Our Accident - Clear Spot
This may be of interest, as it has caused me some serious thought about modern car design.
3 weeks ago our 2000 Omega Elite Estate was shunted from the rear whilst stationary in a traffic queue - I suppose it had to happen after seventy odd years of accident free motoring between us.
Well, SO was alone in car but suffered only minor whiplash, she was at first unable to open the drivers door, but did manage in the end after some panic. All other doors remained jammed shut. Car has been inspected and written off, I have agreed settlement figure of £13000 plus I took out Gap insurance so I am not financially incovenienced. The third party has owned up to liability (their insurance company have also provided me with a replacement Omega 2.6 CDX of which I can't complain).
This was a fairly minor shunt in the scheme of things - I don't know the impact speed, but SO was able to hold the car on the brake and avoid it being pushed into the car in front.
But the car has been written off, the rear passenger doors being pushed under the front ones. I understand about crumple zones, but surely the passenger compartment should have been more intact, any higher impact and escape from the car would have been much more difficult.
The Omega has a fairly decent crash rating I seem to rememeber, but does this mean anything except in a direct head on, or 90 degree side hit?
My replacement car? Well, I've put a deposit on a Volvo V70.
Any thoughts?
Our Accident - Dynamic Dave
Any thoughts?

Only one. What does the abrievation "SO" mean?
Our Accident - DavidHM
Significant Other probably.

Or She who must be Obeyed. No question of must be - it's just a face :-)
Our Accident - DavidHM
Fact. Confound this late night typing.
Our Accident - Blue {P}
Sorry to hear of the accident Clear Spot.

I suppose it depends on the car that hit you, and exactly how hard.

If you were pressing hard on the brakes (I know I was *very* hard on the handbrake whilst I was been hit from behind) then the weight of the car with hard braking may have made it virtually immoveable so the shell had to absorb all of the impact energy.

I wouldn't worry, it soinds as though it has done it's job perfectly, the car behind must have hit at a fair speed to do so much damage, and yet you only got minor injuries, besides, if it hit so hard, would you want the Omega back? ;)
Our Accident - SteveH42
It sounds like simple physics explains this.

When one car hits another, it attempts to impart some of it's momentum on the other car - same as those desk toys with the swinging balls. However, the purpose of brakes is to absorb momentum, so rather than the car being accelerated by this imparted momentum with only minimal damage, the momentum of the hitting car is disspated through the car that is hit.

This is the purpose of crumple zones - this momentum has to go somewhere, and it is better that it is absorbed in a controlled manner than the force applied finding the weak points in the car's construction and ripping the thing apart.

Car construction is only partly about strength - the ability to absorb momentum, ideally in a small area, is more important.
Our Accident - Blue {P}
This is the purpose of crumple zones - this momentum has
to go somewhere, and it is better that it is absorbed
in a controlled manner than the force applied finding the weak
points in the car's construction and ripping the thing apart.
Car construction is only partly about strength - the ability to
absorb momentum, ideally in a small area, is more important.

The main thing is that it found the weak point was the crumple zone rather than Clear Spot's neck...
Our Accident - Andy22
why aren't cars crash tested from behind, considering it happens so often?

if you haven't got a boot(5dr) then there's not much metal between back seat passengers and the car benhind!
Our Accident - Blue {P}
Not much in the Fiesta at all. :(

Although I feel safer in my mate's Mondeo, much bigger boot, but no rear head restraints so you can expect a nicely snapped neck. :(
Our Accident - Clear Spot
I agree that crumple zones absorb energy, and that the design worked well in that potentially serious whiplash injury was minimised (correct positioning of head restraints was a big factor). The Omega was a big heavy chunk of car 1800k kerb weight. My mind boggles as to what could have happened in a smaller car, or much smaller car - Smart?.
But my point is that the doors were jammed into each other and any harder shunt was likely to have jammed up the drivers door completely, making escape from the car extremely difficult. A more rigid passenger cage is required surely?
(btw the offending car was a Mondeo)

Our Accident - SteveH42
You can't make a passenger 'cell' that does not deform at all in an accident. It's probably better that it doesn't - progressive absorbtion is the key. In most cars it probably does not take a lot of movement for the doors to foul - I know when I had a prang in my mother's Saab at very low speed, it was enough to push the bonnet back just far enough to foul the front door even though the damage was very minor.

Also, don't forget that modern cars now incorporate side crumple zones which are effectively the doors, so some movement is to be expected.

Smaller cars just need to approach the problem a bit better than larger ones - more rigid safety cage and more compact crumple zones. My Yaris gets a better NCAP rating (4 stars) than many much larger cars, so it is possible. I think the main factor in the amount of damage is the fact your SO kept the brakes on hard. Less braking would have meant less rear damage to your car, but of course it might have ended up worse overall had she been shunted in to the car in front.

Not a very good example, but if you consider how boxers try to 'roll' with a punch - they absorb the impact over a period of time, but when the get caught out and take a punch full on, it knocks them out.
Our Accident - Martin Wall
My Yaris gets a better NCAP rating (4 stars) than many much larger cars, so it is possible.

But the NCAP rating is *not* comparable outwith the same class - so a 4 star supermini is not necessarily going to be safer than say a 3 star Vectra or whatever. In an accident between a big heavy car and a little light one the driver of the big heavy car stands less chance of being injured.
Our Accident - SteveH42
Not that I'm disbelieving you, but where did you find this information? I can find nothing on the NCAP website to suggest different classes of car are marked differently, and the Yaris handbook suggests that the ratings are comparable on all cars.

Of course, a larger car hitting a smaller car will do more damage, as you've got more mass and therefore more momentum.
Door opening after crashes - CMark {P}
All cars sold in the UK have to conform to ECE regulations, which does include a rear impact test, ECE Reg. 32. This test defines "the behaviour of the structure of the impacted vehicle in a rear-end collision", and dates like most others from 1958. The requirements of this test includes, amongst others, "the opening of a number of doors sufficient to enable all the occupants to emerge shall, after the impact, continue to be possible without the use of tools." The test simulates a full width rear impact from an 1100kg vehicle at between 35 and 38 km/h (22 to 24 mph).

Broadly, as I understand this, as an automotive engineer having worked in the field of vehicle safety, a pass can be achieved (in regard to the opening of doors) if both front doors and possibly only one rear door can be opened externally without resorting to a crowbar or a similar tool. In other words the test does not insist the doors are able to opened from the inside.

A similar requirement for the doors to open after a 48 km/h (30 mph) frontal barrier crash is stipulated in ECE 33: "Behaviour of the structure of an impacted vehicle in a head-on collision".

Further info here: www.unece.org/trans/main/wp29/wp29regs21-40.html

Also, the NCAP (new car assessment program) run by the American NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) does not conduct rear impact crash tests due to budget limitations and the fact that "a relatively small percentage of deaths or severe injuries are associated with rear impact crashes". NCAP is designed as a consumer aid when purchasing vehicles. Further info here: www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/testing/ncap/Info.html

Clear Spot ? are you saying that the other doors (in their unlocked state) could not be opened at all from the outside even when tugging them as hard as possible?

At this level of impact I doubt whether much difference to the damage would have been made if the driver was not "holding the car on the brake".

I am glad there were no major injuries.

Door opening after crashes - Vin {P}
Sorry to hear about your shunt, but glad it was replaceable stuff that was damaged (though that could lead on to a worthless conversation about whether my own SO is irreplaceable).

Anyway, as it happens, a mate of mine is trading in his old Omega for a newer one tomorrow. I asked him about any problems with his current one (pays to be forewarned, I own one). One of the things was that the rear door won't open unless the front is opened. The Vauxhall dealer he originally bought from replaced the offside rear under warranty once, and told him it was a known fault in Omegas - probably true now it's happened again.

This might well explain why even a minimal reshaping of the passenger compartment might result in stuck doors, as there's obviously an inherent problem with Omega doors.

Door opening after crashes - Clear Spot
Final thoughts
1 - Very busy road, lots of traffic in queue, two lady drivers involved in accident with no passengers
NOT ONE B*******R STOPPED TO OFFER ASSISTANCE OR SEE IF ANYONE injured. (or a crowbar entry required). I am absolutely disgusted. (btw the Mondeo driver had a broken ankle).
2 - SO had her mobile 'phone (turned off) in her bag in the boot - took her somewhile to retrieve it - she's keeping it on her person at all times now.
3 - MK Police attended the scene and were very helpful and supportive. Insurance company have been pretty good also (Tesco) though I haven't got the money yet.
4 - Of course SO not injured is the main thing
Door opening after crashes - BrianW
Re: the mobile phone:
My son had his on the passenger seat when he pranged his cat.
Took him a time to find it.

I now hook the strap of mine round the gear lever on the principle that it will be in reach unless the car turns over and it drops off.
Door opening after crashes - BrianW
Before I get wisecracks: he pranged his CAR, not cat.
Finger trouble and not proof reading!
Door opening after crashes - Blue {P}
I've got a wireless handsfree car kit so I can leave my mobile anywhere in the car, back seat in a jacket pocket etc. and can still dial using the small button on the dash. Even if the phone were to get flung a short distance from the car it would still dial (provided the phone wasn't physically broken of course). It's definately a good bit of kit, I only need to be able to move my left arm to dial out...
Door opening after crashes - Blue {P}
Well, I got to test my handsfree emergency dial thingy last night... Coming home from work and someone had dumped a Micra on the road up to our street and a fire was just taking hold of the driver's seat. (I locked my doors 'cos they were obviously still close)

It worked really well, I was speaking to the fire brigade in no time, just hope it works as effectively if I crash!

On an O/T note: Don't cars make the nicest coloured flames when the plastics start to burn?
Our Accident - volvoman
Glad to hear you're OK CS. Can't speak for the Omega but I can tell you my Volvo 940 wrote off a Vauxhall Astra but suffered only minor front end damage. I'm sure the V70 will be excellent.
Our Accident - Mark (RLBS)
>>my Volvo 940 wrote off a Vauxhall Astra

That was a bit extreme, wasn't it ? I thought it only had a small leak. I guess that patch of diesel outside your house annoyed you more than I thought.
Our Accident - HF
ROFL, M!!!

You didn't notice V's violent tendencies then?
HF ;)
Our Accident - BrianW
SHMBO got knocked off her scooter last night.
When standing still in her works car park before she'd even got the engine running.
The culprit was a solicitor who backed his Merc. out of his car park and claims he didn't see her, even though she had a yellow fluorescent jacket on.
She has a couple of bruises, the scooter a bent centre stand where it was jammed under the Merc and a broken mirror surround.
And she needs a new helmet because it got banged on the ground.
Best thing was, it was captured on her works CCTV, so no problems with evidence!
Our Accident - Phil I
>and claims he didn't see her,<

They always do Brian. Glad SHMBO not damaged overly. Good job CCTV working .
Our Accident - Vin {P}
"and claims he didn't see her,<

They always do Brian. "

That's because most people who see someone in the path of their car do something to avoid it. Thus, they tend to hit things they truly didn't see. Makes you wonder what they ARE looking at, though.

My brother, many years ago, hit a VW beetle stopped at the traffic lights in Bramall Lane, Sheffield. In this case, he didn't see the beetle because he was watching what he described as a "beautifully filled pair of jeans walking along the pavement". Totalled his bike. I bet he got off and (correctly) told the VW driver that he hadn't seen him.

Our Accident - Cyd
......Makes you wonder what they ARE looking at, though.....

the small piece of time-space continuum that sits just in front of the screen but above the bonnet.

My optician reckons over 20% of drivers cannot pass the legal driving eyesight standard. Last time I had my eyes tested he adjusted my vision to the standard and I was shocked - I could barely walk straight, let alone drive.

Sounds to me like the Omega behaved exactly as it should have. must have been a fairly severe impact to do the damage described. As CMark says crash standards do require that doors can be opened after the legal test.

I've witnessed 30 mph full frontal impact tests (and others) and can tell you that the car is destroyed big style. You might think 30mph is not a severe impact, but at this speed a car carries an awful lot of kinetic energy.
Our Accident - THe Growler
Glad it wasn't worse Brian.


Value my car