From the Before Airbags Era.
Let’s start off with the manufacturer since he has swung into high gear screaming about safety features. My beef is that these “safety features” tend to lull the public into a false sense of security. And meanwhile the manufacturers are failing to do a lot of things which they could do and ought to do if they really want to cut down accidents and save lives. For instance, in the new car Owner’s Manual the manufacturer should emphasize, with pictures and easy-to-understand words, that this car —just like every other car—will have far slower pickup as weight is added in the form of passengers or luggage. We pointed out this simple but important fact on these pages almost ten years ago —but here goes again.
Take the biggest cars we have, with the biggest engines. Their 30-60 mph time can fall off anywhere from 25 to 40 per cent when two or three extra passengers are in the car. Unless you point this out to the owner he may have no way of knowing that the car he drives alone, five days a week on business, will become a death trap when he tries to pass a line of cars on a narrow highway on the weekend, when the weight of his wife and two in-laws has been added to the car’s load. With smaller cars this danger is even more acute. In my opinion many a serious accident has occurred because an ignorant driver did not realize that his car lost an amazing amount of its passing ability when he loaded it with additional weight. The safety boys ought to point this out, in type THIS BIG, and the Owner’s Manual is a good place to do it.