I was thinking the other day, about the continous arguement of safety. The idea that new cars are safer has been something in question in my mind. An issues raised was one when I was driving down the side of the mountain in the rain just yesterday. the road slightly cambers through the corners on the way down, the inside of the corners being lower than the outside, as the camber changes between these corners so does the flow of the excess drainage. Coming down the road doing 90 km/h hydro planing is noticiable. Being poor I'm forced to run what ever tires come free, and for a while I was running some very skinny 175/5/r13's. I had no issue with the water, and never noticed any loss of steering feel. Then I ha dswitched to some 205/55/r14's for a short while, suddenly bombing down the hill in the wet had very dramatic bouts of steering feel loss when crossing these areas of drainage. Understeer was noticable, and the wall surrounding the car would become more of a threat than usual. Having been back on skinny tires again I haven't had any issues from hydro plaining again. It got me thinking about the constant debate I have with my imaginary devil's advocate about the struggle between preparing to survive the crash, rather than avoid it. New cars size and weight is constantly an issue to me, when parking an '85 RX7 beside a 2003 Honda Civic, you erally learn the dramatic changes in scale vehicles have gone through. Weight plays an important role in the tire size of a vehicle, and the heavier vehicle gets, the more tire it needs to corner safely in the dry. Tire width increases, and often side wall shrinks. The side wall is affected by the size of the brakes, heavier cars need larger brakes to stop them, requiring larger wheels to clear the larger brakes. The trade off is a shorter and albeit stiffer sidewall. I do not support sloppy sidewall flex by no means, but in wet, slushy, slippery conditions a stiff sidewall can resist the tire deformation needed to clear water out from under the tire patch. Often, I'm stuck behind slower moving newer vehicles when traveling down the side of the mountain I live on. I often swear at them, and although much of the issue is with my faster pace of driving, I'm often confused by the lack of confidence the other drivers display in these rough conditions. Are vehicles now worse for cornering in the wet and snow from the combination of greater mass in motion and a wider tire not being able to reach the road surface? It'd a question that seems true to me, but I'm not qualified to answer. What do you think?
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