If you are reading this you are probably a petrol head, or at the very least a car enthusiast, and I would bet you consider yourself to be a good and safe driver. And I'd probably agree with you. You may have spent some time on track, you may drive an older car with no driver aids, you may drive a car that would not perform well in Euro NCAP crash tests. But I bet you feel safe when in your car, and I bet you are happy to transport your offspring in it too.
I've just driven home from the supermarket in heavy rain, in a rear wheel drive car with no driver aids whatsoever. My car has no traction control or ABS and only the lightest of input from the power steering. If I lock up under braking, careen off into a hedge or crash into the back of some unfortunate soul it is my fault. Not the car's.
I drove those 5 miles home through teeming rain, through vast puddles, with limited visibility, with reduced grip and I managed to make it home quite safely. Something I've been able to do all my life.
I passed my driving test aged 17 and 4 months in August 1988. In the time since I can count on the fingers of one hand the incidents I've had which could be counted as a minor incident, and none of them could be misconstrued as crashing a car.
I slewed into a ditch in my mum's Fiesta during heavy snowfall in winter 1988. That was at less than 5mph and did nothing more than damage my pride, and is the closest I've ever come to a real crash.
The nearest I've come to injuring anyone else was when Vivian Westwood, on a bicycle flew, from behind a parked van into my path. If my reaction to swerve and brake at the same time (without locking the wheels, in a car with no ABS) had been slower I would have made the national headlines.
Yet modern cars are becoming ever safer. Modern cars are fitted with electronic stability control, crumple zones, Euro NCAP star ratings, reversing cameras, automatic braking, cyclist and pedestrian detection and avoidance etc etc etc.
Here's the headline of a press release I recieved last week:
TOYOTA REVEALS NEW INTEGRATED SAFETY TECHNOLOGY FOR PEDESTRIAN COLLISION AVOIDANCE AND AUTOMATED DRIVING
I didn't write an article based on it. But maybe I should. There are more than 31 million cars on UK roads. How many of those do you think are piloted by people who would consider themselves a car enthusiast, or at least take a passing interest in the science and art of driving?
Volvo's stated aim is to that by 2020 no person, or animal, should be killed or injured in a collision with a Volvo. That is a beautiful intent. It will make the roads safer and less lives will be lost.