Tuesday, June 16, 2015

This Post is for Greyson

My nephew wants to be a car engineer, bless his heart, so I thought he might enjoy some of these pictures I took from my last trip to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in Virginia. I was there for a workshop on their new child seat usability rating system, which was a pretty interesting topic if you're both a car guy and a dad.

If your name isn't Greyson, might as well skip this one.

One of IIHS's newest tests is a small overlap test. This simulates a car hitting a narrow object, like a light pole. Because the object often misses the main structure of the car, it can do terrific damage to a car. Here's a Chevy Equinox that did pretty well:

And here's a Mazda CX-9 that did poorly:

You can see how the driver compartment of the CX-9 collapsed, not protecting the driver much at all. Most automakers are pushing forward with redesigns to improve their results, but it seems some are only putting the structure on the driver's side of the car. IIHS is now looking at running this test on the passenger side as well. The Honda CR-V looked pretty good on the passenger side test, the Toyota RAV4 apparently didn't fare so well. Greyson, your homework today is to look up the word schadenfreude.

The roof crush test does just about what the name describes. Here's a VW Tiguan that did well:

and a Kia Sportage (? maybe a Sorrento, I don't remember for sure) under the same load:

Sometimes being a tall driver isn't always an advantage.

Side impacts can get pretty severe, here's a Mitsubishi Lancer that I wouldn't want to have been in:

The middle upright part of the car is called the B pillar, and it broke and crushed the seat... and whoever would have been sitting there:

One of IIHS's ongoing research topics is truck underride, where a car goes under those metal blockers that semi-trucks have. These things:

IIHS is trying to promote a safer standard for the trucking industry, because your Malibu might end up like this:

Just to show they have nothing against Malibus, IIHS used one on their 50th anniversary in a car to car crash test to show how far auto safety has come. This is a 2009 Malibu:

(the front damage is a bit severe, but notice the intact passenger compartment) They crashed it into a 1959 Chevy Bel Air:

This is one reason I like old bikes and not old cars.

Keep studying, Greyson!

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