SAFER BY DE­SIGN

Autocar - - ROAD TEST AT 90 -

Be­sides be­ing more durable, cars are mas­sively safer now than they were even 40 years ago, never mind 90. Front and rear crush zones, seat­belts and grip­pier ra­dial tyres were the first real life-savers, fol­lowed by pro­jec­tion-free dash­boards, airbags, ABS, ESP and plenty more safe­guard­ing elec­tron­ics.

Some mak­ers, notably Volvo and Mercedes-benz, adopted safety as a sell­ing tool, but the real im­pe­tus in re­cent decades has been the US crash reg­u­la­tions and Europe’s NCAP tests, which have im­proved pas­sen­ger and pedes­trian safety enor­mously. With this has come a penalty, how­ever, in terms of ve­hi­cle weight and size, and iron­i­cally given the safety im­pli­ca­tions, re­duced driver vis­i­bil­ity.

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