Not sure if this is a rant, or a conspiracy theory, but minivans are evil...
Here is my hypothesis; minivans, while touting some of the best safety and risk statistics, are actually some of the most dangerous vehicles on the
road…to other drivers.
A quick search on the interweb will come up with enough vehicle crash statistics to gag a horse. One interesting thing though is almost every one of
these statistical analysis’s are focused on metrics of the vehicle involved in the crash, not the one who likely caused the accident. One can find
statistics about how safe an SUV is in comparison to a compact car. One can find boat loads of statistics about how safe various cars are, but
nothing about how they might contribute to other vehicles getting in an accident.
So why am I picking on minivans? Well, because I believe they actually “cause” motor vehicle accidents, and a great number of them too. Let’s
take a look at who drives minivans and why.
The vast majority of minivans are driven by families with children or the elderly. Just look around the next time you go for a drive. Drive through
any suburban area and there will be more minivans than you can count. I believe there are four principle reasons why minivans cause accidents:
Obstruction – Minivans sit taller than most cars on the road. They are difficult to see around. Though a minivan may be taller it doesn’t weigh
much more than a car. Therefore a minivan has the capability to (and often does) stop quickly. Following drivers, unable to see around the minivan,
are dependent solely on their reaction time to stop without hitting the minivan. Large trucks are tall too, but because they have much greater mass
they’re not able to stop as fast giving following drivers more time to react.
Distraction – How many times have you seen soccer mom / dad hauling a minivan full of kids to some function, busily chatting away on the cell phone
in between screaming at the kids for who are screaming and throwing French fries at each other in the back? How many times have you seen a minivan
with a gaggle of kids all watching a DVD and singing along to the purple dinosaur? This would be enough to distract anyone. Suddenly a person steps
off a curb in an intersection, or a dog runs out in the road…instant locked up brakes.
Convenience – Sure minivans are convenient. They’re easy to get into, they’re easy to load (cargo, kids, etc.), and they’re small enough to
fit in the grocery store parking lot. They’re like their own little ‘safe’ world. In fact, I postulate that they create such a convenient and
cozy environment that they lull drivers into not paying attention to the world outside the minivan. How many minivans do you see with the ‘Baby
on-board’ sticker, or the little family stick figures on the back window? It’s almost as if they’re sending a message…’this is my little
world; don’t mess with it.
Drivers – Given the minivan’s convenience and utility, not to mention published safety statistics, they tend to attract buyers who are already
high risk drivers, distracted and elderly drivers. How many times have you seen a minivan traveling at well under the published speed limit, or
driving erratically? This in turn causes other drivers to want to pass under unsafe conditions or otherwise get away from the offending minivan.
And, it’s these types of behaviors that cause crashes.
In summary, I think minivans are a hazard for the reasons stated above. And, I’ll bet if someone ever conducted a survey of how many accidents
involve a minivan (at some point during the incident) the results would be shocking. If anyone here on ATS is aware of such a study I would love to
Flame away, soccer moms!
edit on 2/8/2013 by Flyingclaydisk because: typo