Boy howdy is that the case. And the following seems to sum it up:I’ve always said that there are more people “riding” in their cars than there are actually driving them.
Far and away the most exciting vehicle I've ever been in was a ~1990 VW Cabriolet convertible. Its performance was mediocre but even at a mere 20MPH one was forcibly reminded of the fleeting nature of existence such was its lack of structural integrity, alarming creaks and groans, multiple-choice stance upon recovery from any notable form of suspension travel, otherwise lack of meaningful encapsulation of the passenger area, and as a taller fella I could not safely drive it since the top of the windshield was nearly at eye level.
Obviously repeat exposure without incident would reduce these fears. But I doubt one would ever feel as safe in said vehicle as a design some 4 decades newer, which the average motorist seems less inclined to properly operate. And while I'm not advocating for increasing danger on the roads, perhaps the perception needs to increase. While I have appreciation for the difference between seeing and perceiving things, my sense is that a growing slice of the driving public just can't be arsed to pay enough attention to the road, thus many things they see aren't given enough attention to be perceived and thus acted upon. While it would be madness to increase actual danger while driving, perhaps the perception of danger needs to increase since all the PR campaigns in the world aren't going to do squat.