History Of Automobile Safety Road Safety

To start off I would like to mention a quote from Albert Einstein “A ship is always safe at the shore, but that’s not what it’s built for.”

In today’s world everything is about safety, almost at a level of paranoia with reference to automobiles. I am very fortunate to witness the transition and transformation in this sector regarding the level of up gradation in terms of safety.

If we see the history of automobiles, safety came very late. First it was the adrenaline for racing and the sheer excellence of engineering. We enjoyed racing more than being safe on roads. And that’s why Ferraris are Red. The story goes like this: Ferraris were meant to be yellow but, the crashes meant that the blood of the drivers used to spill over the cars. As brilliant as it may sound, Ferraris are always painted blood RED.

So after all that racing and adrenaline pumping, we shifted to passenger vehicles. Where all the family would travel together. And when some untoward incident happened on the roads, the family was at high risk. And so began the journey of ( SAFE CARS).

Here the whole point unfurls.

Road Safety

No machine is safe in the world. Period.
If we see the AUTOBAHN was built way earlier then the invention of airbags, and we cannot blame speed for accidents. On the contrary slow moving vehicles cause more accidents. The whole concept of safety in a moving object is not full proof. We have had accidents on Space Shuttles, where a huge amount is invested in safety aspect. Still today we are not 100% sure that it will be a safe landing. Now moving forward to cars. When we see big crashes in F1, we have seen the horrible accidents and unfortunate and untimely deaths of the drivers. Here too the amount spent on safety is huge, still no guarantee that a driver will be unharmed.

I have purposely mentioned these two different yet highly engineered industries, so that we now know when we talk about affordable vehicles, we should not be comparing the safety aspects with the money that we spend on our cars.

The next in line is the Premium cars. We have seen Princess Diana and Paul Walker accidents. Both cars were top notch in terms of price to safety ratio. Yet bad things did happen.

Rickshaws tempos safety

Now, more interesting stuff, all we are concerned is, how a car be as safe as possible, but we forget that it not only about cars. There are numerous types of vehicles on the roads. What about their safety equipments? E.g. [Rickshaws/tempos/vans/ambulances/trucks etc] Are those lives not as precious as a cars owners?

My understanding of Safety is, not about the reactive technology but proactive sensibilities. Our nation has many fatalities on roads… (We can get the figures) I am not getting into it. The point is, thought process…of the driver and the pedestrian. As a driver we need to respect the machine that we are handling and its capabilities in terms of harming someone when it goes out of control. And as pedestrian we need to be highly aware of our surroundings, because we already know that the drivers have a more powerful machine with them.

Volvo Cars

We can have endless debates about which manufacturers make the safest cars and which don’t. All this data we acquire only from the lab tests and not road tests.. To give an example, one manufacturer is famous for manufacturing safest cars in the world. VOLVO, yet they too have failed experiments.

So is Maruti not safe as Volvo? We really don’t know. It’s all about the bigger picture. People have survived horrendous crashes in maruti cars, and some people have got injured in Volvo cars.

We all are responsible for each other’s safety, if we respect the machine and the roads. And also follow the vehicles and pedestrian rules. We will be on the right course.

As I began with a quote, I will end it with a quote too.


Ashwin is crazy for automobiles, and a lot inquisitive about everything that is surrounded. All the write ups are my thoughts about A particular topic. I am always open for new ideas and criticism.