IIHS: “Always Buy Side Safety Pillows”

Whenever I feel like taking a nap on the highway, after a long day’s drive or a day of work, I do what any red-blooded American citizen does: Drive my car into a brick wall at speeds approaching thirty miles per hour. I do this because carmakers have been thoughtful enough to make special pillows that come out of their cars’ steering wheels, which I like to call “safety pillows”. My understanding of the situation is, whenever you’re on a long-ass trip and you’re afraid the local hotels might be fleabags, or you’ve been drinking or whatever, you just crash your car, and that activates your pillows. That way, there’s no chance you’ll have to spend the night with cockroaches, and there’s no chance you’ll accidentally wind up stumbling into another patron’s motel room, drunk and naked, and they won’t call the police on you. If that isn’t safety, I don’t know what is.

The first attempts at activating safety pillows went awry. For example, the Ford F-150’s safety pillow didn’t come out fast enough, meaning that when you went to begin taking your nap, you would hit your head on the steering wheel, which isn’t fun for anyone.

Also the rest of the car would crumple like a tin can. This would be inconvenient.

The Chinese, as is typical of the Chinese, still do not quite have the bugs worked out in their Safety Department:

This at least partly explains why Kung Pao Chicken gives me a headache.

Some later vehicles, like the Chevrolet Colorado or Toyota Prius, do better, and generally will not kill you if you attempt to activate their safety pillows:

However, if you intend to activate your pillows from the side, in case you want to rest on the door, be sure that you in fact have side pillows, as a recent test from the IIHS indicates. In the test, they showed the dangers of attempting to crash your vehicle into another vehicle without such airy goodness.

The IIHS tests were like an episode of American Gladiators, only the contestants were trucks, and the test was to see which one performed the best when smacked into by a wall of metal at 31 miles an hour. The brave gladiators included:

Toyota Tacoma: The Hero that Everybody Loves Except Angry Gun-Toting Rednecks And Me, Because It’s a Big Ugly Thing That Rusts From The Inside Out, As In This Picture:

Nissan Frontier: The Big Lardass With a Body of Steel and Heart of Gold

Dodge Dakota: The Obnoxious Drunken American Asshole

Ford Ranger: The Old Cranky Geezer

Chevy Colorado: The Mildly Retarded One

The crowd cheered as the competitors entered the Coliseum. And the IIHS delivered its decision. Rivers of tears fell that day, as the Mildly Retarded One fell to the moving wall of senseless violence.

The Old Cranky Geezer also got called out by the IIHS, something involving children in their rear seats, so I’m guessing it involved pedophilia. Good for the IIHS, I say. I’ve got no place for pedophiles. Screw you, Ford Ranger.

So anyway, the basic results of the test were: If you’re going to get crashed into by a wall the same height as an SUV’s grille and bumpers, you’d better damn well have your safety pillows or else you’re taking a dirt nap, if you know what I mean. I was disgusted that, in a nation as great and powerful as ours, we would have results like this. Our vehicles should be so big and heavy that they dwarf a tank. After all, we’re paying for their fuel, they’d might as well be able to protect us from moderately large meteor strikes. So I emailed Chevrolet, telling them that I was repulsed by their terrible results and saying that their retarded little pickup should be put back to eating paste and hugging random people for no reason, where it belongs. They sent me the following letter:

Dear Mr. Lupe the Lobo,

Thank you for contacting Chevrolet and for your interest in the 2008 Chevrolet Colorado! We appreciate the time you have taken to write us.

GM develops the safety systems in its vehicles to perform in a range of tests and real-world conditions. The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon meet or exceed all federal safety standards and have performed very well in other consumer information tests. While Chevrolet has not announced any changes to be made to the safety equipment on the Colorado, the Colorado and Canyon meet or exceed all federal safety standards and have performed very well in other consumer information tests. Contrary to the IIHS announcement, both pickups have StabiliTrak standard for the 2009 model year.

The crash performance of the Colorado Crew Cab was demonstrated in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) in which the truck received the highest rating of 5-stars for both the driver and front passenger in the frontal crash test. The Colorado also received a 4-star rating for the driver and 5-star rating for the rear passenger in the side test.

The Colorado and Canyon pickups employ a host of safety features consistent with GM’s Continuous Safety approach and GM’s electronic stability control system, StabiliTrak, is standard for the 2009 model year versions. While GM conducts more than 150 different types of crash tests on its vehicles, only about 25 percent are called for in regulatory or consumer information tests like the IIHS. The IIHS side crash test is a single test designed to simulate a very severe crash.

We would like to thank you for your feedback regarding the safety of the Chevrolet Colorado. Many of our decisions regarding our vehicles are dependant on the market place. Customers provide feedback to us regarding our current vehicles, future vehicles, and the different components on them. From the information provided, we, in turn, make decisions and changes towards our product. We will document your suggestions and comments and forward them to the appropriate department.

If you are not currently working with a Chevrolet dealership in your area and you would like to locate one, an easy way to do so is by using the Find a Dealer web tool on http://www.chevrolet.com. We suggest scheduling a test drive as well. There is nothing like a test drive to help you make that ultimate decision!

I was disgusted by Chevrolet once again. Clearly, they had not heard Mr. Lund of the IIHS when he said that small pickups weren’t safe choices for consumers. And yet they still wanted me to buy their little retard mobile. Me, an American, buy a vehicle that the IIHS doesn’t consider the pinnacle in its class. A travesty, I say!

Never mind. I will continue driving my Mercury Mistake LS (stands for Loser Sentry) which recieved a Poor in the IIHS frontal crash test. My mother will continue to drive her Escape, which got a Poor in the IIHS’s side crash test for not having side airbags, and her 1998 F-150 deathtrap, which got five stars in all NHTSA tests except frontal passenger ratings. Many of you who drive older RAV-4’s without side airbags are driving pure deathmobiles. That Scion xB gets Poor IIHS ratings in car accidents because it isn’t available with side air bags. You could get injured in a car wreck! My God, I never would have realized!

“In NHTSA’s test, because the barrier is rigid, the deceleration in the test is faster, so it’s a better and more demanding test of the restraint system. Our tests are harder on the structure. What you get out of the two tests is a fuller view of the vehicle’s overall safety.” –Anne Fleming, IIHS

So in the end, what can we learn from the IIHS? First off, always buy your vehicles with safety pillows. Also, apparently there is Electronic Stability Control, which probably has to do with stability of some kind, possibly involving Georgia. And finally, Anne Fleming might be related to Ian Fleming. Was James Bond the first crash-test dummy? I submit he was.

I hope you’ve learned something today. I know I have. I don’t really know what it is, yet, but I know it’s brewing. I hope it’s calculus.

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