Anorak News | Smoke & Mirrors

Smoke & Mirrors

by | 13th, October 2006

OF course the woman in the giant 4×4 already knows.

As she engages the urban tank’s ‘minefield’ mode and mounts the kerbs, manhole covers and cyclists around Chelsea with enviable ease, she knows that she is safe.

The do-gooder green protestor who hates mankind and wants us to eat our own faeces and purge the Earth of humanity’s evil presence is at wing mirror height. A flick on another switch and Swampy is despatched.

The truth is that you are safer in a big car than a smaller one.

The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety has compiled some figures that shed light on the matter of road safety. And the findings are that the bigger the car the safer you are.

So sensational is this news that the Times introduces it on its front page. “How safe is your car?” asks the front-page headline. “OFFICIAL LEAGUE TABLE INSIDE.”

This might come as a shock to the driver of the six-year-old Rover Mini, rated the least safe car on the road. But at least the Mini driver can claim some element of cool, laughing in the face of danger as he nips in between the bus and the Isuzu Trooper (the safest car). And laughing a little more hysterically as the bus indicates right and prepares to turn left.

But the really smug faces belong to 4×4 driers, as ever. In a collision with another car, a driver of a 4×4 or people carrier is 50 times less likely to be killed than the driver of a small or medium-sized car.

Rather than being a cry for help, a kind of motorised “Kill me know” sticker, the Renault Scenic is a veritable metals and plastic lifejacket.

Choosing a car could not be easier. Forget all that mpg, hev and bhp guff and just buy the biggest car the dealer’s got.

But Rob Gifford, the council’s director, says: “We would all be safer if we drove around in small or medium–sized cars. But the total car fleet is becoming more incompatible, with sales growing fastest in the biggest and smallest categories.”

And so it is that driving becomes the new smoking. The non-smokers (big car drivers) see life as a thing to be glided through. Life is on your terms. It is predictable. It is safe. You might even become immortal.

For drivers of smaller cars (smokers), a group often less well off, driving is an accessible thrill, a sublime trip into the unknown.

The decision as to what car to drive has becomes a little more complex. Of course, you could take pubic transport. But that way lies madness…

Posted: 13th, October 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink