Rear Crash Worthiness - rtj70
Just got back from a "holiday" in Italy which did not start well and got me wondering about crash tests.

Shortly after leaving Milan Malpensa Airport to Bellagio, our hired Fiesta got hit from behind by an HGV.... which in turn was hit by a tanker. No sure what was behind that just recall view from the side ambulance door. Do not have much recollection of the accident (why/how it happened for a start as I must have passed out after impact). Spent the first afternoon in Italian A&E with wife, both having stitches, xrays and for me a CT scan! I have pictures of my brain now.

Italian hospital and police to be congratulated apart from drive to the hire car to collect wrecked luggage.... 140km/h in a 90km/h zone with blue lights and Carabinieri driver on his mobile whilst cars in front eventually moved over! And we only both fitted once the weapons boxes were stacked high in the boot!!!

Thankfully we are relatively well and continued via taxi/limo for the rest of the holiday.

But it made me wonder about crash worthiness of any car when hit from behind... okay I got hit my an HGV so the driver was cheating. But the rear obviously shortened and frighteningly the roof to the rear of the front passengers caved in like a V shape... filling much of the space for passengers. This is what ripped the back of my head open but had someone been in the rear I do not think they would be with us today. It was that bad.

Now I am not criticising the Fiesta because we "walked away" (actually helped in my case with lots of blood from headwound) from being hit by an HGV but with NCAP concentrating on frontal and side impact, what about rear?

Rob (the lucky one I think....

P.S. Another topic... turns out I had dreamt about being in this hospital prior to departure... I recognised some of the interior of the hospital and some staff. Deborah also dreamt of the hospital recently and dismissed it.... That is spooky is it not...!
Rear Crash Worthiness - Blue {P}
Pleased you're OK, sounds like it could have been much worse!

I reckon most cars are fairly tough when hit from behind, the Fiesta must have done pretty well to survive an impact from an HGV at all, however, this is why I like driving a bigger car whenever possible!

Rear Crash Worthiness - rtj70
Not sure i'll drive a hire car in Italy again to be honest. But when I do it will be something the size I normally drive in the UK for these reasons. Can I say Mondeo sized?

Had I got the Megane CC I was thinking of though, maybe the roof would have absorbed some impact and with no roof would not have been hurt ???

Howeverm hired a small car because the roads to Bellagio are VERY narrow. Coming back on a bus today I was glad I was not coming the other way I can tell you.

Be warned backroomers, there are crazy drivers near Milan. The Limo/Taxi driver came off at a rest area to let a truck pass at one point too. And she was driving an E class Mercedes.... which cost 180 Euros to Bellagio,
Rear Crash Worthiness - Altea Ego
Join the "walked away from a biggy" club.! Its a sobering experience

It is true, most crash protection blurb does concentrate on the front. The NCAP tests are all frontal based.
This is probably in part because
1/ larger proportion of accidents are frontal in nature.
2/ There is always someone in the front of a car
3/ The front has lots of mechanicals, that all need to go somewhere when displaced. In the old days they used to want to migrate to the space the driver was occupying.

I think we have pushed frontal surviveability to its limit for the time being, and need to concentrate on rear (kids) passengers.

It should be easy, there is nothing mechanical in there to worry about., The problem is that with small hatchbacks there is very little space between the back of the car and a rear seat passenger.

TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Rear Crash Worthiness - Pugugly {P}
I think you you were in a bump that not so long ago would have ended up with a sudden drop off in postings. As mentioned above you were very lucky to be in a modern European car. Imagine the Kenetic energy involved, most of that was absorbed by the car's crumple zones long before the roof caved in. As regards your dream, my old man's area of expertese is in (aviation) head injuries and that a feeling of post accident deja vu is common - believed to be some bizzare cehmical mix in the brain box after the trauma.

Was your holiday insurance any help ? How did the Car hire company react ?
Rear Crash Worthiness - Honestjohn
There is talk of NCAP rear impact crash testing. The problem is working out criteria whereby most current cars would not immediately fail. Testing in the USA revealed that no station wagon or MPV could pass the tests they carried out.


Rear Crash Worthiness - nortones2
Very good query, OP! And considering the location of the fuel tank on most cars, in the rear, its to be hoped makers are taking the issue seriously. NB: Honda have the fuel tank between the axles, under the front seats. Presumably that is safer...
Rear Crash Worthiness - mfarrow
NB: Honda have
the fuel tank between the axles, under the front seats.

Most (all?) modern cars since the 80's have fuel tanks in front of the rear axle. I suspect most manufacturers feel the combination of sills, chassis rails and stiffening tunnel is enough to protect against most impacts.

To be honest I doubt if any car would serve much better than the Fiesta, especially against an HGV with a flat front, although a deeper boot would help stop the roof caving in above your head.

Mike Farrow
Rear Crash Worthiness - Pugugly {P}
The words Pinto and Ford spring effortlessly to mind.
Rear Crash Worthiness - nortones2
in the Jazz and new Civic, i meant to add!
Rear Crash Worthiness - Altea Ego
"Testing in the USA revealed that no station wagon or MPV could pass the tests they carried out."

Yup I can see why that is. All those types of cars have no brace between the sides. (ie rear shelf (or in the case of the front the firewall area)) This stops the sides of the car bowing out in an impact and enables the crumple zones to work in a progressive manner.

All this means of course, the boot is a VERY poor area to put people in - ala all those 7 seat cars with pop up rear seats

TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Rear Crash Worthiness - rtj70
Holiday insurance and the hire company so far not brilliant.

Actually have the holiday covered twice because of annual policy and wanting to insure the Air Miles used for this trip. Airmiles were pretty poor when we called initially so will probably use the other one. Will read small print first because my wife needs dental treatment etc. and I lost camcorder, prescription sunglasses, etc... so it could work out at least a little expensive.

Car was hired (with collision damage protection) from Holiday Autos. They are looking into it. Called into Hertz Italy at the airport on the way home and they said they had no reference of the rental. Then finally someone who I'd called after the accident remembered my name and found it. They've not even looked at the car yet so will not have taken any excess for the rental.

If this can be proved to be the lorry driver's fault, the frustrating thing is this is all claimable from his insurance. But I bet that turns out difficult in practice living in UK, accident in Italy and using a hire car.


P.S. As for the dream, we definately remember dreaming of being in an Italian hospital before we left the UK. We both just dimissed it and probably put it down to a dream being triggered by watching a TV programme or something.
Rear Crash Worthiness - Pugugly {P}
But I bet that turns out difficult in practice living in UK, accident in Italy and using a hire car.

Cue Mark.
Rear Crash Worthiness - Mike-H
To add to this list, most rear end accidents are by cars, and I suppose scientifically you can add their frontal crumple zone to your rear crumple to reduce the overall 'G' force of the adccident. There fore the more effective the car that hits you's crumple zone, the better for both. Your HGV had no crumple zone to speak of to add on, so you took the full whack up the back. Sounds terrible. Hope you stay well with no whiplash effects etc. Mike
Rear Crash Worthiness - Pugugly {P}
Remember that in a Defender the car in front is the crumple zone............
Rear Crash Worthiness - Mike-H
Why am I chuckling so much at this? It's not funny really!
Rear Crash Worthiness - Grenache
Gosh - glad to hear you're ok.

Re the petrol tanks - one reason I drive a diesel (as do all my family) is that it's a lot less volatile in the event of a serious accident.
Rear Crash Worthiness - Big John
"one reason I drive a diesel (as do all my family) is that it's a lot less volatile "

Yes but No! Petrol is indeed much more volatile than diesel. However a spark is required to ignite petrol, a very hot surface such as an exhaust is enough to ignite diesel. Brake fluid landing on a hot exhaust is also a problem.
Rear Crash Worthiness - bell boy
Brake fluid landing on a hot exhaust is also a problem.

mmmmmmmm lovely green/yellow flames too ,..........mesmerising........
Rear Crash Worthiness - Big John
How about Austin/Rover hydroelastic fluid, Pink Flames?

Ask Honest John

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