No airbags. We die like real men!
No airbags. We die like real men. Well, actually, I’d rather not die at all, thanks.
Have you seen the sticker that reads ‘No airbags. We die like real men’? As I bore down on an MG SUV that pulled out in front of me on a wet highway yesterday morning I suddenly thought of that sticker.
According to my dash-cam footage, I was cruising along at around 95km/h (in a 100 zone) before I braked to avoid the silver SUV that pulled out in front of me. I was driving my 1994 Defender 110 wagon, so no ABS, no stability control and certainly no airbags. As I instinctively swerved and braked to avoid a collision, one (or more) of the BFG All-Terrains lost traction on the slippery blacktop and the Defender started to slew sideways. I eased off the anchors so I wouldn’t lose control and I veered into the empty oncoming lane. The bloke in the MG also braked at the last moment and we avoided an impact by less than a metre, I reckon.
Had there been an oncoming vehicle, I reckon I would’ve T-boned that little SUV instead of veering across the double lines, and I don’t think it would’ve turned out very nice for anyone involved: him, me or my Defender.
My mate Justin was driving behind me in a new Defender, and he also had to brake quite hard to avoid hitting the SUV which, after I had safely passed it, continued on with its right-hand turn on to the highway.
I pulled up in a safe spot a little further up the road to check that the dash-cam had captured the incident and after reviewing it I realised my heart was pumping big-time. I love my old Defender but I really do wonder how it would perform in a high-speed crash. Not so well, I would hazard a guess, thanks to chassis tech that dates back 50 years or more, seat bases held in place with little clips, a seatbelt anchor-point bolt that protrudes from the B-pillar near my head and nothing other than a crash-pad on the steering wheel to cushion any impact.
The new Defender, on the other hand, is jam-packed with active safety tech, to both avoid a collision in the first place and to cocoon its occupants in a plethora of safety restraint systems if worst comes to worst.
The last time I was involved in a ‘sorry, I didn’t see you moment’, I was riding a Suzuki DR650, and a quality Kabuto helmet saved my scone. Perhaps I should start wearing a helmet when I drive my old Landy.