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Making Waves

Car Safety Improvements


By Ross Kentner

I conservatively estimate I have driven over one and a half million kilometers in nearly sixty years of commuting.  A lot of that driving has been over high ground in winter.  Many a heavily drifted road surface...lots of driving with reduced visibility.  And I believe a lot of the lives lost in these conditions could be saved if legislation forced car manufacturers to make a few design changes.

The first is that head and tail lights should go on when the key is turned or the starter pushed.  The tail lights of too many cars on the road do not go on at that point and many foolish drivers invite a rear end collision because they can't be seen by drivers behind them.

Most important, however, is that air flow needs to be directed away from tail lights and they need to be several times brighter than at present.  Aerodynamics are no longer rocket science.   But in typical winter driving conditions, in a matter of minutes tail lights are completely obliterated by a thick build up of snow.  Fix this and reduce rear end collisions dramatically.  

Many decades ago the windshield wipers of most vehicles swept down from the top, not up from the bottom.  Windshield wipers in most cars today park in a gutter at the base of the windshield where they freeze in ice and do a poor job of keeping the windscreen clean.

These are such simple changes in the interest of safety, but car makers aren't making them and legislators aren't requiring them.

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