The most important gadget in your car

The stereo? The A/C? Dash wiring? Not even close.

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27 Responses to The most important gadget in your car

  1. WalterBillington says:

    I bet the ASA like this ad. What a fine example of British Advertising. Clear, concise, accurate and useful.

    It’s always encouraging to remind yourself that every air safety authority in the world recommends clearly that passengers should travel facing backwards. Forwards is a bit dangerous.

  2. Honad says:

    #23 – DING DING DING!

    Automotive safety starts with driver training.

    The formal driving exam in the US is a joke. Mine consisted of a 20 question, multiple-choice written exam which requires 65% for a passing grade and a drive of 3 blocks, never exceeding the posted 25mph speed limit and a parallel park. There was no formal training requirement, only a $20 fee and as long as you never let your license expire, they assume for the rest of your life that you know how to drive.

    On the roads are a bunch of D students with no training in control of hair trigger weapons.

    Maybe one of these:

    Some of this:

    A bit of that:

  3. Hal says:

    My favourite seatbelt ad here (from NI):

  4. Secret_Life_of_Plants says:

    So the airbag didn’t help?

  5. 1timstreet says:

    I remember another British PSA where the teen boy in the back seat who is not wearing a seatbelt kills his mother who is driving and is wearing her seatbelt.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I don’t get it. If it’s the momentum of his organs slamming against his ribcage that kills him, wouldn’t he still die with a seat belt on?

  7. LegoShark says:

    I tend to hate these kinds of announcements… I heard a thing on the radio for boating safety, and it went into detail about the blood in the water, etc…

    Not a great thing to hear in the morning.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I gotta say, I’m really digging on the slogan: “What’s stopping you?” WAY better than “Click it or Ticket”.

  9. technogeek says:

    #1 and #3: The seat belt is the primary safety device. An airbag isn’t intended to do the job alone, and in a serious impact it isn’t sufficient.

    As I understand it (and I’m *not* an expert, nor do I play one on TV), with both systems employed your maximum instantaneous rate of deceleration — and thus the maximum force inside the body — is less than if you’re stopped by either one by itself. That’s essentially the same reason modern cars are designed with “crumple zones”; anything that brings the passenger to a halt less suddenly causes less injury.

    (The belt also stops you from being thrown clear of the car — and before you say “maybe that would be better”, look at the survival statistics for the two; they’ve been widely published. Again, being stopped by the system is less damaging than the alternative.)

    If I had to pick just one, I’d pick the belt, and I think the numbers back me up on that.

    (Your mileage will vary. Void where prohibited. Do not remove under penalty of law.)

  10. V says:

    Umm, sorry, but the most important safety gadget in the car is the driver’s brain. Over the last 40+ years, we’ve made loads of things to make a car safer – seatbelts, crumple zones, airbags, etc. – but very little to make drivers safer….

    Work on that, and we may get somewhere.

  11. matt blank says:

    I’m imagining Judi Dench chastising Daniel Craig for not using proper restraints in his Aston Marten for some reason…

  12. SpeckledJim says:

    So the airbag didn’t help?

    Probably, but it depends on where you are. In the UK and most other countries, air bags are designed to supplement seat belts, not replace them. They won’t do all that much on their own.

  13. simonemarie says:

    aaah. i’m eating!

  14. muteboy says:

    Captain Scarlet drove facing backwards. Then again, he was immortal.

    Sing YAY for gruesome public info films. I (vaguely) remember one when I was a kid:
    “Polish a floor and then lay a rug on it? You may as well set a MAN TRAP!”
    Then a man arrives home from the hospital with his new-born baby, he walks into the house, and you hear a big thump. Nice.

  15. jhoug says:

    One thing? Three things!:
    Seat belts
    Engineered crumple zone

    The seat belt holds you in your seat and and supports the spine,

    the airbag keeps the head from flying forward, and therefore protects the cervical spine (whiplash or worse),

    the crumple zone absorbs a large amount of the impact by spreading the impact force over time.

  16. technogeek says:

    #20: I re-learned that lesson recently. I was using a spray wax on a chair, and forgot that the overspray would accumulate on the floor. Next time I stepped in that spot wearing only socks, down I went.

    BTW, one of the things you learn when playing Judo is how to fall without injuring yourself. It’s a VERY useful life skill.

  17. holtt says:

    I was expecting “Teardrop” to come on there after the inner body part.

  18. cha0tic says:

    I still like the idea of the big spike in the middle of the steering wheel pointed at the drivers chest.

  19. Julian Bond says:

    And the real lesson here? Don’t screw up and be involved in an accident. Aim for a 6 sigma, zero screw up life and you won’t have to test how well your crumple zones, seat belts, air bags, car design actually works in real life.

  20. FoetusNail says:

    Once had a customer who had certificates of completion from Bob Bondurant’s Racing School hanging on his office walls. What were we talking about?

  21. FoetusNail says:

    Warm Leatherette by The Normal, as covered by Trent Reznor, Jeordie White, Peter Murphy

    (warning avoid the version that includes the scareumentary clips)

  22. tw15 says:

    I’m pretty sure European airbags are different to US airbags. US airbags are bigger, as it is assumed the passengers won’t be wearing a seatbelt. The downside of the US ones is, I think, the airbags can cause injuries themselves. The seatbelt + airbag combo, I guess, is the safest option.

  23. smf says:

    The maker of the ad explains it here:

  24. dustbuster7000 says:

    Airbags have gone through a number of iterations of design over the years, early ones could break peoples noses and other kinds of nastiness. The new bags are dual action type, with a very rapid partial inflation, followed by a slower (in a relative sense, still really fast) secondary inflation, so that be the time the persons head arrives at the bag, its stopped inflating and is starting to deflate. Thus less of a slap in the face. Most airbags in the US are marked as SRS (supplemental restraint systems) or something similar, that is, to be used *in conjunction with* a seat belt, not as a replacement for one. Note that the head of the driver in the advert goes over the top of the airbag and into the windscreen, rather than into the airbag. Belt, esp. those with pre-tensioners, will arrest forward motion and properly position the persons body parts to maximise the usefulness of the airbag. It’s probably worth mentioning that the risks associated not using with airbags or seatbelts, far, far outweigh those associated with their use (for those planning on promoting driving a car without a belt on).

  25. BrerMatt says:

    So Danny Aiello wouldn’t have survived the end of Hudson Hawk?

  26. acb says:

    I once read that the first airbags on the market actually killed people; what the designers (working with crash-test dummies) didn’t notice in their tests that at the angle at which they operated, when hitting a live human being in a crash, they would neatly snap their neck. I think (or at least hope) that this has been fixed fairly quickly.

  27. Latente says:


    me too.

    In Italy we have a better solution, we buy Suvs :P

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