The impact of intense crash tests on the safety of modern vehicles

Crash Testing: A Closer Look at Vehicle Safety

When you think about crash testing (like I know you were doing, amirite?), visions of two dummies traveling down a straight road may come to mind. But that’s nonsense because no two crashes are the same and they definitely won’t always be straight-line head-on collisions.

Check out this crash test compilation video to see what I mean. It’s a fascinating look at multiple scenarios involving multiple types of vehicles. From passenger cars to trucks, this YouTube find shows how far vehicle safety has come in terms of ADAS and also how people inside are protected if a collision can’t be avoided. Some of the tests are extreme but unfortunately not unheard of, such as hurtling downhill at 200 km/h or dropping vehicles off a cliff.

Fortunately, the modern car’s goal is to absorb an impact. Airbags and crumple zones serve to protect lives inside. That’s why a vehicle may look mangled and decimated, but its passenger cavity is in one piece. From F1 to Fremont, people walked away from harrowing vehicle accidents, explosions, and crushes. Older cars, on the other hand, may have a scratch on the surface, but passengers could suffer internal bleeding.

Those of a certain age may remember the infamous NHTSA dolls, Vince and Larry. Since then, the security duo retired and NHTSA’s new safety team is now a family. The Federal agency tests a battery of crash scenarios: front, rear, side, and rollover. At the other end of the spectrum is the IIHS. The nonprofit tests similar collision angles but also considers headlight visibility and evaluates the vehicle’s child restraint systems or LATCH system. However, both groups only test passenger vehicles. They also focus on probable accidents in the real world and not cliff jumping. What about everything else in the way?

In the USA, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) handles regulations for large trucks and buses. As for those ambulance crash tests shown at the beginning of the video? Well, after diving down a rabbit hole of government websites, I learned that the impact resistance of ambulances is up to each individual state. Hit the brakes, what? Indeed.

Overall, crash testing serves as a vital component in ensuring the safety of both vehicles and passengers. By simulating various real-world scenarios, manufacturers and regulatory bodies can understand how vehicles perform in a collision and make necessary improvements to enhance safety standards. While the process may vary depending on the type of vehicle being tested, the ultimate goal remains the same: to minimize injuries and save lives on the road.