minimum standards on real safety features but added more tech.  What that means is that in the accident you will eventually have, you will not be walking out of that car with minimal damage.  You will be cut out of that car and your family members will spend hours and days crying and begging for you to survive.

I have a cousin who was in a horrific accident.  This is not a speed demon of a kid.  He hydroplaned and hit a tiny pole.  The large 4 door sedan looked like a matchbox toy afterwards and they had to repair his femur and remove organs that were badly damaged.  I had a lot attendant who lost control of a car on his way back from another state (he was probably not sober and he always drove well over the speed limit).  He rolled the car a couple of time, bounced off of a couple of trees, and landed upside down in a river.  He came to work the next day.  The difference in build quality and the safety focus is what created such vastly different outcomes.

Stop being blinded by bells and whistles.  Pay attention, teach your children the right things on the road and it would be great if all new drivers had to drive a stick shift.  You definitely pay more attention that way.  Tech will fail.  Find out about the actual build of the car.  Ask what the manufacturer is hiding under that strip of plastic or rubber on the roof of the car.   That plastic or rubber is hiding the buttons holding your car together.  More buttons, stronger hold.  Very few manufacturers still do laser seam welding.  Think zipper for the side of the car to the roof.  If you have an 800lb man, do you want him in a zippered shirt or a buttoned one?  Zipper, more points of contact and less likely to pop and expose things no one wants to see.  On a side impact or even a roll over, do you want your car zippered of buttoned together?

Removing the spare tires in cars… this is stupid.  If you taco a rim, run flats are not going to do a thing for you.  The inflation and seal kit are useless as well.   Most of all in a rear end collision the spare tire acts like a secondary bumper and absorbs the energy keeping from the occupants.  The energy of a collision is what does the majority of damage to the human body.  We all know impaired drivers have less injuries because they are relaxed and the energy passes right through them.  The victims generally stiffen up and fights the energy causing more damage and injuries.

Our parents and grandparents drove vehicles, that although slower, did not have even a 1/10 of the structural safety that cars of today have.  Yet there were far fewer accidents per driver on the road.  Why, because they paid attention. With 4-8 kids in a tiny Beetle (exaggeration) they had less accidents and injuries because they paid attention.  Why are we trying to create dumber drivers that have to pay less attention?  If you don’t want to pay attention, use Uber or public transportation.  Those of us who do pay attention deserve to get where we are going safely and alive.

On a side note, kids should stay in a 5pt harness until they are 8 or 100lbs.  Even in low speed collisions, a child under 8 or 100 lbs fold in half over a locked seatbelt with a booster seat.  This causes internal injuries where they bleed out in seconds.  Race car drivers have 5pt harnesses.  Don’t our kids deserve to be as safe as possible?

Crash Test for Booster with Seatbelt

Full Weight Adults Seatbelt VS 5 Point Harness


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