Accident prevention: can cars even be made safer?

Menus

Is it possible to build cars even more safely??

Accident prevention: can cars even be made safer?-safer

1 of 8

Source: BMW

Accident prevention: can cars even be made safer?-prevention

2 of 8

Source: ADAC

Accident prevention: can cars even be made safer?-safer

3 of 8

Source: ADAC

Accident prevention: can cars even be made safer?-Source ADAC Source ADAC Source

4 of 8

Source: ADAC

Accident prevention: can cars even be made safer?-made

5 of 8

Source: ADAC

Accident prevention: can cars even be made safer?-prevention

6 of 8

Source: dpa

Accident prevention: can cars even be made safer?-made

7 of 8

Source: Renault

Accident prevention: can cars even be made safer?-safer

8 of 8

Source: North Pole + _PR_Division

All options for protecting car occupants in the event of an accident by means of even more stable structures have been exhausted. The weak point remains the person whose body cannot withstand higher loads and who too often fails at the wheel. To make cars even safer, manufacturers need to set new priorities.

I.In the advertising the matter is clear: white sausage, crispbread and sushi fail miserably in the crash test, only the fluffy baguette crumbles and springs and stays intact in the end. Renault’s award-winning television commercial wants to tell us: Look, we build the safest cars. The reality is different, because all well-known manufacturers are now achieving top crash results, regardless of whether they come from Germany, Sweden, Japan or France. The race for the safest car in the world could soon be exciting again.

Because at the beginning of 2009 the Euro NCAP consortium will change its assessment standards. The independent institute, to which European transport ministries, automobile clubs such as ADAC and insurance companies belong, is tired of the constant warnings in the direction of the auto industry – now facts are being created. If the manufacturers do not change their focus, they will be the coveted, but almost inflationary awarded "five stars" can no longer achieve in the Euro NCAP test.

Because up to now the carmakers have concentrated almost exclusively on occupant protection – they ignore the categories of child safety and pedestrian protection that have also been checked but not yet reflected the overall result.

"When it comes to occupant protection, a great deal has improved in the more than ten years that Euro NCAP has been in existence", says Reinhard Kolke, who heads the ADAC technology center in Landsberg am Lech. "However, there is still some catching up to do on the other points." In addition, it is now evident that the options for increasing passive safety have been exhausted.

In order to offer the occupants as much protection as possible in a standardized frontal collision at a speed of 64 km / h, the cars must have a well-designed crumple zone, effective belt tensioners and perfectly functioning airbags. If the passenger cell survives the impact unscathed, maximum safety is ensured for the occupants.

When the ADAC recently tested a Renault Laguna with a five-star rating at 80 instead of 64 km / h, however, there were limits – the risk of injury to the occupants rose dramatically at only 16 km / h more impact speed. "The test has shown that passive safety comes up against a natural limit, even with good construction", explains Reinhard Kolke. "You can’t outsmart physics, and at some point humans can no longer withstand the stresses – no matter how well designed a car is"

In order to persuade manufacturers to continue working on advances in road safety, Euro NCAP has announced significant changes to the test program for the coming year. "The focus must be on preventing accidents, not just on alleviating the consequences", says Kolke. "What happens in the last two seconds before a crash is crucial."

Kolke is addressing driver assistance systems such as the electronic anti-skid ESP and brake assist systems, which are already installed in many cars and will be included in the test routines at Euro NCAP in the future. Later, lane departure warning systems, distance radars and systems that monitor blind spots will also be evaluated.

As early as the next upcoming Euro NCAP tests, changes will affect the achievement of those that are so important for the manufacturers "five stars" make it much more difficult. In contrast to previous practice, there will be an overall rating that will replace the previously dominant occupant protection as an individual rating.

The maximum rating is then only given to those who also achieve good results in terms of pedestrian protection and the safety of children traveling with them. And only very few of the cars currently on the market will be able to do that without constructive changes. A look at the Euro NCAP list shows that there is a lot of catching up to do, especially when it comes to pedestrian protection. Series of scores of zero points show that manufacturers have not taken this issue seriously up to now.

So far, only one car has achieved the maximum rating of four stars for this category: the large Citroën C6 sedan. In the event of a collision, the hood of the car is raised slightly, so that the impact of pedestrians who are thrown on the hood is softened. "Also the new VW Golf has improved significantly compared to its predecessor and has now achieved three stars for pedestrian protection", says Kolke. "If the manufacturers want it, it’ll work."

And they will have to want to in the future. Although the Euro NCAP test, which is considered strict, is not required for the registration of new vehicles in Europe, it is extremely effective for the public. When the Chinese limousine Brilliance BS6 performed catastrophically a year ago and only received one of a maximum of five stars, angry customers asked the importer to take back the car.

The result spelled the end of being considered by mockers "China cracker" titled BS6 in Germany. Incidentally, that was after Renault had hit the wall with typical local specialties in its commercial – otherwise a fortune cookie that would have crumbled into dust would have turned up.

Related articles

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Comment