Many years ago, Ralph Nader saw fit to bring to the public’s attention the various safety concerns plaguing automobiles, and other household products we use every day. However, even prior to his heyday in the 1960’s enthusiasts have always seen fit to customize their cars to make them a reflection of their owners. To this day, automotive aftermarket accessories are a massively popular industry.
A major styling trend in the 50’s and 60’s saw the rear view mirror mounted on the dash, and even some dashes were massive with how the glare hood would stick up around the gauges. Since then, mirrors and mustang car cover for that matter have changed to increase visibility. With the advent of satellite radios, digital compasses, navigation units and other products that are not being stuck on dashes, we are revisiting 40+ years ago with limiting sight lines, and introducing flying obstacles during a crash. Not many people desire being struck in the head by their GPS, not to mention the distraction of attention that these devices generate.
In the last decade there has been a major push on proper use of baby seats. Most people agree, these are dangerous devices in cars. Many times seats are not secured properly, and when children’s lives are at stake, we should take the time to ensure that a child seat is being used properly. Please, follow the directions of the seat manufacturer for proper mounting instruction. According to the NTSB, 4 out of 5 parents unintentionally make mistakes in use of child restraints. A great website for help is www.seatcheck.org.
Here are some statistics from the Governors Highway Safety Association that will surprise you, as they seem to be no brainers to me when it comes to driving. Only 6 states restrict the use of cell phones while driving, where it should be in a handsfree mode while operating the vehicle. Only 20 states have banned text messaging while driving. With so much of the nation having cell phones, the distraction they create to drivers is enormous.
Amazingly, today most dangerous gadgets in vehicles are distractions to drivers, if it isn’t a radio, phone, or some other device, it is the advent of entertainment systems in vehicles. Being able to play a DVD for the kids seems like such a great idea but many adults also get in on the act now with specialty aftermarket DVD dashmount screens. There have been many reports in Arizona of drivers being ticketed for watching a movie while driving. And you thought someone reading while driving was bad?
Largely, manufacturers build safe cars. Devoid of all the frills that we like to add for our own comfort, the interiors are reasonably safe. Gone are the days where the steering wheel of a ’59 Cadillac would leave an imprint on your chest during an accident. So remember in your quest to customize your ride, to check out an episode or two of Mythbusters where they crash a vehicle or two and see a tissue box become a projectile. We all easily forget how dangerous certain things are in a car.