Are older cars safer?

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moonshadow
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Are older cars safer?

Post by moonshadow »

This crash test video pitting a 1959 Bel Air against a 2009 Malibu might make you think twice before assuming your teenager is safer driving older cars....

https://youtu.be/C_r5UJrxcck
shadowfax
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Re: Are older cars safer?

Post by shadowfax »

moonshadow wrote:
Sat Oct 24, 2020 1:39 pm
This crash test video pitting a 1959 Bel Air against a 2009 Malibu might make you think twice before assuming your teenager is safer driving older cars....

https://youtu.be/C_r5UJrxcck
Wow! :(
Are older cars safer? Not if they are pre-airbag.

Car Crash Test - Smart car vs Mercedes S-Class Accident Somewhat David vs Goliath? :wink:

Edited Changed video title for clarity and added comment.
Last edited by shadowfax on Sat Oct 24, 2020 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
moonshadow
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Re: Are older cars safer?

Post by moonshadow »

Did you catch that back seat view of the driver in the Bel Air? It jammed the steering wheel right in his face!

Also note the entire top of the Bel Air folded into the cab, while the Malibu's cab seemed to stay in tact, with the engine compartment absorbing most of the impact...

Science is cool!
shadowfax
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Re: Are older cars safer?

Post by shadowfax »

moonshadow wrote:
Sat Oct 24, 2020 2:17 pm
Did you catch that back seat view of the driver in the Bel Air? It jammed the steering wheel right in his face!

Also note the entire top of the Bel Air folded into the cab, while the Malibu's cab seemed to stay intact, with the engine compartment absorbing most of the impact...

Science is cool!
Yes, that part of the video is gruesome. I suspect that the Bel Air driver's legs got crushed too? :(
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Re: Are older cars safer?

Post by crfriend »

moonshadow wrote:
Sat Oct 24, 2020 1:39 pm
This crash test video pitting a 1959 Bel Air against a 2009 Malibu might make you think twice before assuming your teenager is safer driving older cars....
There is no doubt that the cars of today are mechanically vastly safer than those from yesteryear. Heck, in 1959 seat-belts were an optional piece of equipment that had to be special-ordered. The rigid bodies of the older cars transferred vastly more force to the occupants in the event of a crash and there was less padding inside the passenger compartment.

Today's cars have seal-belts as mandatory equipment and many jurisdictions require use of them when in motion. I regard this as a good idea because the odds of getting badly injured rise dramatically if one is unrestrained and capable of impacting the interior of the vehicle and get even worse if one gets ejected from the vehicle. They are also designed with crumple-zones such that the body of the vehicle gives way in order to reduce the forces exerted on the occupants.

However, for all the progress in that direction, the level of things in the cockpit that distract drivers from the fundamental act of driving have multiplied exponentially, and this has reduced overall safety. Too, people tend to think that they're impervious when in a car; they're not, but the mind plays tricks and encourages one to take risks that they might not otherwise.

Modern cars are also higher-powered, faster, and maneuverable than older cars -- and folks tend to take advantage of that, sometimes with lethal consequences. Most people know neither their own limits nor the limits of their vehicles.

So, high marks for absolute safety, but very very low marks for keeping drivers focused on what they need to do when behind the wheel.
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Re: Are older cars safer?

Post by crfriend »

shadowfax wrote:
Sat Oct 24, 2020 2:33 pm
Yes, that part of the video is gruesome. I suspect that the Bel Air driver's legs got crushed too? :(
Given the deformation of the passenger compartment, I highly suspect that was the case. However, the non-collapsing steering column did the bulk of the nastiness and likely clocked the occupant in the head so fast the he was dead almost instantly, so crushed legs wouldn't have mattered much.

Unfortunately, the video didn't do a "walk-around" of the remains of the two vehicles afterwards, but from appearances the passenger compartment of the new car stayed together very well whereas the one in the older car was grossly deformed afterwards. The rearward motion of the "A" pillar was truly frightening, and the steering wheel even moreso.
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Re: Are older cars safer?

Post by moonshadow »

crfriend wrote:
Sat Oct 24, 2020 2:36 pm
Today's cars have seal-belts as mandatory equipment and many jurisdictions require use of them when in motion. I regard this as a good idea because the odds of getting badly injured rise dramatically if one is unrestrained and capable of impacting the interior of the vehicle and get even worse if one gets ejected from the vehicle.
When I was around ten or eleven years old, dad had an early 70s model Chevy Nova. He was driving me to school one day when a car pulled out in front of him. Despite the fact that the speed limit was 55 mph, after hitting the brakes, I'd say the impact was actually around to 20 or 30 mph.

Nevertheless, my dad didn't believe in seat belts and didn't make me wear one either. I didn't go through the window, but I do recall the helpless feeling of being thrown against the windshield and bouncing back off of it.

It scared the hell out of dad, we both got a hard wake up call that morning and from then on out both of us wore seat belts.

Yes... I've been to the school of...


Hard knocks... :lol:
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Re: Are older cars safer?

Post by PatJ »

"Heck, in 1959 seat-belts were an optional piece of equipment that had to be special-ordered!"

The same is true with air bags. I remember when a seat belt, or an air bag was "included automatically"
in the purchase price of a car, but the passenger seat belt (air bag) was an optional extra cost for the
passenger.

Imagine the discussion at the dealership... "Yes sir, we include an air bag and seat belt for you the driver,
do you want us to add one for your wife for only a few dollars more?"

My first car had a seat belt for the driver but not the front passenger. Air bags took the same route when
they were first installed.
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Re: Are older cars safer?

Post by crfriend »

moonshadow wrote:
Sat Oct 24, 2020 3:53 pm
It scared the hell out of dad, we both got a hard wake up call that morning and from then on out both of us wore seat belts.
I was firmly instructed from the get-go when I started learning to drive that the seat-belt goes on before the parking brake comes off -- and that has saved my bacon a couple of times. Up until 1982 my family was laissez-faire about the matter, and I was regarding passengers. Unwise.

In autumn of 1982, a car came across the double-yellow stripe and I tried in vain to avoid. I still have no memory of the impact, but studying the wreckage and the physics involved indicates that we were struck on the forward driver's side and shoved violently sideways. I was wearing a belt the way I habitually did, but my passenger wasn't. A reconstruction of the thing looking at the wreckage indicates that I was shoved inertially toward the A pillar (or, more appropriately, the car changed velocity and I was hurtling towards it) and was snubbed by the shoulder harness. Unrestrained, my passenger came across diagonally in front of me, shattering his femur on the stick-shift in about 6 places and knocking me cold by the impact. I woke up in the emergency-room at Emerson Hospital in Concord, MA and spent a few terrifying minutes figuring out whether (1) I was still in one piece (I was) and (2) how in Hades I wound up there.

I called my family that evening after getting admitted to, of all things, the paediatric ward (it was obviously a very busy night) and my father started getting things untangled. Everybody was still alive; me with what would be considered now a massive concussion, my passenger with his shattered leg, and the driver of the other car who got banged up pretty badly as well. According to the police, I was ambulatory at the scene but "didn't seem quite right" so got bundled off to hospital. The other driver eventually got cited for the matter, and my passenger's leg eventually healed. Today, I will not move the car if anybody in the car is not strapped in. That day my entire family changed their tune as well and everybody started wearing belts.

For all the force and violence inherent in the collision -- which caused the rear-end of my car to start to fold up over the front (a nasty crease in the roof) -- the only marks I had on me were a small bruise where the shoulder-harness snubbed my collarbone and stopped me from going into the A pillar head-first and a big bump on the right-forward temple where my passenger hit me when he amounted to little more than a projectile.

Concussions weren't as well understood as they are today, and I was back at work the day afterwards -- and it took weeks for things to calm down to the point where I was actually fully functional. Had my passenger worn his belt we both would have walked away from the experience -- shaken, but uninjured.
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Re: Are older cars safer?

Post by pelmut »

crfriend wrote:
Sat Oct 24, 2020 2:36 pm
{...]
So, high marks for absolute safety, but very very low marks for keeping drivers focused on what they need to do when behind the wheel.
Any device that is menu-driven should be banned from a car.  That is why I ripped out and scrapped several hundred pounds-worth of audio gear that was fitted in my van and replaced it with a 40-year old car radio.
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Re: Are older cars safer?

Post by Faldaguy »

by crfriend » Sat Oct 24, 2020 10:47 am
moonshadow wrote: ↑Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:53 am
It scared the hell out of dad, we both got a hard wake up call that morning and from then on out both of us wore seat belts.
I was firmly instructed from the get-go when I started learning to drive that the seat-belt goes on before the parking brake comes off -- and that has saved my bacon a couple of time.... the only marks I had on me were a small bruise where the shoulder-harness snubbed my collarbone and stopped me from going into the A pillar head-first
Got to echo the life-saving import of seat belts. In 1975? my wife took out a power pole with the front of her small Fiat at 55mph. The impact was enough that the seat frame ripped out of the floorboards with just a hint of sheet metal still attached. She walked away, her only bodily damages some bruises and sore for a week or so. She also got hit on the passenger side from stop sign runner in a new VW in the early 70's. Clearly the seat belt was all that stood between her and a headstone. Seldom do cars exceed about 50km/hr. here in the "zone" -- but our belts are on -- and the phones are parked.
Last edited by Uncle Al on Sat Oct 24, 2020 11:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are older cars safer?

Post by partlyscot »

moonshadow wrote:
Sat Oct 24, 2020 3:53 pm




Nevertheless, my dad didn't believe in seat belts and didn't make me wear one either. I didn't go through the window, but I do recall the helpless feeling of being thrown against the windshield and bouncing back off of it.

The first time I drove with friends in the car, they all were dismissive of the seat belts. (there was no law mandating their use at the time) It was my mother's car, and had very flat, vinyl bench seats. It wasn't very fast, but would corner quite well. We came up to the first roundabout, and I quite cheerfully flung the car into the first turn. My friends slid quickly into the left side of the car, then immediately into the right side as I carried on around the roundabout. They all scrambled to put the belts on.
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Re: Are older cars safer?

Post by partlyscot »

moonshadow wrote:
Sat Oct 24, 2020 1:39 pm
This crash test video pitting a 1959 Bel Air against a 2009 Malibu might make you think twice before assuming your teenager is safer driving older cars....

https://youtu.be/C_r5UJrxcck
I was more impressed with this one, early to mid 90s Volvo 940 wagon, and a early 2000s Renault Modus MPV weighing about a third less.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBDyeWofcLY
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Re: Are older cars safer?

Post by Faldaguy »

by partlyscot » Sat Oct 24, 2020 6:52 pm

The first time I drove with friends in the car, they all were dismissive of the seat belts. (there was no law mandating their use at the time) It was my mother's car, and had very flat, vinyl bench seats. It wasn't very fast, but would corner quite well. We came up to the first roundabout, and I quite cheerfully flung the car into the first turn. My friends slid quickly into the left side of the car, then immediately into the right side as I carried on around the roundabout. They all scrambled to put the belts on.
As teens in lust we used to call them "opportunity corners"! :D
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Re: Are older cars safer?

Post by denimini »

I think safety really depends more on the nut behind the wheel.
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