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Vehicle safety is an ever-changing idea, and along the way there are some wacky and interesting thoughts that go into it. Some catch on, such as seat belts, rear-view mirrors, antilock brakes, and airbags. Because remember, these features were not always standard, nor were they always around.

So in the spirit of the humorous and quirky, here are some odd proposed vehicle safety inventions that were never able to catch on. It should be mentioned that some of the ideas were actually decent, but for whatever reason they were unable to gain any traction in the automotive world.

Reverse Periscopes

There are only two other areas I can think of where this technology persisted. One being in submarines to be able to see above the water line, especially without having to expose themselves. The other being during WWI in trench warfare, the reason being the same as submarines. But for vehicles, the problems were in the blind spots. Periscopes could, theoretically, allow you to see anywhere on or around the vehicle. But cleaning of such an instrument is tedious at best, and if the mirrors were to shift the slightest, not only would they be difficult to correct, they would then be useless.

Hydraulic Bumpers

This idea is found in numerous vehicles throughout time, and there seem to be two different themes on the same idea. One being a motorized bumper, which would extend up to 6 inches when the vehicle was in motion. The other being a hydraulic bumper that would flex up to 16 inches upon impact. Both obviously would lessen the impact felt, but when it came to design, they just simply looked silly.

Vacuum-Cup/Octopus Tires

Most people know the power of a little suction, based on the things we hand on windows, Nerf darts, or even octopus tentacles. Well, imagine having the power of suction on your tires during a wet day. Seem like a good idea right? That is until you realize you can’t make an airtight seal on concrete very well… especially asphalt. Thus, you don’t see octopus tires anymore.

Programmed Contraction Collapsible Steering Wheel

We didn’t always have airbags in our vehicles, while the steering wheel has always been a place our face meets during an accident. So if we can’t cushion the wheel, the next best thing would then be to remove it from range of our face. Thus the collapsible wheel idea took off. In essence, the wheel was attached with cables to the front of the car, and in the event of a collision, the steering wheel would be pulled towards the front of the vehicle.

4 Windshield Wipers

There can be any number of windshield wipers on a vehicles front windshield, and throughout time there have been mono wipers, the standard dual wipers, and in the end I suppose it could be assumed that if 1 is good, 2 is better, and anything more is best. With that idea… the quad-window wipers were made. But I think Murphy’s law came into play here, as having the extra wipers only allowed for more problems to occur.

Knee Belts

Your Torso isn’t the only part of your body moving during a car crash. Your legs are prone to shift as well, which is why knee belts were invented. But they didn’t last long, as at that point you might feel as though you’re in a metal straightjacket. Also, being that lashed in and tied up may not be the best idea in a car accident, when things are prone to catch fire.

Pedestrian Cow Catchers

There have been many ideas on how to keep pedestrians safe from a car hitting them. Most have to do with adding softer rubber material to the outside, which will do less damage to a person. But that does nothing for the potential of running a person over.  What happens when knocking them out of the way isn’t enough. Well how about a human catcher? This is essentially a scoop and basket on the front of a car that would, rather than run over, scoop up the pedestrian struck and keep them safely in a basket until the car came to a halt. It was found at the front of the vehicle, and to be honest, I would much rather be scooped up, than ran over.

Swiveling Collision Seats

There are moments when you may well see a car crash coming before it occurs, and you may not have anything to do to avoid such a disaster. Well rather than have to face the danger head on, why not turn your back on it? The swiveling collision seats would allow you to turn 180 degrees in the event that a car crash was imminent. In essence it would help to keep you from being crushed from a frontal collision. Though, how much time it takes to swivel may have been enough time to avoid the collision altogether.

Safety Colors

It’s hard not to notice neon greens and yellows on the road amongst all the normal and everyday ones we see. That would be because they are simply easy to spot compared to more common colors, which should make them easy to avoid as well. The problem being… no one uses these colors for a reason, and rather than be obnoxious, you risk the extra danger associated with blending in.

Crash Chamber

The most dangerous parts to the interior of a vehicle are all the hard, sharp, and edged additions. Rather than that, why not have a padded chamber, which was more like a padded room than a car cab. The more pads and cushion surrounding you, the safer overall you are going to be. All we’ve done nowadays is replace the cushions pads with air bags.

Automatic Fire Extinguisher

It’s bad enough that when a car crash occurs, the driver and passengers are all mangled up on the inside. But when a fire breaks out during a car crash that pretty much makes a bad situation worse. So to combat that whole problem before it even begins, having automatic fire extinguishers does the trick. But you can imagine the problems that can arise through this… such as asphyxiation.

Articulated Two-Part Cars

What would you say is the safest way to be in an accident? The less obvious answer to this question is to simply be in another car. Two part cars are safe for one main reason; the front of the car is separately attached, while the passenger car follows behind. In the sense, it almost acts as a train. Now if the passenger car were to be hit, the safety of two cars is lost. But nonetheless, it’s an interesting idea, and certainly makes for interesting designs.

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The author of this article is Damien S. Wilhelmi. If you enjoyed this piece you can follow me on twitter @MetalPedal. If you live in Colorado, and are looking for Aurora Transmission Repair Shops, there is no better place to turn than AAMCO Colorado.