Higher-Speed Crash Tests Show Real Weaknesses & Improvements Needed

Increasing your driving speed from 50 mph to only 56 mph… can be far deadlier than you realize…says a new study from IIHS and AAA.

It’s been a real safety conflict for decades: Drivers wanting to save time…vs. local transportation agencies wanting to improve traffic flow.   Posted speed limits on highways nationwide have been increasing…but the average vehicle’s ability to protect drivers in crashes struggles to keep pace.

Still much safer than vehicles made even 15 years ago…recent crash tests show that modern cars still have significant room for improvment…. But just because automakers made massive strides in structural integrity and airbag technology doesn’t mean the average car is invincible. This is precisely what a new study, published Thursday, from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and AAA found.

The groups looked at rising speed limits across the country and what it means for the average, modern car, which is about 12 years old in 2021. With a handful of 2010 Honda CR-V crossovers at their disposal, they crash tested them at incremental speed increases. First, a CR-V crashed at 40 mph and it held up well with minimal intrusions in the cockpit. Jumping to 50 mph, the vehicle showed “noticeable deformation” of the driver side door opening, dashboard and foot area. It’s precisely what you don’t want in the event of a crash as parts and components push inward and threaten occupants. Think of the cockpit, ideally, as a cocoon while the exterior crumples around it.

 

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