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#1 19-07-07 09:17:06

Dimmy
Guest

Modern car performance causing road deaths?

Twenty years ago, would it have been frowned upon if a 17 year old bought a ferrari the day they passed their test?
Legally, yes they could, but I think it would have raised a few eyebrows, and not just because of the price, but because of the performance of the car itself.

Today, there are many "family" cars that can now go faster than sports cars of yesteryear.
Their acceleration ability is only marginally lower than that of sports cars of 20 years ago.
And yet, new drivers are not just driving these cars after passing their test but  sometimes mum or dad are taking their teenagers out with L plates in them.

It is very difficult for drivers today to appreciate the true speeds they drive at as the ride comfort of the modern car is so good.
I'm not just talking top speeds or straight line speeds but more importantly, cornering speeds.
Cars can now grip the road so well that being able to stop safely in the space you can see to be clear is now the over riding factor when cornering, whereas a couple of decades ago it wasn't so much the road you can see to be clear but the ride comfort and stability of the car that kept cornering speeds down. Drivers experineced a much greater degree of what the road grip and conditions were really like than can ever be said for modern cars as much of that sensation is now masked by better suspension and stability design. Drive a 20 year old car today and you will appreciate the differences between that and the modern car.
Drivers then were not suddenly caught out by sudden losses of control as they could sense the loss starting to occur. The same cannot be said for the modern car.  The first clue many new cars give of a lack of grip is when the car is bouncing through the hedge. And that loss of control is usually at a far higher road speed than the older car could have tolerated.
Drivers were more aware of their cars abilities mainly because the cars abilities were so much lower, the same cannot be said for new drivers in modern cars.

Am I babbling on about nothing here or do others have opinions on the manufacturers insistance on marketing cars with speed and high performance the main selling points, and the public buying into this marketing ploy and thus encouraging manufacturers to continue with the same design objectives?

19-07-07 09:17:06

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Re: Modern car performance causing road deaths?




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#2 19-07-07 09:21:51

kjs
Verified Member
From: Rossendale Lancashire
Registered: 20-05-06
Posts: 976
Website

Re: Modern car performance causing road deaths?

I think that you have a good point here Dimmy.

kjs

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#3 19-07-07 12:23:48

dog
Verified Member
Registered: 29-10-06
Posts: 813

Re: Modern car performance causing road deaths?

A good point indeed. I have to argue however, that most of the people who take corners etc too fast and cause accidents are normally around my age, and therefore don't have brand new cars. Realistically when people pass the test and get their first car, it's going to be something normally between 10 and 15 years old, it will be a car with little or none of the safety features of today's cars, no crumple points, seatbelt pretensioners, stability control, front and side airbags, ABS etc. You would think, if anything, that this would encourage them to take corners slower since they don't have the safety features to protect them should they lose control. (Yes, I know that having things like curtain airbags shouldn't make you drive more dangerously).

Sorry if I have missed the point :?

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#4 19-07-07 12:46:27

MsZetec2.0
Member
Registered: 30-11-06
Posts: 73

Re: Modern car performance causing road deaths?

That is something to think about. Are you suggesting that the handling and grip of more modern cars isn't much better than those of 20 years ago? That we only notice a difference because the suspension, etc has been tweeked with to make everything more comfortable than 20 years ago? I've driven a 1988 Audi 80, currently in a 1993 Cavalier, my usual car is 1998 Mondeo, I learned in a brand new Focus last year and I had a brand new Mazda 3 as a hire car a few weeks ago and I can certainly feel what you're talking about. The Audi and the Cavalier lean in the corners and the Cavalier you really do have to get your speed down just to get it round corners. Suspension seems very soft in that car. My Mondeo I probably would take that little bit faster because it does feel more stable, and the gearing is also more to my liking. Going straight ahead at a clear, open roundabout, for example, the Mondeo could get round in 3rd, the Cavalier needs 2nd because the engine would struggle. Contrary to that tho, the new Mazda 3 I actually drove slower on country roads because it didn't feel as stable. I felt that I might lose the back end if I took it too quickly and the visibility was pretty poor round corners because the pillars holding the windscreen were huge. Likewise on motorways, VERY careful about overtaking because of the big blindspot. It was very smooth and stable on the motorways tho. The Mondeo I find has the right amount of feel, I used to spin the front wheels on a hill near me when I first got it coz I wasn't used to the clutch and I felt that fine but without the car losing control. Same can be said if I hit a bend too quick coz I haven't looked far enough, there is enough inertia to alert you but not enough to make it unstable. I also find the steering on the 3 newer cars to be much more responsive than the other 2. I think perhaps we need to look at the engineering of modern cars and compare it with 20 years ago, am pretty sure there must have been developments in that time that do make the car stick to the road better. Could be wrong but I might have a Google  lol Also bound to be different between car manufacturers.

The other thing I would suggest is because you have modern cars with airbags, ABS, stability control, traction control, etc, etc, some people may be relying on the car to save them, rather than driving defensively. On the other hand, I had cruise control on the Mazda and that I found very useful for the most part. I could set my speed to 70 on the motorway, know that I wasn't braking the law and was then free to observe other traffic, scan ahead etc, without needing to check the speedo. I can see where that also might be used inappropriately tho, if you're in a residential 30 zone with your speed set to that, doesn't allow you to manage your speed as well in response to changing road conditions. Example, with no cruise control if I saw a large puddle and a pedestrian walking past it, I'd take my foot of the accelerator, slow the car down on engine braking and perhaps steer to a shallower part of the puddle if possible. If you had cruise on you would either hit the puddle at 30, or try to brake, be less effective coz of the water and then try and steer at the same time, making the car unstable. But then you have your ABS and traction control and ESP and what have you to deal with that.....if they work. I can see how that could fool some one into thinking they had control when they didn't.

From my experience, older cars are slower and are harder work. They force you to plan ahead more at roundabouts, etc because it needs a different gear, they don't pick up speed as quick or else need you to think about how to get that acceleration out of it if you need it (slip road, etc), you do need to think about corners because it just won't take them as quick. I think that's answered the question - the easier a car is to drive, maybe the less you think about what you need to do to drive it.

I don't know if I can really comment on manufacturer's marketing ploys coz all of my cars have been 2nd hand. The one time I did go to a dealership the salesmen did go on about the power of the engine, but also the MPG. Mentioned in passing about safety features but nothing about handling, stability, NCAP rating, etc. Do believe that's wrong, you cannot have power without control and that control ideally needs to come from the driver above anything else. For me, the gadgets are there as a back up but others may rely on them.

Hows that for a babble?  lol lol lol lol lol


And I get scared but I'm not crawling on my knees...

http://www.fordmondeo.org/forum/index.p … ral/26123/

May all your crossroads be signposted.

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#5 19-07-07 15:17:22

pegasus
Verified Member
From: north west
Registered: 25-02-05
Posts: 3,303

Re: Modern car performance causing road deaths?

hi

Cars can now grip the road so well that being able to stop safely in the space you can see to be clear is now the over riding factor when cornering, whereas a couple of decades ago it wasn't so much the road you can see to be clear but the ride comfort and stability of the car that kept cornering speeds down. 
Drivers then were not suddenly caught out by sudden losses of control as they could sense the loss starting to occur. The same cannot be said for the modern car. 
The first clue many new cars give of a lack of grip is when the car is bouncing through the hedge. And that loss of control is usually at a far higher road speed than the older car could have tolerated.

I believe we should actually be stressing "Able to stop within HALF the distance you can see to be clear".
Because that allows for an oncoming vehicle on your side of the road as well as allowing for narrower roads.

The improved grip thing has always caused a problem because the longer tyres hang on, the worse the problem when they let go. this was a significant problem when people started swapping the Dunlop C41s and Dunlop SP41s from their early classic minis and putting Pirelli Cinturatos on instead.
They really gripped well, but when they let go the resultant skid was irrecoverable.

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#6 19-07-07 15:26:42

dickdastardly
Verified Member
From: Nottingham
Registered: 03-01-07
Posts: 194

Re: Modern car performance causing road deaths?

Dimmy I think you are spot on.

In addition to this are TV programmes that seem to have nothing better to rabbit on about than speed. For example Top Gear, what used to be a good informative programme is nothing more than a bunch of idiots drooling over how fast a car can be driven around a lap of a race circuit.

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#7 24-08-07 10:32:29

Zipper
Verified Member
From: Darwin, Northern Territory Aus
Registered: 20-08-04
Posts: 2,695
Website

Re: Modern car performance causing road deaths?

Yes.

I stopped buying motoring magazines some time ago for a similar reason.

Several years ago I could read excellent reviews and side-by-side comparisons of the popular general purpose cars, especially helpful when trying to decide on a replacement driver training vehicle.

These days it's all "performance", the typical Aussie motoring mag now has pics of hotted up behemoths or over-priced exotic cars on the cover. Tests of so-called family cars or useful everyday cars seem to only compare the high-performance versions.

I have never had much time for motoring journalists whether Aussie or British, and I see no reason to change my attitude at this stage.


Zipper ("G'Day Mate!")
I'm not 65! I'm only $59.95+tax
www.drivingnt.com

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#8 24-08-07 15:51:53

binty1968
Verified Member
From: Hants/Surrey border
Registered: 22-02-06
Posts: 1,691
Website

Re: Modern car performance causing road deaths?

I think with modern cars these days, drivers are lulled into a false sense of security with airbags, abs etc.....ok these things are there to try and help in the event of an accident, but they are no guarentee to be life savers...as RTA statistics show.

Even tho not all accidents are due to driver error I would say a very high percentage are, and mainly speed related, and the driver losing control, alas resulting in fatal consequences alot of the time either for the driver who lost control or someone being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Car manufacturers seem to be hell bent on the newest model doing 0 - 60 faster than the previous model or a rivals model,  and for little johnny or jane who has parents to buy them whatever car they desire, they might as well be handing them a loaded gun.

Cars are getting faster, roads are getting busier, and accidents still keep happening  neutral & personally i think instead of worrying about profits manufacturers should think more about safe driving than lining the fat cats pockets.

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#9 24-08-07 16:25:22

DampDog
Verified Member
From: Staffordshire.
Registered: 04-02-06
Posts: 1,538

Re: Modern car performance causing road deaths?

Just for comparison, here's the performance figures for the "Boy racer" car of yesterday compared to what you can buy today. Note the VXR is 189bhp and has overboost! for the completely suicidal. There really ought to be legislation in place to limit either engine size or output for noobie drivers. Coming from the other direction, I wonder how many lives are saved by the advent of airbags, ESC, and ABS?

MkI RS200

New Corsa VXR


ADI (car)
1st CT (5)

I used to be a compleat idiot, until some bits fell off...

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#10 24-08-07 22:01:48

dog
Verified Member
Registered: 29-10-06
Posts: 813

Re: Modern car performance causing road deaths?

I would hardly say the Corsa VXR is the boy racer car of today - how many 18 year olds can afford a 16 grand car? More like the Citroen Saxo VTR, and the Peugeot 106 GTi (neither of which I believe to have ABS or ESP).

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#11 25-08-07 06:52:49

DampDog
Verified Member
From: Staffordshire.
Registered: 04-02-06
Posts: 1,538

Re: Modern car performance causing road deaths?

Sorry if I have missed the point :?

Just two cars for comparison, and old un and a new un, they could have been anything, new un has almost double the power! Personally I think most accidents are to do with attitude, what makes someone who passed their test forget it all within a few months and drive like a moron. If you belive all the statistics on exam results (99% pass rate) teenagers are brighter than they've ever been. Problem isn't what you drive, it's how you drive

The logic mystifies me, they won't allow new motorbike riders to go out and buy the biggest machine they can buy and ride it, in relation to car drivers they're in the minority. Yet pass your car test and you can go out and buy something as big and powerful as you can afford.


ADI (car)
1st CT (5)

I used to be a compleat idiot, until some bits fell off...

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#12 25-08-07 22:03:23

la.monikita
Verified Member
From: SE LONDON / KENT
Registered: 12-03-05
Posts: 3,064

Re: Modern car performance causing road deaths?

i have this link on my website http://www.car-accidents.com/pages/acci … 21-03.html  the page is about the driving test.


"What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself."
Abraham Maslow

21st Century Women http://www.loisontheloose.com/my-advent … /the-team/

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