Friday, May 14, 2004

A Promised Rant

You know what I don't like? SUVs. They suck, and those who purchase them should be ashamed. Here's why.

They're not all that safe. SUVs, which are built higher than other cars, have a higher center of gravity. This makes them especially prone to rollovers, which account for the plurality of the really serious injuries sustained in auto accidents. Some people think that rollovers only occur rarely or in extreme conditions, but the fact is that most rollovers occur when a vehicle is tripped. SUVs can (and do) trip over obstacles even as low as curbs, which are found on just about every street on which most people drive. Pretty dangerous, huh? Auto companies have touted four-wheel (FWD) drive, which most SUVs have, as some enormous safety feature, when in actuality four-wheel drive doesn't enhance safety. FWD doesn't help in stopping a vehicle (all four-wheel vehicles have "four-wheel stop"), but those to whom SUVs have been sold drive as if it does. That's a dangerous illusion, and one which the auto industry has been happy to promote. In addition, most SUVs lack crumple zones, which transfer the force of a collision as much as possible to the vehicle, and not the driver. Therefore, if you get into a collision with your SUV, your SUV might be fine, but you probably won't be. I don't know about you, but I like the fact that my car sacrifices itself to save me. I'm funny that way.

They are a danger to others. As I've already noted, SUVs are much higher than sedans, which means in a head-on collision, an SUV can easily climb right over the hood of a sedan to strike the windshield and the driver behind it. Same for a side collision, but replace "windshield" with "smaller, weaker side window." In addition, SUVs are built on steel frames and often lack crumple zones, which in a collision makes them big, heavy battering rams. They obscure your line of sight in traffic, since you can't see around them to notice traffic backing up ahead of you, or the changing of a traffic light. Who needs advance warning of traffic conditions, anyway?

They make the environment worse. SUVs suck down gas as if it's limitless, which it most certainly is not. Combine that with the fact that gasoline comes from oil, alot of which is held in the Middle East by people who hate Americans and you've got the perfect blend of foolishness and avarice.

They're status symbols. SUVs are touted as off-road vehicles, but how many people actually drive them off-road? (Driveways do NOT count as off-road.) Would anyone in his right mind really take the Cadillac Escalade or the Lincoln Navigator off-road? As to their hauling capacity, most of what I see hauled by SUVs are children and groceries, and these can be handled most satisfactorily by minivans. However, Americans like to feel rough and tough, so they buy vehicles they think are rough and tough. SUVs are purchased because of their cachet, nothing more. Anyone who says differently is lying or naive.

For those of you who own SUVs and are offended, too bad. I won't lecture to you in real life, but on my blog, my rules. And on my blog, SUVs are dangerous, gas-sucking, attention-getting monstrosities, and anyone who buys them should be slapped several times.

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