Halfway down the street I live on, there is a roundabout at the intersection of a busy cross street. At least three times a week, I come close to colliding with other vehicles at the roundabout because drivers are either inattentive, completely distracted, or simply unskilled. And there is an accident at this roundabout at least once a week.
It has been interesting to see the road safety response to this.
Improve the intersection? No. Improve driver training? No.
Place mobile speed cameras near the intersection? YES!
An interesting response given that it appears all the accidents at the intersection occur at below the speed limit. Yet, unfortunately, itís also a predictable response.
And while the government insists that more speed cameras will fix the road toll, this mini social experiment has provided insights to the contrary.
I still have the same number of near-misses each week, and it seems that the accident rate at the roundabout has actually increased as people look at the speed cameras and run up the back of stationary cars.
Oh, the stupidity...
Mike Muskens, via email, NSW
Iíve been mulling the curious decision to install the V6 in the new Holden Commodore VXR.
The alternative 2.0-litre turbo petrol, at 350Nm, is not too bad. It sits comfortably under the V6 but with a twist ... With the four-cylinder the Commodore is lighter, and the turbo makes its torque low in the revs, the part of the power band we use every drive. Itíd feel just as quick and would definitely be more frugal.
And 11.7L/100km from the V6 does not sound very 2018, does it? I can understand the irresistible urge felt by Holden marketing to milk the dead cow and rebadge the Insignia as a Commodore, but surely the extra investment installing the V6 was a folly? Especially as they knew they couldnít fit the twin-turbo version in (to create an SS).
It also resulted in a reluctance to upgrade the 2.0-litre turbopetrol power output (the 2013 Astra had 400Nm) to save the V6 VXR from being embarrassed.
Keep up the great work!
Brian Wood, via email
You didnít get a sneak peek at our VXR comparo did you, Brian? We arrived at much the same conclusion Ė Ed
Being a keen sub-$100K car driver/buyer, Iíve often been swayed by a Wheels review. John Careyís argument last month that Australian petrol prices should rise, however, shows heís lost touch with the rest of us reading the magazine, (Opinion: The idiocy of inefficiency, Wheels February).
Just as Barnaby Joyce campaigned to defend the sanctity of marriage from gay weddings, while at the same time making a love-child with his side-chick, John Carey seems to want us all to pay more for petrol, while he enjoys flying around the world driving supercars at someone elseís expense.
Arguing we should follow the lead of countries like Norway and subsidise EV uptake is laughable, too. For starters, Norwayís electricity generation comes mainly from hydro so, environmentally, EVs make sense. But secondly (and hereís the irony), Norway can afford heavy EV subsidies because it makes trillions of dollars selling North Sea crude oil.
Before you go encouraging the government to jack up petrol prices again, just take a second to spare a thought for us plebs who donít get handed the keys to exotic high-performance cars regularly, and who might opt for a Golf R or a Stinger over a Leaf or Prius for a bit of motoring joy.
Nick Tyrrell, via email
Iíd rather have NZís pricing structure, (Opinion: The idiocy of inefficiency, Wheels February).
All the road taxes are included in your fuel so while they pay $2.00-2.20 a litre in petrol, they only pay roughly $150 a year in rego.
So those with multiple cars arenít paying multiple times for the same thing. Fuel guzzlers contribute more through buying more fuel, thus paying more tax.
Efficient vehicles obviously pay less.
James Stacey, via Facebook
Having recently been involved in a head-on collision at an estimated closing speed of 140160km/h, where fortunately all survived, I ask the question: What research, if any, has been done on the injuries to rear-seat passengers?
In this particular accident the worst injuries to the front seat occupants were a fractured wrist, dislocated foot and fractured sternum (the airbags had been replaced the previous fortnight due to the Takata recall), and the carís design certainly performed its intended function. Those in the rear seats, however, received multiple fractures and severe trauma injuries with stays in Intensive Care of 10 days (myself) and 42 days with surgery and long rehabilitation to follow.
Without modern vehicle design, with all the safety aids built in, we would not have survived.
But, maybe itís time manufacturers and relevant bodies took a look at how to better protect those in the rear seat as well as those in the front!
Geoff Langley, via email
Sixty-seven grand for a $36K Colorado with plastics, cheap wheels and a red-stitched dash?
HSV R&D mustíve been on holidays or suffered serious budget cuts when they came up with this disaster. Add it to the flop pile along with Avalanche, SV6000 and Astra VXR.
Theyíve obviously done very little market research to understand their customer. HSV buyers want power and lots of it. Thatís why you bought a GTS over an SS, not for some badge no one cares about and some plastic trinkets slapped on the outside. Anyone with $60K to spend on a 4x4 ute will buy a top-of-the-range Hilux or Amarok, and anyone with $60K who wants power will buy a V8 Mustang. Holden and HSV have lost the plot.
Aidan Kovac, via Facebook
HSV is not alone in being shy of giving a trade ute some serious stonk. Fordís Ranger Raptor majors on off-road ability rather than grunt, but we agree that thereís a bit of hitíníhope on pricing Ė Ed.
For his danger dodging ability and insightful argument that speed cameras arenít the answer (weíve been banging that drum for years), Mike Muskens will enjoy the next 12 issues of Wheels on us.