What Car? Magazine surveys visibility from the ‘driver’s seat’
In a new test of car visibility conducted this month by What Car? Magazine, the Audi A4 has been voted the best model out of a sample of 50 vehicles from a variety of classes. According to the testers, the A4 saloon offers excellent crash protection combined with good forward visibility.
The comprehensive safety research, carried out by What Car? in conjunction with optician Dollond and Atchison, revealed that modern car design could be making accidents more likely. The test team argues that increases in the size of windscreen pillars "might add strength in an accident, but make it harder for drivers to spot hazards in the road ahead."
Testers compared the area obscured by the ‘A’ pillars in each sample car with the area visible through the windscreen, and awarded the Audi A4 top marks. Cars were assessed from a range of classes to investigate if today’s vehicles are offering less visibility and becoming harder to see out of.
The top ranked car, the A4 saloon, offers the same forward vision standards as its Avant counterparts so the industry leading visibility is available across 26 models sold in the UK. The advantage of top visibility will this year benefit as many as 27,000 new Audi A4 buyers in Britain, adding to a total of over 64,000 since UK sales of the model began.
Commenting on the thought-provoking findings, What Car?’s editor, Rob Aherne, said: "Over the past decade, cars have made giant strides in terms of protecting their occupants in accidents. But our research suggests that they may be increasing the likelihood of accidents happening in the first place."
"The best models showed that excellent crash test protection and good forward visibility can be combined in one design. The Audi A4 scored four out of five in Euro NCAP crash tests, yet still gives drivers a clear view of the road ahead."
‘Legislation covering forward visibility dates back 25 years,’ said Aherne. ‘In the light of our findings, we’re calling on car makers and the Government to consider whether the current regulations go anything like far enough to protect consumers.’
What Car?’s own survey, carried out in association with Dollond & Atchison, revealed that 45% of the respondents who don’t wear glasses or contact lenses haven’t had an eye test in the past two years. This suggests that the eyesight of around 13 million British drivers could be deteriorating unchecked.Published 21 September 2003