Posted May 11 2004 - 07:16 AM
Sorry Drew, I just don't agree. Brainwashing has zero to do with it. Yes SUVs are more prone to rolling. i've already admitted that... That doesn't mean you are any more likely to BE in an accident than anybody else on the road if you drive within the vehicle parameters. ANY vehicle will roll if you drive it in a manner it wasn't designed to be driven. The only accidents I can think of that were CAUSED by the vehicle itself are those relating to defective tires and high speed treadloss. RARE!
Lets face it, the vast majority of accidents are caused BECAUSE people drive the vehicle in an unsafe manner/don't follow the rules of the road. I've never heard of a case where a car just spontaneously rolled over despite the fact it was being driven in a safe manner. SUVs SHOULD NOT be driven like sports cars. SPORTS CARS SHOULD NOT BE DRIVEN LIKE SPORTS CARS. I don't drive that way and neither does my wife. So all we have to do is worry about being hit by one of you... Actually, let me rephrase that... All we have to be worried about is being hit by one of you while you're driving a Tractor-Trailer, School Bus, or Fire Truck. And as far as that goes, Ill take bigger over smaller ANY day. As far as the brakes go, I would put my 13.5 inch ML brakes up against any other car's... Never REALLY had to use them, but its nice to know they're there.
Personally, I think the safest car on the road is the Mercedes Benz S600 Sedan, which outweighs my ML by about 250 pounds... It has a lower center of gravity, thus less likely to roll. Like my car, it also gets about 3 feet to the gallon. It also starts at around 110K. Other than that, both cars are very similar... They are TANKS. Ive seen both, post-high speed accident, and trust me, THESE ARE THE CARS YOU WANT TO BE SITTING IN WHEN THE $HIT HITS THE FAN. Why did I pick the ML??? 1. We needed an SUV. We have a kid and a dog, and routinely need the hauling space for the various projects my wife involves me in... 2. They have GREAT safety ratings even when compared to cars 3. I've actually witnessed one get hit at high speed (50 MPH) from the side by a Crown Vic. (not a small car in itself- more on this later). The Vic front end was DESTROYED. GONE. The ML had a small dent on the lower rear door (where a young child happened to be sitting) and the rear wheel was slightly caved in. The ML may have been totaled for all I know, but I know the occupants probably didn't care at that point. The door was still functional, opened fine, and there was ZERO intrusion into the passenger compartment. The occupants of the ML had no injuries. They were shaken, but not stirred. The Driver of the vic had non-life threatening head and face injuries, requiring an ambulance trip. I told my wife about this incident (we were looking at another brand) and she said "we ought to think about getting that instead..." It stretched our budget, but it was worth it.
For comparison I've also witnessed a Toyota corolla (sp?) T-bone one of those giant U-Haul type ambulances at 50 MPH... Very similar accidents really. Except they had VERY different results... I was on the 11 o'clock news explaining what a HORRENDOUS crash it was and I had to give depositions in the subsequent wrongful death lawsuits. The ambulance was undamaged, however, the cardiac arrest patient in the back did die because the crew could not leave the scene and they had to wait for another rig to transport him. The Toyota's driver was a quad. She was lucky. When I ran up to the car, I could tell she was alive, but I didn't have much hope she would remain that way. I could hear a baby crying in the wreckage, but couldn't see it. The passenger compartment was COMPLETELY caved in and wrapped around the occupants. Gasoline was leaking all over the road, but didn't ignite... i've since learned that car crashes RARELY involve fire, even when the fuel lines are compromised. I didn't even find out what make and model the car was until the deposition because at the time it was unrecognizable. The front end completely intruded into the passager compartment and the impact was so great that when the car BOUNCED off the R.A. it traveled 30 feet in reverse and wrapped around a telephone poll (keep in mind, the R.A. Didn't BUDGE... Didn't MOVE, and had only a scuff mark where she hit it... She might as well have hit a brick wall). Her 8 year old daughter was crushed and killed. Her infant was saved because it was in a car seat, However it took over an hour for them to cut it out of the car... Would the occupants of the Toyota been LESS injured if they were in a bigger vehicle? Beats me... But I know it couldn't have been any worse. What I do know, and what I testified to is, if she hadn't been going 50 in a 35 she might have seen that BIG ASSED ambulance with its lights and sirens creeping through the middle of the intersection... LIKE ALL THE REST OF US DID... I also know the fact that the Toyota "got good mileage" no longer mattered to her.
I have no problem with you driving a smaller vehicle... HAVE AT IT! But leave my vehicel choices alone! don't start pushing for government mandates that cars get X miles to the gallon, because I KNOW the way car manufacturers reach those mandates is by lightening and downsizing. I WANT THE CHOICE. You make yours, Ill make mine, and god willing we'll all be happy with the decision we make free from the other's interference.
Philip- I don't think there are any roadblocks to safely tapping America's considerable oil reserves now, without the tapping process harming the environment. Let's face it, that is not where the environmental harm comes from. It comes in the USE of that oil in automobiles, which many people don't want to see. I understand that... I grew up in Southern California... I KNOW SMOG. I also know its a HELL of a lot better than it was in the 70's and Im told by my parents that smog levels in the 70's were a VAST improvement over the 50's and 60's. In my opinion, cars are clean enough NOW. For some, cars will NEVER be clean enough until they stop running all together.
What we have is three different debates involving energy policy. #1 is "Oil pollutes." This is the argument that latently drives all the other debates on the subject of energy. Fine. I agree, Better MPG does nothing to change that fact and better MPG is what started this thread. In fact better MPG is the LAST thing people who care about smog want to see, because better MPG tends to increase pollution (The higher the avg. MPG, the cheaper the gas; The cheaper the gas, the more we drive; The more we drive, the more we pollute.) Thus, to stop pollution, the internal combustion engine has to be scrapped. Unfortunately, the internal combustion engine still pollutes less than any of the *feasible* alternatives. #2 is "we need to conserve oil because we're running out." No... We're not. There is plenty out there. The only shortages we have are false ones designed to drive up prices. OPEC has never said "oops, the well ran dry." What they say is "we feel like pumping LESS this year than last year... PAY US!" The offered solution to this is, "lets sink billions of dollars into designing something which runs on a different commodity than oil." Again, WHY? We have the better solution to the problem, a free market solution to the problem, which is "lets get back in the game ourselves, so that we're not DEPENDANT on an artificially set price." We could be one of the most significant members of OPEC if we took the cuffs off domestic drilling. There are companies chomping at the bit to tap ANWAR... They don't want tax money, or tax breaks. They don't want handouts. They just want to be allowed to tap one of america's (otherwise useless) natural resources so that the U.S. economy can profit from it. Why don't we let them??? See #1. #3 is "all the oil is in the middle east- If we didn't need it we could withdraw from the region." No... We couldn't. The fact is, oil and natural gas is going to heat homes, power generators and run furnaces throughout the world for generations into the future. Its cheap, reliable, safe, the infrastructure already exists and compared to other things we've come up with, its relatively clean, and getting cleaner. Further, other countries are NOT going to be able to afford to make the switch to the new fangled energy source. We might. But our own energy stability has never been our greatest concern. We get most of our oil and gas from latin america, not the middle east. Our biggest concern with regards to middle east energy is that all those european countries (you remember Europe right? They were the one's who were gracious enough to host the last two World Wars...) who rely on mideast energy much more than we do, have a tendency to get REAL COLD in the winter... Which means a STABLE middle east is a key to geo-political stability throughout the world for as long as we are all here.
There is no magic wand that will make oil & gas irrelevant.
"I'm not an actor, but I play one on TV..."