Many motorists are happy to pay a lot more money for luxury brand automobiles. One of the key reasons behind this decision is that buyers assume certain manufacturers build stronger cars and they last longer. Some of these brands have been symbols of safety for years. Is it still the same after the application of new technological advancements or do we get less steel for our money? Let’s have a look at some evidence and see.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has carried out new frontal crash tests that raise question about the safety of these brands. Hitting a barrier at 40 mph only on the driver side carries out the “small overlap frontal crash test”
It is designed to avoid the sturdiest steel frame in the middle and see how the sides respond. The specific aim is to see if the crash will push the steering wheel to a side that will make the air bag miss the driver’s head instead of protecting it full front.
This flaw does effectively cancel the air bag and the result can be fatal for the driver. These flaws were found in cars made by Lexus, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz. The explanation for the changes in such highly regarded cars is in the way in which the priority shifted.
According to IIHS reports manufacturers make the new model automobiles lighter, less durable and more easily damaged in the effort to increase fuel-efficiency. Lighter cars need less gas per mile but they do not stand as well as they used to in collision tests.
These revelations will raise a question in the minds of many owners who keep going back to the same brands for the presumed sturdiness. Also it will increase car insurance rates charged to owners, as carriers follow these safety ratings and adjust their premium accordingly. They usually tend to offer better rates to the owners of more reliable vehicles.
Changes in the Methods
It is designed to hit one-fourth of the car’s front-end at 40 mph to a solid barrier. Previously they used to crash them with the full width of the front-end at 35 mph. A spokesman for IIHS says that it replicates the frontal car accidents seen in the real world where only a small portion of the front of a vehicle is involved.
Most of the time accidents happen when motorists are trying to avoid a danger. They may be swerving to avoid an oncoming vehicle or an animal or object on the road. Drivers may collide with a tree, a lamp post or another object on the side of the cars as a result.
According to IIHs more than ten thousand deaths occur due to full frontal crashes. And one-fourth of these accidents end up being “small overlap frontal”. The objects struck by the vehicle pushes the interior further inside and injure the driver.
According to reports luxury cars were tested first and results show that manufacturers are not focusing on these types of accidents. Researchers believe that small to medium size vehicles may display similar results once they are tested as well.
Studies like these will be taken seriously by automakers and hopefully necessary changes to airbags and auto fronts will be made to reduce injuries. Study group leaders believe that manufacturers have already started working on the required improvements.
Companies carry out their own research on the safety matters although they would not make the findings public. However, independent studies will make them available to auto buyers. This is necessary so that consumers can see the advantages and shortcomings of a certain make and model. Then, they can make an informed decision.