That Hipster VW Bus – it’s Just Not Worth It

VWbus
publicdomainpictures.net

 

Yesterday I saw the cutest young family in an original, restored VW bus. The mom and dad were probably in their late 20’s and they had an adorable little girl. I watched as the dad opened the back of the van to pull out a backpack and the mom unbuckled their little one from her seat. Dad put the child in the backpack and lifted it onto mom’s shoulders. They were affectionate, happy, and adorable.

But my heart was heavy watching them. I knew it was none of my business, but I wished I could offer them some advice. I didn’t – but when Russ walked over to me, I got a little weepy as I told him what I wished I could say.

The good news is that I have a blog, so although I couldn’t say this to them, I can write it here and maybe it will help someone else.

Following our accident, Russ did extensive research on vehicle safety. So many lives have been saved because of airbags alone. Technology can now help correct the direction of the car, reduce the risk of roll overs (which is a significant contributor to fatalities), adjust brakes, and more.

I know that even safe vehicles do not eliminate deaths. We were in a safe vehicle and our daughter still died.  The position of our car, the position of the oncoming car, where Kalkidan was seated in our car, the road conditions, all of those details mattered. The people in the other car walked away from the accident with minor injuries because they hit us with the front of their car and their airbags deployed.

I also recognize that most of us can’t afford cars with the latest technology. We still have one old car that doesn’t have airbags. Following the accident we laid down the law that it can only be driven in town at low speeds, and it cannot be taken on highways. Our plan is to replace it as soon as we can.

I completely understand how great that VW bus is; it evokes happy nostalgia. It’s one of the ultimate hipster vehicles, but the problem is that it was designed and built in a time when vehicle safety technology was far less advanced.

I wish I could tell that young couple that it’s great to be hipster, it’s amazing to be fashionable and make statements about who you are. Let your clothes, music, home, hair, and even your glasses reflect your uniqueness.

But not your car.

Lisa

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

12 Comments

  1. Amy
    August 17, 2015

    Having been a professional nanny I have thought the same thing when I have seen car seats in cars that never buckled seats in them like the VW Bus. I am a big car seat Nazi and I know those cars don't have latch systems and safe seat belts to hold those car seats safely. You are correct in saying the whole car is not safe. We need to trust that the Lord will keep us safe however we can choose to make smart and safe decisions. Safe cars are important in our daily lives.
    Thank you so much for sharing your lives with us. I enjoy reading your blog so much because you share the hard things. Our family has been through so much in the last couple of years and it's so encouraging to read about a fellow believer who is remaining faithful in the trials of life.
    Blessings to you and your family.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 17, 2015

      Amy, thanks for sharing your perspective. Our safety is ultimately all in God's hands, but I agree that we need to make the best choices we can. I'm sure it has never crossed this young couple's minds that they (or their child) might not be safe.

      Reply
    2. lulu88
      August 17, 2015

      Not "Nazi," though. Please save that term for true evil. Don't do a disservice to one group of people who suffered in caring for another. Thank you.

      Reply
  2. Kate Sumpter
    August 17, 2015

    I realize the importance of car safety more and more and this post is another timely reminder. We're are in the process of replacing our car (transmission's shot) and we're doing the research on used vehicles since we can't afford a brand new one, hot of the market type. Perhaps Russ would write a post here with some car buying tips?

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 17, 2015

      I doubt I can get Russ to write a post right now, but I'm sure he would be happy to talk with you. We're totally not cool, in our minivan, but it is a super safe vehicle.

      Reply
  3. Heidi
    August 17, 2015

    I know someone who lost their leg driving one and getting in an accident. There is absolutely no front end protection at all. VW buses are dangerous!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 17, 2015

      That is sad – if only they weren't so neat looking.

      Reply
  4. Alicia
    August 17, 2015

    It was always my belief that most car accidents happened close to home versus on the highway so if it were me I would not drive the car without airbags even in town. I have experienced trauma due to a car accident in my family and I am deeply sorry and saddened that you have experienced this pain also. In the past five years there have been two major car accidents on the street I live on. I live in a residential neighborhood on a side street. My family member is disabled from the accident she was in and the grief regarding permanent disability wells up in me at various times. Wishing you and your family the best.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 17, 2015

      I don't know the statistics, but thank you for pointing that out, Alicia. Thankfully, nobody has needed to drive that car all summer with Isaiah being in St. Louis. We're looking for a good replacement and hope to buy something soon. We don't need anything fancy – just safe.

      Reply
  5. ClK
    August 17, 2015

    Excellent reminder, Lisa. We always check out the crash test ratings for our vehicles, new or used before we buy. NHSTA.gov and safercar.gov have the crash test ratings. It isn't just expensive cars that are safe either, you can find reasonable cars with great crash test ratings.
    We always taught our kids to buy safe cars this way……but were gutted last year when our adopted son bought a motorcycle. Breaks my heart every time I see one.
    The Lord is our ultimate protection but I believe He also expects us to live in wisdom and be an good example to others. I'm sure your post will help others.
    God bless, Lisa, praying for you and your family

    Reply
  6. Michelle
    August 18, 2015

    I have to point out the irony of your statement to let your clothes, home, etc. express your uniqueness, when the VW (folk's wagon= vehicle for the common people) was created to eliminate diversity in its day.

    (I absolutely agree with you regarding the need for more safe vehicles!)

    Reply
  7. jason b
    August 13, 2021

    I just want to say this comes from no place of disrespect and I am sorry for any loss people have had due to vehicle accidents.
    There is more to car safety then just air bags, Tires are actually the most important safety item, as are brakes, steering and MAINTENANCE. any newer car becomes twice as dangerous as a VW BUS when you do not put proper tires and maintain the vehicle. I guarantee anyone still driving an old bus around has put more love and care into that vehicle then you have on your car. My Daughter and mine’s favorite memories is of our days adventuring in our bus. We spend a lifetime making memories with our families and would give up anything to make more…..
    Yes….They are worth it.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

I accept the Privacy Policy