A Nickel for your Thoughts

My random thoughts about politics, cars, computers, sports, the environment and so on. For free. And that's about what they're worth.

Monday, December 26, 2005

My Car A-Splode!

About two weeks ago, I was involved in a car accident in which a Chevy Blazer was pushed into the trunk of my 3-year-old Mitsubishi Galant by a 10-year old Mitsubishi Galant on the freeway. Chevy Blazers don't fit so well inside the trunks of midsize Japanese cars, so I think mine's probably done for, but the insurance company isn't convinced...not sure why. I was rear-ended, and it was absolutely not my fault.

This is the second time I've been rear-ended in a year. Both situations were similar, meaning there was a long line of stopped or crawling cars in front of me and it therefore shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone behind me that I'd stop too. Now, kids, remember how they told you to keep a safe following distance (meaning 3-4 seconds at highway speeds, 2 at city speeds) in driver's ed? Good. DO IT! Staying 3-4 seconds behind the car in front of you means you'll get to your destination--and I know this is hard for some people to understand--3-4 seconds later than you would if you were half a Nash Metropolitan's length behind that car, like some people apparently want to be. That small of a difference in arrival time is never important enough that you should risk your safety to overcome it, and it sure as hell isn't important enough to risk everyone else's safety. If the car in front of you is traveling too slowly for your liking, here's an idea: pass it! If I had a nickel for every time I've seen someone tailgating on a multi-lane highway when there's a lane next to them with no cars ahead for a mile, I'd be a rich man. And--this goes for my wife as well--turn off the effing cell phone. You're going to be at home or work or the grocery store/post office/bank/mall in 10 minutes anyway; talk then. Or if you can't wait, pull off the road or let a passenger do the talking.

Anyway, so I'm car shopping, and will probably get a Hyundai Elantra because Hyundai will be so kind as to give me money (an owner loyalty rebate) because my wife happens to own a (busted) Hyundai. In so doing, I have decided to trust the automotive press when they tell me that Hyundais (Hyundae?) have become much better cars in the 8 years or so since my wife's was built. Also, I have some friends who bought their first car (an new Elantra) about a year and a half ago when they were in their mid-20s (un-American carless city dwellers they were) and have not managed to destroy it yet, though this has not been for lack of trying. I realize after that last paragraph I must sound like some safe-driving curmudgeon, and I suppose I am, but seriously folks. They've been hard on that poor little car. So far it has kept coming back for more punishment.

My tree-hugger friends and co-workers have encouraged me to buy a Prius. Sorry guys. I can still buy an awful lot of gas for the ten thousand extra dollars that they cost compared to what I'm considering.


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