[extropy-chat] Driver safety and the immortalist

Brian Lee brian_a_lee at hotmail.com
Wed Jul 7 13:05:31 UTC 2004

Your assumptions are slightly incorrect. If you look at growth of SUV sales 
they include southern and urban areas as well as rural northern climes. This 
article states that cars account for only 44% of all auto sales. 

Anectdotally, I've heard the "I need an SUV" excuse a lot, but that doesn't 
explain how a single person in a Yukon blocks my view in Midtown Atlanta.

I think a decent awd station wagon or sedan (see subaru, audi) will get you 
around just as well as a traditional 4x4 truck but it won't consume as much 
fuel, won't obstruct sight, won't roll over as much and have a higher safety 
rating. Again this is anectdotal, but if you compare these stats I think 
you'll find that SUVs aren't required in many situation people claim.


>From: "J. Andrew Rogers" <andrew at ceruleansystems.com>
>To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
>Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] Driver safety and the immortalist
>Date: Tue, 6 Jul 2004 16:52:53 -0700
>paul.bridger wrote:
> > BillK wrote:
> >  > In contrast, single-vehicle crashes represented 65% of crashes
> >  > SUVs and 59% of crashes involving pickups.
> >  > So SUVs and pickups seem to have a tendency to self-destruct.
> >
> > ...but SUVs and pickups (higher mass vehicles) have more accidents.
> >
> > Given that SUVs etc. cause more single car accidents, it's reasonable to
> > assume they cause more multiple car accidents, too. How annoying that 
> > drivers should cause more accidents, and then have higher survivability.
>Absurd.  What makes you think SUVs "cause" more single car accidents?
>Flawed reasoning in an attempt to support your prejudices.
>Correlation is not causation.  And there is a really obvious reason why
>the statistics probably look this way.
>The percentage of the vehicles sold which are SUVs and pickups varies
>greatly between regions depending greatly on need and environment.  You
>will notice that in places that have substantial winters or more rural
>environments (a function of population distribution, not size), a much
>greater percentage of the population drive SUVs and pickups than in more
>suburban and temperate climates.  Depending on where you drive, what you
>do, and at what time of day you do it, you may have difficulty getting
>around in a Honda Civic and it won't be remotely as safe as driving 4x4,
>all things being equal even if you ignore multi-vehicle collisions.  If
>I lived in one of those places and could only have one vehicle, it would
>be an SUV or pickup.
>When I moved from balmy Silicon Valley to slightly more rural digs in
>Nevada, my insurance rates increased, due entirely to increased
>environmental hazards of driving in Nevada.  In winter, I usually drove
>my 4x4 SUV when it was below freezing because it was a much safer
>vehicle in winter road conditions than my expensive Euro sedan.  As did
>everyone else.  And the biggest hazards for all these SUV and pickup
>driving folks was either snow/ice or hitting one of the many large
>animals that intermittently decide to run in front of your vehicle
>(something having a large vehicle definitely helps with), neither of
>which happens in Silicon Valley.  And all of which are single vehicle
>accidents.  Does this mean that SUVs and pickups are inherently less
>safe?  No, it means that people choose to drive SUVs and pickups in
>environments that are inherently less safe because SUVs and pickups are
>inherently safer in those environments.  As an example, look at the
>spectacular carnage of animals and vehicles on the road to Burning Man
>in Nevada sometime, almost all Californians who have no experience with
>road hazards outside of other vehicles.
>SUVs and pickups are not distributed evenly in the population.  People
>that need them and which will benefit most from the safety features they
>offer will also be more likely to buy them.
>In short, people drive SUVs and pickups in places where environmental
>conditions make it far more probable that single vehicle accidents will
>occur precisely because these vehicles are safer when faced with those
>environmental hazards.  Switching everyone in those places would make
>them LESS SAFE, not more safe.  The entire country doesn't have road
>conditions like your little corner of suburbia.  I buy my vehicles to
>match local driving conditions (currently Silicon Valley, so a small
>commuter car), and as far as I've been able to tell in my travels, so
>does the rest of the population on average.
>j. andrew rogers
>extropy-chat mailing list
>extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org

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