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Old 09-15-2006, 07:28 AM   #11
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Volvo and other european manufacturers were building crumple zones into cars in the mid 80s. Ever see the video of a 740 flying off the roof of their factory? Long story short, it was driven off of a two-story roof and into the pavement below. The car came to a rest after landing on its nose, then the driver opened the door and got out. They ran it as a commercial.

Thing is, a crumple zone is designed to absorb the energy before it gets to the passenger compartment. To me that doesn't appear to have happened in this case. There is some extremely serious deformation of the passenger compartment, and I would NOT have wanted to be in the passenger seat of that thing. Good luck played heavily into this guy's survival.

It just goes to show why vehicle mass has increased so much over the years. Small cars, especially, need to be built like vaults in order to contend with a soccer mom on her cell phone driving a 5,000lb disaster machine.
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Old 09-15-2006, 08:15 AM   #12
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couldn't agree more brick, the car didnt' stand up well at all, the guy was plain lucky that the steering column didn't move much and that it seems the impact was mainly carried on the passenger side.
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Old 09-15-2006, 10:31 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brick
Volvo and other european manufacturers were building crumple zones into cars in the mid 80s. Ever see the video of a 740 flying off the roof of their factory? Long story short, it was driven off of a two-story roof and into the pavement below. The car came to a rest after landing on its nose, then the driver opened the door and got out. They ran it as a commercial.
OK, I was 8 years old in 1985, so maybe memory doesn't exactly serve.

Scandinavian automakers (Saab, Volvo, Skoda) made it a priority to put safety first, hence the memorable commercial from that time period. I grew up around Chevys, Buicks, and Oldsmobiles, whose idea of safety in the mid-80's was, well, "too expensive".

I can say from taking the roof off, popping the doors, and rolling-up the dash of a variety of vehicles in my time as a Fire-Rescue-Medic, and having seen the human impact of crashes first hand, Domestic automakers starting thinking safety probably when it was required (I would have to research it) but probably around '88 when the last rear-wheel drive Oldsmobile rolled out and a majority of all passenger cars were FWD. Putting things like the automatic seatbelts, ABS, and airbags quickly came in the 90's -- and more extensive crash testing in the early 90's comes to mind. I agree that quality foreign Marques advertised such the fact in the mid-80's, but the "Big-3" were sorely absent.

And by the way, to GM -- around 2000 for no longer offering ABS standard on all of its Chevrolets (which started around '93). I can see Ford doing the same thing with stability control when they feel it's "too expensive" to manufacture (unless it becomes mandatory) -- write Congress

Regarding the SUV/Honda, the guy was flat lucky. The dash/wheel could have easily pinned him and/or injured him badly. Basically there are at least 3 collisions in a major accident. The 1st is obvious: the SUV into the car. For every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction. (1) SUV into car, (2) driver into wheel, door, dash, belt, airbags, etc., and (3) When the brain actually snaps back into place, bruising it on the opposite side of the second impact (3-"Contracoup"). Imagine a slightly smaller water balloon inside a ballon with regular air. Throw it against the wall and the inner ballon with hit the wall side, but will recoil afterwards and hit the opposite site. Dangerous swelling of the brain can happen after the "3rd collision". This is where the brain comes back to rest after the "2nd collision", the driver moving into whatever stops them. That's why it's important to monitor crash victims for a while after an accident and/or get a CT scan at the ER to show any injury that could be hiding.

In my Brother's case, this was a pure crumple situation. Everyone was fine.

RH77
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Old 09-15-2006, 10:40 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theclencher
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crumple_zone
"The crumple zone concept was pioneered by Mercedes-Benz and first introduced on the 1953 180 "Ponton" sedan."

I don't know what date to assign as the beginning of the safety "revolution" but I do know that the bulk of safety improvements as we know them started appearing in the '50's- disc brakes, seat belts, padded dashes, etc. I also recall that articles on safety cars and things like the development of 5 mph bumpers were covered just about every month in the early 70's by magazines like Popular Mechanics.
Excellent research -- I applaud the discussion. Maybe I'm seeing it from a generational perspective. There could have been waves of safety improvements with a dip from 1975-1985. The 50's did see better brakes, the 60's brought shoulder belts, 70's 5-mph bumpers, 80's accident protection, 90's accident prevention and protection, '00 all of the above and then some. I recall reading about vehicles having to radically change their bumper structure to meet the mandates in the early 70's. It usually added weight to their underpowered nature, and usually looked funny until the next redesign.

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Old 09-15-2006, 11:08 PM   #15
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When did the 5mph bumper for parking lot love taps come into play?...I see tests of that today, and many cars still do very poorly...
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