In was has become an every 3-to-4 year ritual, I have begun the process of personally looking for a new vehicle. Over the years, I have had various makes and models of vehicles, and the buying process is usually a several months ordeal for me. Like most people, I am looking for a vehicle that meets my needs, has good fuel economy, and fits my price range and budget. Another “must have” for me is four-wheel-drive capability (something I have had in every vehicle I have owned for the last 25 years).
However, there is one added dynamic when I purchase a vehicle. I am looking at the vehicle for not only comfort and convenience, but the vehicle rescuer in me is also looking from the vehicle rescue safety perspective. By this I mean that while I am out looking and test driving vehicles I pay very close attention to things like airbags, vehicle construction, and energy/propulsion systems. You would be amazed what you can learn as a rescuer just by “shopping around” at vehicle dealerships.
I have also found that most – but not all – car sales people really do not understand how vehicle rescuers look at a car – or at least how they should be looking at them. When you start asking sales people about UHSS, SRS, hybrid safety, etc., they tend to have a perplexed look and will then redirect the conversation to how great the car stereo system is. That’s all well and good, but I don’t expect the 10 stereo speakers will have any affect on my rescue efforts as compared to the 10 air bags installed in the vehicle.
A statement I make in every class (and usually multiple times) is that in order to be good at vehicle rescue you have to know and understand vehicles. This is no different from firefighters understanding building construction. Understanding what you are attacking can make the difference between a successful outcome and a not-so-successful one.
As I continue on the odyssey to a new vehicle, I am going to use my web blog to highlight some of the vehicles I look at from the vehicle rescuer perspective; so that we can all learn something and maybe make rescue from these vehicles easier and safer.
I hope you will come along for the ride…