Taking advantage of the recently concluded Cash for Clunkers program, this feeble mind traded in a clunker for a sedate family sedan. The last time I purchased a new vehicle for the spouse, I backed into a parked truck within the first month which caused no end of embarassment.
As a result, I am being very careful especially while backing out avoiding garbage cans and the like. New cars these days are loaded with safety features. But what I realize is that bumpers have become very soft. This is partially to cause less damage to pedestrians should you come in contact but also to serve as crumple zones directing the force of a crash away from the occupants of the vehicle.
While that is a noble design aspiration, unfortunately it lends itself easily to scratches, breaks and tears. The bumpers of my old clunker was made of solid steel. When I was rear ended by a newer car and a very low speed, the front end of the latter pretty much disintegrated while my clunker only suffered a couple of scratches.
I have also been noticing new cars with bumps on their bumpers. And it appears that in addition to having plastic bumpers, new cars don't have very good visibility. To be more aerodynamic, cars have sharply sloping bodies and a typical driver cannot see where the car ends. Most people however get used to their vehicles and can judge distances fairly accurately but perhaps before they get that intuition, they end up having a small accident or two.