Every year, thousands of people die in car crashes globally. Car manufacturers are trying their best to evolve the structure of their vehicles so that they can withstand collisions. However, a lot of deaths occur every year due to partial collisions. A new study now reveal that partial collisions are sometimes even more dangerous than full frontal collisions. And, most cars, even the most luxurious ones, are not prepared to withstand small overlap crashes and save the riders.
The study has been carried out by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). In the course of the study, IIHS found out that only 3 out of 11 midsize luxury cars, which were tested during the study, were able to withstand small overlap crash test.
It may be surprising to note that a driver may indeed remain safe in a direct head-on collision, the overlap frontal crashes prove more fatal. According to the president of IIHS, Adrian Lund, “Vehicles are as safe as they’ve ever been. They do well in our current moderate overlap crash test and also the government’s crash test but we still see a lot of people dying in frontal crashes, 10,000 a year. When we look at why they are dying, it turns out small overlap crashes are a big part of that problem.”
Why partial collisions are more dangerous?
The reason why the frontal overlap crashes are so dangerous is that when such crashes occur, most of the shock is directed to the wheels, windshield pillars and door structures. The result is that the compartment of the driver is squeezed, causing severe injuries and in some cases, deaths.
Lund further says, “It’s packaging 101. If you ship a fragile item in a strong box, it’s more likely to arrive at its destination without breaking. In crashes, people are less vulnerable to injury if the occupant compartment remains intact.”
During its tests, IIHS found out that Volvo S60 proved to be the most secure vehicle during frontal overlap crashes. It was able to survive the crash “by strengthening the safety cage to make it more resistant to intrusion, adding a stiff member on the outer edge of the vehicle to begin to absorb the crash energy early in the contact, and they put a cross member across the occupant compartment to further strengthen and resist intrusion.”
IIHS aims to pass these recommendations to car vendors so that they create such vehicles which can stand not only head-on collisions, but can also sustain the brunt of a frontal overlap crash, keeping the driver safe.
According to the Consumers Reports Deputy Automotive Editor Jeff Barlett, “What we’re seeing is the Insurance Institute is going to push the industry into further improving the crash protection in cars for the future. The good news is that, in years to come, manufacturers will be looking very closely at this and making changes that will further improve their crash worthiness.”
Watch the video below to see IIHS president Adrian Lund speak about the tests.
Source: ABC News