What Crash Test Dummies Won’t Tell You

To automotive designers everywhere: Yes, I'm sure you're excited about aerodynamics, safety, sleek lines, and all those other wonderful features that the voiceover people in the car commercials get so breathless about.

But I have just one question. When you finish designing a car with all the latest and greatest technology and breakthrough design, and they build a prototype, do you ever actually drive it? Not just for a couple of quick spins around a test track, but on a real trip. Across South Dakota on I-90 from Rapid City to Sioux Falls, for example.

I thought not. If you did, you might notice a few design flaws you've somehow overlooked.

Take the headrests, for example. Please. Take mine. I know, I know, they're a safety feature, and they have to meet certain requirements as established for the good of the driving public with the help of crash test dummies. If I'm ever rear-ended by a beer truck, they might save me from a broken neck, and I'm sure I'd be very grateful.

But I bet none of those crash test dummies who try out the headrests ever have their hair pinned up with a plastic clip. No matter how you adjust the headrest, the clip hits it, so you're left with three choices:

A. Drive with the plastic teeth of the clip digging into the back of your head;

B. Drive with your neck bent, peering up under your eyebrows to see oncoming traffic, thus endangering yourself and others and arriving at your destination with a sore neck and aching back; or

C. Yanking out the clip and arriving at your destination with bad hair.

Crash test dummies don't need to worry about things like this, since they don't have hair.

Apparently crash test dummies and automotive designers don't carry purses, either. Otherwise, you'd think one of them might have noticed that today's cars have no place to put one.

The front console is full of teeny little cubbyholes and places to plug in all the electronic devices that we aren't supposed to use while we're driving. The space between the seats is filled from seat back to console with arm rests and cup holders and clever little storage bins for more illicit electronic devices and other items, all of which are smaller than the average purse.

The only convenient place to park a purse is in the passenger seat, which is fine unless you happen to have a passenger there. Especially if the passenger either: a), doesn't want to hold your purse on his lap all the way from Rapid City to Sioux Falls; b), isn't someone you'd trust to hold your purse; or c), is someone like a pregnant daughter who doesn't have a lap.

Therefore, you need to stash your purse on the floor, where it's in the way, or dump it into the back seat, where it's safe but out of reach. Except to the two-year-old back there in her car seat, who can entertain herself for miles by tearing all your ten-dollar bills into confetti and making calls to Indonesia on your cell phone.

You can, of course, park the phone in one of the handy-dandy little cubbyholes in the front console. Except then if it rings and you reach for it, you're likely to drop it into the plastic grocery bag you have hanging from the gearshift lever. The bag limits the passenger's leg room and obscures the letters on the gearshift that tell you whether you're in Drive or Reverse, but hey, those are minor inconveniences. Besides, there's no place else to put it.

Because apparently, automotive designers and crash test dummies don't use litter bags, either.

Categories: Just For Fun, Travel | 1 Comment

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One thought on “What Crash Test Dummies Won’t Tell You

  1. Frank

    Yep. Our car has the same head rest configuration and I have to tip the whole seat back so that head rest doesn’t make me lean forward, which,in turn makes me drive hunched over, so if I ever do hit something to catapult me backwards, I would get an unwelcome jolt.

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