I mean, is that really one of your concerns when purchasing a car? Personally, safety features is at the bottom of my list when I look at cars. I look for power, first and foremost, and then, amenities.
Now, sure, I’m not saying that I’d buy an Edsel, but today’s cars are built tough enough to where you’re not going to die in them in a typical fender bender. All this crap about dual stage airbags and reinforced steel cage frame or whatever it’s called means nothing to me.
So what do you all think? What’s the most important thing you look for when buying a car?
Aside from that, no, I didn’t buy it solely for it’s safety features. I bought it cuz it looks cool. But I have to say I’m very happy that it has rollbars, and both front and side airbags. It’s such a small car that I’m a little nervous about getting in a wreck, and any added features to keep me safe are wonderful.
As a WAG, I’d suggest that most of the “safety” stuff is marketed to people with kids. Parents are obsessive about keeping their kids safe, and I’m sure that the minivan with the most safety devices is gonna look mighty good to the typical mother.
Every time I get in my vehicle, it’s my life and my passenger’s life on the line. I could be smashed into at any time.
For me, it’s safety and function first. If the vehicle does not do what I need it to, it is useless to me.
From there, I get the most power that I can. Not only acceleration, but braking power as well. Power will not only get you into trouble, it can help to get you OUT of trouble.
So, what do I do? I go out and get a truck. A BIG truck. The crash test ratings are excellent for my model. I’m higher up than most folks, and those who are as high as me won’t be putting their bumper in my head if I’m broadsided. I have good brakes to help me stop safely, and sticky tires to help me corner well.
If I think I’m going to be broadsided, I’ve got a chance to get out of the way by kicking it in the ass and jumping out of danger. 5.9 litres come in handy from time to time. When it’s snowy and icy, I shift into 4 wheel drive. Sure, it doesn’t help me stop, but it helps me GO safely.
Actually, I do look at safety features. Everyone will be involved in some kind of crash sooner or later. I’d like to be sure to survive it.
That’s why one of my favorite lines is about those big friggin’ 70’s land cruisers:
Crashing in one is like a civil war in Africa. Sure, it’s tragic, but it’s far enough away that it really doesn’t have anything to do with you.
Reliability/Maintenance history. Is it going to be in the shop monthly?
Performance. Will it move?
Safety. Will I survive driving it?
Looks. Does it have a little flash to it? ( I love the Chrysler PT Cruiser)
Resale Value. Can I get a little cash when its time is done?
Does it fit the lifestyle. I drive a lot with others, so I need a car that can hold more than two people. Thus not a sports car. But I don’t do the chauffer thing, so no minivan. I prefer not to be called everytime a friend needs to move/haul something, so no truck. I want comfort so sedan, midsized was right for me.
Reliability. Does the car die every time I turn around, this was going to be the first new car I ever bought. All my other cars needed lots of tweaking, and I’m not a car person. So, the new Maxima was out (First year models almost invariably have problems.) even though the engine kicked ass.
Safety and Looks. These are kind of together, I want something that is safe, but I don’t want another box.
Amenities. For a gadgetfreak like me, this was important, does it have lots of nice little gizmos in it.
Cost. Alas another important bit, I am on a limited budget after all, no jaguars or rolls for me.
So, I bought a 2000 Stratus, my sisters 97 stratus has be reliable, though a bit under powered since she had the 4cyl. I bought the most powerfull engine for the Stratus so that isn’t a problem. Enough nice amenities, though I did tear out the radio and install a new LCD monitor for the GPS I stuck in the back. So far its a fun car.
My vehicle: '84 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
NO crumple zones
regular old lock-up brakes
I think it’s safe enough.
I’ve seen pictures of these that rolled over on the highway where the only damage was a smashed windsheild frame. One guy was hit by a little Honda econobox that ran a red light at 45 mph, hit just behind the front wheel. He pulled the crumpled sheetmetal off the tire and drove the Jeep home. The driver of the “safe” Honda died on the spot, and there wasn’t enough left of the car to recognize.
Not exactly safety, but I have started to look at how much a given vehicle might cost to fix if it gets in a low-speed accident. SUVs are awfully expensive to fix, even for minor damage. A friend of mine got in a low-speed accident in his Jeep Cherokee not long ago, and it’s going to cost close to $4K to fully repair it.
there is no such thing as safety. There is the * illusion * of safety, but such illusion is rediculous. Survivability of certain kinds of crashes are so low that you can double the survivability rating of a car and still die in it. You can, of course, build a car that is rediculously unsafe (like say a Pinto) but, for the most part, the majority of safety features, beyond the basics (seatbelt and airbags) are just marketing gimmicks.
In a car I look for the following:
Reliability. I want a car that I can drive for over a decade without major repairs.
Power. I want a car that will allow me to change speeds quickly, not take its merry little time getting up to 65.
Price. I’m not paying for a name plate. Must be cheap.
Cupholders. The single most vital ammenity in a car is its cupholders. I want a car with so many cup holders that I can drop a can of soda in mid air anywhere and have a decent chance of having it land in a cup holder.
Size. I hate big cars. The ideal car would be a skateboard with a steering wheel (and a cup holder). Not only is it rude to the other drivers on the road to drive a behemoth, maneuverability in big cars (be it a Caddy or a Suburban) is awful, as is visibility. I like to be in the action when I drive, not sitting above it.
I still am a fan of being higher, heavier and bigger. I drive so as not to cause any accidents. If someone were so careless as to cause one with me, I would not care about their safety until cleanup time.
I care about safety features. For one thing, I’m the mother of four. The thought that one of my children died because I picked the coolest looking vehicle instead of the safest is not a situation I’d like to be in. Something else that makes me more concious of it is that I was in a car accident when I was pregnant with my last child, which totalled my car and landed me in emergency surgery. I had flashbacks everytime I drove my new vehicle for a while after that. Also, a few months before my accident, my nephew was in a head on collision on the highway. They said that the only thing that saved his life was the vehicle he was driving that night. He’s nothing but pins from the waist down, but he’s alive.
So… yes. Definitely. We all have to die sometime, but if I think there’s a chance that something would keep me alive in a car crash, I’d go for it.
There are different types of safety features. I pay a lot of attention to some and can’t even comprehend others.
The safety features that I care most about are those things that assist in collision avoidance. I must have a high degree of confidence in the suspension, power and maneuverability of a car before I will think of it as safe no matter how many gizmos it might have. Two stage airbags are all well and good, but I’d rather they never be deployed. Some cars like mine offer special devices for constantly analyzing controlling traction. This is essential during the winter months here in New England. The traction and stability control devices on my car give me a high degree of confidence while I’m driving. A confident (not cocky) driver will do better on the road than a nervous driver.
Survival features like seatbelts, airbags and knee ramps need to be present for me to consider a car, but I don’t give much thought to them. I must say, though, that I think a little bit more about them now. A few months after I purchased my car, it was awarded the highest possible occupant safety rating from an independent organization. The test they performed simulated the effects of two vehicles colliding head on at 40mph (64.4kmph). In order for my car to receive the rating that it did, the occupant would have sustained no injuries at all. That’s mighty impressive for a collision of that sort. After learning of this, I felt proud of my choice in vehicles and the abilities of the manufacturer in general. I felt even better about the thought and clever engineering that has been put into my car. This pride and confidence effects me as a driver. Therefore, the overall style achieved in the marriage of car and driver is much more impressive.
This list would work pretty well for me, as well, except I’d reverse numbers 2 and 3.
And then I’d change “Performance” to “Gas Mileage.”
And then I’d change “Looks” to “Performance,” and then . . .
I guess this wasn’t a good list for me after all . . . wanders off mumbling something that sounds like “I am not an economy car, I’m not, I’m not”
I recall reading that women are more likely to be motivated by safety and fuel efficiency, and less by performance and gadgetry than men. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it is true for me.
Crash test ratings
Visibility/Is it sized for me? (I’m short – in order to reach the automatic shift on a Cavalier I actually have to reach behind me. ugh)
Sorry, I shouldn’t take this so personally, but I kind of bristled at your comment. I was broadsided by a speeding car changing lanes where he wasn’t allowed to, and my nephew was hit by someone who crossed the center line on a highway. There wasn’t even time to react.
No matter how safely YOU drive, and even with a defensive driving course under your belt, you still cannot control other vehicles, or anticipate every single boneheaded move someone makes.
I’m sure that you didn’t mean offense with your comment. I just wanted to point out that it often doesn’t matter how safely you drive. A car doing 110 km/h in a 50 km/h zone doing sudden turns and lane changes can come flying off a side street at any moment, and then car safety can become a big issue in a real hurry.
In September of 1992, I was “T-boned” on the driver’s side of my car by a guy who ran a stop sign. My pelvis was broken in 3 places. My SI joint was permanently damaged.
This happened three blocks from my home.
Did I consider safety when I bought my new car? You bet your sweet bippy I did! I only used to wear my seat belt when I was on the freeway. I have not been in a car since my accident without putting the seatbelt on. Ironically, if I had HAD my seatbelt on in my accident, it is possible that I would be dead. However, 90% of the time, wearing a seatbelt will keep you alive.
I believe that until you actually have a life-threatening accident, there is a feeling of “it will never happen to me.” When it DOES happen to you, you realize that it happened once, and could happen again. That is when you start getting concerned about safety.
I bought a Saturn, and I have been completely happy with it. Actually, I love my car. I bought it for the safety concerns, but it turned out to be a really spiffy lookin’ car! It makes me look like I am a babe. It is a SC2 or something like that.
Mechanical reliability was first with me. I hate shopping for cars and I hate car payments.
So last year I traded in the pick-up and got a Camry. The pickup was nice, and felt safe, and I loved being higher, and seeing farther down the road. But it wasn’t very maneuverable, and the Camry serves (and swerves) quite nicely.
Kinda wish I would have gotten the two-door though.
But where did the name come from – Camry? Sounds like Walter Brennan talking about his Polaroid. “Ellie Mae, get the camry and take a pitcher of this possum I just shot.”
Minor hijack: Where do they come up with car names? Aztek? Catera? The animal names were okay, Cougar, Mustang, even Pinto was apt, but these made up names are just putzy.