As I mention in Ruin Your Life, I’ve been in twenty-four car accidents. The last one was in December of 2006. This is what I wrote about it at the time:
Yesterday I got into my twenty-fourth car accident. I should point out I was only driving in five of those accidents so statistically you want me in the driver’s seat and not the passenger seat. Anyway, I was driving my 1994 Nissan Altima home and an 80s Subaru SUV was turning right in front of me. I put on the brakes a bit expecting him to turn but he didn’t. For some reason he stopped. I hit the brakes harder but it was too late and I hit him at a whole five miles an hour. We got out to inspect the damage and found his bumper was a tiny bit dented. My car on the other hand had the entire right side of the front of the car smashed in as if God punched it.
It just so happened that the accident happened right in front of a cop. He took a look at the damage and when he saw my car he said, “HOLY SH*T!” He couldn’t believe such a small incident could create so much destruction. Green radiator fluid was dripping on the pavement. My car was screwed.
Having experienced at wide variety of accidents from little fender benders to high speed accidents where people died, I think I can talk with some authority on car accidents. Despite what the automobile industry would like you to think, new cars with crumple zones, automatic seatbelts, and airbags are not the way to go if you’re going to get into an accident. What you want is big heavy American steel. You want a car built before the Reagan administration. You want a car built like a tank. If I’d had been in my 1978 Monte Carlo yesterday there would have been little if any damage to our vehicles.
Sure, they do all these crash tests to see which car is the safest, but look at the tests. They run the car into walls or cars with big flat surfaces on them. This is so each impact hits the bumper first before anything else. But the world isn’t flat. It’s jagged and unpredictable. The SUV I hit yesterday had a bumper that was higher than mine so it smashed in the front end as if it were paper. Speaking of paper, have you noticed how thin the material on most new vehicles is? You can pick up a fender with one hand. Try doing that with an old Ford Bronco.
I’m done with newer cars. My next car is going to be a Ford Galaxie 500. I’m tired of these new cars made of glass. My friend with his ’66 Impala had it right; the bigger the car, the closer to God.
NOTE: My next car wasn’t a Ford Galaxie (though I still want one). Instead it’s a 1989 Buick about twice the size of my old Altima.