Passenger Vehicle Safety Comparisons

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by MarkCO, Jun 1, 2020.

  1. MarkCO

    MarkCO Super Moderator Staff Member Moderator CLM Millennium Member

    Messages:
    3,738
    Likes Received:
    1,692
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 1998
    Location:
    Colorado
    This was from a thread regarding the OP considering Mini-Vans for purchase. In that thread I asserted that mini-vans are not very safe as compared to the average sedan, which I assign an arbitrary value of 100 for comparing to other vehicles out of class. Thus a Dodge 2500 at 210 and the Honda Odyssey at 68 from the 2017 cycle.

    The major factors I consider are mass, 60" contact crush, 6" contact crush on all 4 sides, supplemental restraint systems, sacrificial crush zones, trip over, high speed rollover. Then I take the IIHS, Manufacturer and 3rd party data to calculate occupant G-Loads due to 15mph, 30mph and 60mph front and rear impacts. Search the NHTSA database for safety issues related to MVAs. There is of course, assumptions based on my reading of the data, IIHS crash tests, review of accidents on the same model and several days every year in the salvage yards looking at cars for which I have obtained accident reports and injury data. If you are interested in what I get from 3rd party companies, here is a sample report of one factor set from one company I buy reports from.

    https://www.neptuneeng.com/SSF/SSFChevrCavalier01.pdf

    One has to understand a few things about the various entities that provide crash data, the first I alluded to in the prior thread, which is that the comparisons available to the public are for in class types. Meaning about the same weight and structural elements. So 2 door subcompacts vs 2 door sub compacts. Next, the financial drivers of the two groups that fund the tests (Manufacturers and Insurance companies) are at odds with each other...sales and risk mitigation. But one thing I have learned over 25 years, is that a lot more people are living with significant lower extremity injuries than did when I started. I tell folks that if you want to compare two cars, get them to equivalent dollars in trim level and ask for an insurance quote on both. The one that costs more to insure has a history of more occupant injuries...it is just that simple. When pick-ups went from solid front axles to IFS, the occupant injury rate went up, while at the same time, the vehicle repair (relatively) costs did not.

    The two biggest drivers are $ and Mass. More $ means more demand for safety and the manufacturers comply. If you think about it in terms of insurance, a deceased insured from a $100K care costs them 8 to 10 times what a deceased insured from a $20K costs, so the insurance carriers demand safety above the .gov requirements in more expensive vehicles. Dollars only comes into my analysis in terms of the safety features the manufacturer installs. In so many of the 2 car MVA fatals I work, the descendants are in vehicles with half the mass of the survivors. When I drive, and teach others to drive, I always try to have a smaller vehicle in front of, and behind me, avoid left hand turns at controlled intersections, and stay as far away from Semis as possible. Those practices will, in large part mitigate the base safety ratings of the vehicles you drive.

    Crash severity is a large part of what I do for insurance carriers who hire me to evaluate an accident. The fault part is really pretty easy. I use an accident severity scale to classify the accident for each vehicle based on the damage to the car, and what I know about the safety factors for the vehicle. I do that knowing nothing about the actual injuries to the occupants. Then I provide that in a report (usually) to my clients. They then couple that with a Medical professional who evaluated the injuries without seeing my work. If I go to depo or trial, the IME report is reviewed by me in detail to make any minor adjustments for occupant physiology, and vice versa.

    So, I don't look at all cars, but every 4 years, I take 3 sedans that I "assume" are the mid-pack and assign them the 100 value for that year. Then every MVA I work on, when I get crash data, I compare it. When I have friends or clients ask me to evaluate a vehicle, I have them buy the reports I need and run those. So over 4 years, I get a pretty clean look, and hitting my 5th cycle in 2021, my assumptions are getting better. But still some art to it, as well as a lot of monte carlo type calculations.
     
  2. Khufu

    Khufu Pharaoh

    Messages:
    34,159
    Likes Received:
    13,119
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Location:
    Street Corner
    That is interesting what you say stay away from semis, smaller cars in front and back.

    One thing I try and do (but hard in Denver traffic on I25) is to leave enough room in front of me and not get behind Semitruck or big box trucks. I like to be able to see through the rear/front of the car in front. What I have seen is if you have ample following distance, it helps immensely. Having more gap in front helps prevent someone rear-ending you. And during hard stops, watch how fast cars are coming up behind you.

    I never really thought that the driver of a $100K cost the insurance company 8 to 10X in a wreck if they are killed. But makes sense, if you kill someone with high earning potential, their family has a bigger claim.

    What goes against my "common sense" is that IFS is more dangerous than solid axle.

    Is some of the reason you see people living with lower extremity injuries is because people are living that would have died before? I had assumed (maybe incorrectly) that with crush zones and such cars keep getting safer.
     
    IndyGunFreak likes this.

  3. manfred the wonder d

    manfred the wonder d

    Messages:
    1,121
    Likes Received:
    1,216
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2011
    If I leave some space between me and the guy ahead someone will pull in and take that space.
     
  4. Khufu

    Khufu Pharaoh

    Messages:
    34,159
    Likes Received:
    13,119
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Location:
    Street Corner
    [​IMG]
     
    pittpa, FullClip, Detectorist and 2 others like this.
  5. MarkCO

    MarkCO Super Moderator Staff Member Moderator CLM Millennium Member

    Messages:
    3,738
    Likes Received:
    1,692
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 1998
    Location:
    Colorado
    Solid axle provides more structural strength than IFS, so it slows intrusion better. Yes, due to airbags and seatbelt tensioners, the torso is really well protected, but the lower legs still take a lot of intrusion in higher speed impacts from the side and front.
     
    Paul53 likes this.
  6. Robert Walmsley

    Robert Walmsley

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2020
     
  7. Robert Walmsley

    Robert Walmsley

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2020
    @MarkCO I really appreciate your analysis combined with your boots-on-the-ground experience. My family currently drives a 2016 Honda Odyssey. I'd like to move them to an SUV. Price not being an issue, could you recommend one or two makes/models for the most protection? Thank you.
     
  8. Z71bill

    Z71bill

    Messages:
    24,436
    Likes Received:
    16,735
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    I have test drove the Toyota Sequoia a few times -

    It just feels solid - if I buy another full size SUV it will be a Sequoia.
     
  9. Budqweiser

    Budqweiser

    Messages:
    7,828
    Likes Received:
    13,190
    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2015
    Location:
    St. Louis Mo
  10. Budqweiser

    Budqweiser

    Messages:
    7,828
    Likes Received:
    13,190
    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2015
    Location:
    St. Louis Mo
    One of the best and most solid vehicles ever made. I think my next vehicle will be one. They are getting hard to find with low mileage. Well hard at a decent price. LOL
     
    PhotoFeller, MFC4 and Robert Walmsley like this.
  11. Slackinoff

    Slackinoff Bathed in lavender and gasoline

    Messages:
    3,895
    Likes Received:
    7,395
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2011
    Location:
    Texas
    MFC4 and Robert Walmsley like this.
  12. Budqweiser

    Budqweiser

    Messages:
    7,828
    Likes Received:
    13,190
    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2015
    Location:
    St. Louis Mo
    I was very close to buying a 59 Impala. Long story but it fell through. Every time I see this it reminds me about it. I drove a 63 Plymouth as a daily driver a few years ago. Had no seat belts. Cool but a death trap. They must have had a lot of bloody nasty crashes to clean up.
     
    Slackinoff likes this.
  13. ScarFace88

    ScarFace88 NOT MOD APPROVED

    Messages:
    8,665
    Likes Received:
    9,669
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2007
    Location:
    Central Floriderp
    It's worth noting that they likely chose the 1959 Chevy over a 1959 Ford or Chrysler for a reason.

    This is the frame from a 1958 Chevy. The 1959 frame is basically identical for the purposes of this exercise.
    [​IMG]


    This is a 1959 Ford hardtop frame.
    [​IMG]

    Notice the difference? Granted the 1959 Ford frame lacks the reinforcement of more modern perimeter frames, I believe it would have offered more protection than the X frame used in the 1959 Chevy and other GM products of the era.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
    ZekerMan and mike from st pe like this.
  14. IamtheNRA

    IamtheNRA

    Messages:
    11,716
    Likes Received:
    18,358
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2001
    Location:
    Tampa, FL USA
    They didn't. Highway death rates in the '50s and '60s were absolutely horrendous compared to today.

    Look at the chart below. Pay special attention to the "Deaths per billion VMT". We have made astounding progress in highway safety over the years. Safer cars and much stricter DUI laws are the main reasons.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
  15. Borg Warner

    Borg Warner

    Messages:
    16,538
    Likes Received:
    37,442
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Location:
    Northeastern Washington
    My brother used to have a slogan hand painted on the front bumper of his 1976 Dodge power wagon, "Your Car is my Crumple Zone"
     
  16. sombunya

    sombunya Use it up, throw it away

    Messages:
    8,360
    Likes Received:
    6,945
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2009
    Location:
    Kookifornia
    I like older cars and have a 1969 Fairlane Cobra in the garage. They aren't as safe
    as newer cars. I don't want my 22 year old driving an older car.
     
    mike from st pe likes this.
  17. Maccabeus

    Maccabeus

    Messages:
    2,597
    Likes Received:
    5,013
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2007
    Thanks for your insights and perspective.

    Having said all that, it begs the question: what cars do you own and drive?
     
  18. Budqweiser

    Budqweiser

    Messages:
    7,828
    Likes Received:
    13,190
    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2015
    Location:
    St. Louis Mo
    Used to be death traps when I was young and broke. Now that I’m older and still broke, a Subaru. I’ll be able to donate intact organs when I die.
     
    ZekerMan likes this.
  19. Slackinoff

    Slackinoff Bathed in lavender and gasoline

    Messages:
    3,895
    Likes Received:
    7,395
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2011
    Location:
    Texas
    My grandfather told me the other day he remembers Highway 59 used to be just two lanes coming up out of Houston back in the 60s and 70s. Said he would come up on horrific car crashes in the rural parts of East Texas when commuting once a week to work in Houston. He said part of the problem was also you couldn't just dial 911 with a cell phone and have an ambulance in 10 min. Said it wasn't uncommon to see someone being hauled off via the bed of a pickup truck to the nearest payphone or hospital.
     
  20. ScarFace88

    ScarFace88 NOT MOD APPROVED

    Messages:
    8,665
    Likes Received:
    9,669
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2007
    Location:
    Central Floriderp


    To be fair, not all older cars are created equal. The Mercedes in this commercial was introduced in 1980, and was in an offset head on collision at 60+ mph. The commercial shows no intrusion in the passenger footwell and there are modern cars that can't do that.

     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020