Does size matter?

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In a collision between a modern compact with Airbags and all the new safety gear, and an older full size Land yacht. Which would you rather be in?
 
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The newer small cars are interesting not because of their airbags but their energy-absorbing body structures. Some of them fare really well against older cars in crashes because they use the other car as the crumple zone!
 

JHZR2

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for the economics of repair, likely the land yacht. For safety, assuming a reasonable size compact car, likely it. A compact car sure can do some damage on even the best designed safe cars of old. My MB diesel was severely damaged by the buick equivalent of a chevy corsica... not a yacht in any sense... with enough speed, youre in trouble no matter what. She hit me at >50 when I was stopped, and the car saved my life. JMH
 
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I used to scare people with my 1978 Cadillac Sedan DeVille; even in people driving SUV's. That car was so heavy duty, it came with a bumper jack; when's the last time you were able to jack up a car up by its bumper? By the way . . . catchy thread title.
 
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The only fair way to judge a car is against itself, literaly. Offset crash into stationary object.
 

01rangerxl

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 Originally Posted By: JHZR2
for the economics of repair, likely the land yacht. For safety, assuming a reasonable size compact car, likely it. A compact car sure can do some damage on even the best designed safe cars of old. My MB diesel was severely damaged by the buick equivalent of a chevy corsica... not a yacht in any sense... with enough speed, youre in trouble no matter what. She hit me at >50 when I was stopped, and the car saved my life. JMH
That pretty much sums it up. Older cars are easier to fix, newer cars are less likely to hurt you. Old Benzes are pretty tough though. I know a guy who had an older Benz that was slammed into by a drunk driver in an Xterra. The Benz was still perfectly drivable afterwards and nobody was hurt. My Explorer is something of a land yacht. It has dual air bags, but they are the old full power ones. My Ranger had second generation depowered air bags, but the Explorer is much better at avoiding a wreck since it has 4 wheel discs. The Explorer can definitely stop in a much shorter distance than my disc/drum Ranger could even though it weighs 1000 lbs. more than the Ranger.
 
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Spitty, Consider this. I read an article in a car magazine years ago, about a head on accident. One car was a Mercedes-Benz, the other was a Buick, or or Cadillac. As the firemen pulled up to the scene, one looked at the other,pointed and said " Look at the [censored] German engineering, the Mercedes is totaled, while the Buick is fine." The family in the Benze walked away, yet no one in the other car survived. The benz, scattered and crushed, leaving the engine hanging out. Yeah crumple zones really help. The odd thing is, Most European cars, less so now, won't pass U.S. emissions, or impact standards. This is why the Euro Spec Porsche 911 GT3 isn't legal in the U.S. unless it is brought over for off-road use only. The E46 BMW M3 when originally, manufactured, wouldn't pass the U.S's stringent impact, or emission standards. BMW had to go back and redesign some of the car so it would.
 
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This post got me looking for accident pictures and I found some horrific crashes and it seems like after a certain speed that no matter how well the car was built that the occupant(s) probably will not survive.
 
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Very interesting clip. Thanks, Spitty. I was surprised the Volvo did so poorly. At only 40mph, I expected all occupants to come out okay. I did think the Renault would do better when I checked curb weights before the collision (is that cheating?). The Renault is about 2600lb, while the Volvo is about 3250lb, so there's not as big of a difference as it may seem. I'll still take a heavier 5-star vehicle over a lighter 5-star vehicle, but I now have even more respect for the safety of smaller vehicles with good crash test ratings. I think it's wise for anyone to avoid buying a vehicle with poor or nonexistent crash ratings, like that Volvo. That Volvo looked like my '87 Grand Am did when I got hit head-on!
 
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I also surprised to see Volvo has only 3 stars at NHTSA's 1986 archive, where many Japanese got 4. This thread is a bit confusing. So, German engineering is better because they crushes and absorbs energy, and French is better than the Swede because it doesn't disintegrate, doesn't absorb energy so the other vehicle absorbs it?
 
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There might be something to discuss when talking 2000 lbs vs 4000 lbs, but less when it's 2000 lbs vs 9000 to 12000 lbs (pickups with no trailer) or semis at 80k lbs and even more. In a tragic accident a couple of years ago an older couple in a small Nissan stalled the highway, and when rear ended by a Hummer H2 them they were both killed. The Hummer had slight bumper damage. Noticing that I left a bit more space when following vehicles a coworker commented that he always looked for pickups as he could squeeze in if needed. I replied that tow hooks could be attached to bumper mounts on my 3/4 ton diesel pickup, that the engine weighed over 900 lbs, and that the solid front axle was used as jacking points, empty I'm at about 7000 lbs, so there are no small car friendly crush zones on my truck. I call the extra space that I leave in taffic my 'kill zone', as that's what will probably happen if I hit a car. I tried to make him realize that a pickup is a small truck. In a Dodge diesel forum a couple of years ago one guy related his experience of hitting a logging truck in a head on. He woke up a couple of weeks later in a hospital, but he did live thru it. The logging truck was totaled too.
 

Spitty

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Small car immovable object: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ju6t-yyoU8s As a side question: I'm sure Bumper height comes into play here. What are the legal implications if a Truck owner Raises (or has raised) the height of his truck, and as a result of an accident, a fatality results that may have been prevented if the truck had not been altered?
 
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I like the old land yaght's!!! I have been in some high speed accidents in land yacht's were even not buckeled I could hardly tell we hit anything! In one case in a 1986 Buick Lasaber Diesel we cut a modern front wheel drive Delta 88 in 1/2 and all we got out of the deal was a pea sized dent inthe chrome front bumper, a collapsed shock/strut ont he RH Frt and a tiny scratch inthe paint. I was digging aroundi n the back seat getting all my flight gear ready for a night flight...My PIC=Pilot in Comand was driveng to the airport and we were almost their!He aske d my his SIC to get the gear ready...Some old man mad a left on a red light crossing the HWY we were on!!! I can tell simalar tales about my old 1986 4Runner... I was hit so many times int hat thing between Germany and the USA and I never once got injured!!! One guy driveing a VW Gulf or Rabbit lost his head after he rear ended me! Nothing fancy about my 1986 4Runner just had lot's of steel!!! In fact I have only been hurt in accidents by pretensioning seat belts and airbag's! So if anything I would rather have lot's of steel+crumble zones+no airbag's and no pretensioner's!!!
 
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 Originally Posted By: Merkava_4
I used to scare people with my 1978 Cadillac Sedan DeVille; even in people driving SUV's. That car was so heavy duty, it came with a bumper jack; when's the last time you were able to jack up a car up by its bumper?
Any Jeep wrangler...
 

Spitty

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 Originally Posted By: JohnBrowning
I like the old land yaght's!!! I have been in some high speed accidents in land yacht's were even not buckeled I could hardly tell we hit anything! In one case in a 1986 Buick Lasaber Diesel we cut a modern front wheel drive Delta 88 in 1/2 and all we got out of the deal was a pea sized dent inthe chrome front bumper, a collapsed shock/strut ont he RH Frt and a tiny scratch inthe paint. I was digging aroundi n the back seat getting all my flight gear ready for a night flight...My PIC=Pilot in Comand was driveng to the airport and we were almost their!He aske d my his SIC to get the gear ready...Some old man mad a left on a red light crossing the HWY we were on!!! I can tell simalar tales about my old 1986 4Runner... I was hit so many times int hat thing between Germany and the USA and I never once got injured!!! One guy driveing a VW Gulf or Rabbit lost his head after he rear ended me! Nothing fancy about my 1986 4Runner just had lot's of steel!!! In fact I have only been hurt in accidents by pretensioning seat belts and airbag's! So if anything I would rather have lot's of steel+crumble zones+no airbag's and no pretensioner's!!!
How many accidents have you had??
 

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Force = (mass)(acceleration). Obviously, size does matter. Wishful thinking that it doesn't won't help in an accident.
 

Spitty

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 Originally Posted By: Win
Force = (mass)(acceleration). Obviously, size does matter. Wishful thinking that it doesn't won't help in an accident.
Sure, but the force must be absorbed or redirected. Look at the Videos earlier in this thread. I thought the Smart car was particularly interesting, pity they did not use a Crash Test Dummy, I would like to know if an occupant would survive. There may have been no intrusion into the car's cab, but what would the 'G' loading on the occupant be?
 
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