Indiana Serious Injury Attorney Speaks to Impact Resistance in Cars
If you were born before 1975, you remember cars as big bodies and big engines. They were not too good with gas mileage, but gas was cheap. Sometimes we called them tanks, thinking they were indestructible. More often than not if you hit something the car would have very little damage. Today, if you hit something at the same speed, chances are your car will look like it hit the wall at the Indy 500. And that, my friends is on purpose. When a car, or any object, is moving, it is storing and expending energy. When there is a crash, which results in the car stopping suddenly, the energy stored in the car has to go somewhere. In the old cars, with bodies designed to resist the deforming energy of the crash, the energy was transferred to the passengers. The body of the passenger is not equipped to handle this energy and is injured. The injuries could include, brain injury from the head slamming back and forth rapidly; spinal cord injury from the spine moving rapidly back and forth; broken bones from hitting the inside of the car; and even wrongful death.
Today’s cars are engineered to deal with the problem of transferring the energy to the passenger. In modern cars, the energy is transferred to the body of the car which is made of materials designed to absorb the energy. Have you ever seen the bumper of a modern car ripped off and underneath you see Styrofoam? That Styrofoam is very effective at absorbing the energy of the crash. The front of the car may look like heck, but that means the bumper has done its job. It is fitting that we mentioned the Indy 500 because racetracks all over the country are using energy absorbing wall bumpers in turns to reduce the energy transferred from the crash to the driver. This technology was developed in part through testing done at Indy. It is still not quite certain why some accidents result in serious injury, even though the car looks like it has little damage and there is no injury when the car is destroyed, but we do know that if the energy of the crash is absorbed by the car, the passengers are much safer.