Cars Are Coffins

Last week we talked about cars. We talked about how they’re great. About how they make it really easy to move things like refrigerators. And about how the argument that riding bikes instead of driving is healthier, more affordable, and environmentally responsible* is unassailable.

And then we claimed that bikes are safer, too. And that raised some eyebrows.

“But cars come with a protective candy shell,” protested the denizens of the internet. “It keeps my heirs safe so my dynasty will last 1,000 years!” And then the anecdotes flowed, “I rolled my suburban one time and it saved my life.” If someone fired a gun at you and missed, would you thank them for saving your life?

See because after heart disease, cancer, and respitory disease, cars are the most lethal things in America (not Syrian refugees!). 37,000 people die in these things every year in this country, and the majority of them are in single vehicle collisions. Believe it or not, if you don’t die in a hospital some day way down the road, you’re probably going to die alone on a highway. So you have that going for you.

But you’re careful! You never drive drunk, or text, or get drowsy, or mess with the radio, or eat a cheeseburger. You follow every law, you never speed, and you signal your turns for four seconds before you change lanes. You are perfect. We know, and we applaud you. But there’s still the idiots.

Let’s have an experiment. Go grab a piece of paper and a pencil, I’ll wait right here.



You got one.

Now, draw a box. Now, draw a box that looks just like it, right next door. It should look like this:

Now in each box draw ten dots, and imagine that they’re all just bouncing around, randomly, doing their thing. Most of the time they’ll just bounce off the sides of the box and goe on their way. But every once in a while they’ll bump into each other. This is sort of like driving, right? Right.

In the left box, let’s say each dot travels at 15mph and weighs 200lbs. In the right box, let’s say each dot travels at 45mph, and weights 3,000lbs. That means that in the right box, we have 675 times more kinetic energy cruising around, just waiting to smear you around the pavement. It also means that the dots bump into each other three times more often than in the left box. And that’s assuming modest speeds and a reasonably sized passenger car. Bring that 1-ton King Ranch up to highway speeds and it doesn’t take long for you to be at the helm of your very own murder rocket.

And that’s scary, right? Murder rockets just flying around our nation’s highways and school zones? Texting and driving. The drunks. It’s almost like you need a Yukon Denali just to survive your 3/4 mile commute to the office.

We have to look after our own, after all. If everyone else is driving a murder rocket, then your murder rocket is really more like a murder defense rocket. This point of view is totally understandable. It makes every bit as much sense as filling schools with guns to prevent shootings, and is the foundation for North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

Wayne LaPierre and the Kims are smart dudes. They know what’s best for them, and they’re not afraid to pursue it. What’s wrong with that? So hop in, fire up the V10, and next time spring for the grill guard for a little extra safety.






Previous Post

Cars are Great

There is, among the set who truly believe that we would all be happier, healthier, better-off people by abolishing cars and just riding bikes everywhere, ... Read more

Next Post

Addressing Heat

It has occurred to some of you, by now, that it is hot outside. This is the time of year in the mountain west when ... Read more

One thought on “Cars Are Coffins

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *