Understanding Car Crashes: It's Basic Physics

What happens to vehicles and their occupants in crashes is determined by science. "You can't argue with the laws of physics," says Griff Jones, award-winning high school physics teacher who goes behind the scenes at the Institute's Vehicle Research Center to explore the basic science behind car crashes. Using a series of vehicle maneuvers on a test track plus filmed results of vehicle crash tests, Jones explains in anything but lecture style the concept of inertia, the relationship between crash forces and inertia, momentum and impulse, and a lot more. Quote from Paul G. Hewitt, the developer of the "Conceptual Physics" curriculum and author of the best selling text book by the same name: "The video "Understanding Car Crashes: It's Basic Physics" and accompanying teacher's guide are wonderful. The pacing is excellent, the coverage fascinating, and most importantly, the physics is correct. It's a first rate teaching package. I give it five stars!" DVD contains updated footage and additional material for teachers To obtain a DVD copy, go to http://www.iihs.org/videos/default.html

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Understanding Car Crashes: When Physics Meets Biology
Why do some car crashes produce only minor injuries? How can a single crash of a car into a wall involve three separate collisions? Griff Jones, award-winning science teacher, returns to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Vehicle Research Center to answer these questions and to examine the laws of nature that determine what happens to the human body in a crash. Jones reviews levels of organization in the body and explains how body cavities house and protect major internal organs. Through creative experiments, he explores how the third collision can cause injuries to organs. He introduces the concepts of stress and strain. He demonstrates how shockwaves can damage tissue and what happens at the cellular level. Tools from the field of injury biomechanics, like biofidelic crash test dummies, help doctors and engineers determine what works to reduce injuries and deaths in crashes. The key to preventing injuries in any type of crash, whether it's in a race car or a family sedan, is to reduce forces on occupants. Extending impact time, keeping the occupant compartment intact, and tying occupants to the compartment are what keep people safe in car crashes when physics meets biology. DVD contains additional material for teachers To obtain a DVD copy, go to http://www.iihs.org/videos/default.html

SUVs and pickups pose less risk to people in crashes
IIHS news release • September 28, 2011 Effort to make SUVs, pickups less deadly to car occupants in crashes is paying off ARLINGTON, VA - Today's SUVs and pickups pose far less risk to people in cars and minivans than previous generations, a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows. Until recently, SUVs and pickups were more likely than cars or minivans of the same weight to be involved in crashes that killed occupants of other cars or minivans. That's no longer the case for SUVs, and for pickups the higher risk is much less pronounced than it had been. Full text of release at http://www.iihs.org/news/rss/pr092811.html

1959 Chevrolet Bel Air vs. 2009 Chevrolet Malibu IIHS crash test
IIHS 50th anniversary demonstration test • September 9, 2009 In the 50 years since US insurers organized the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, car crashworthiness has improved. Demonstrating this was a crash test conducted between a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air and a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. In a real-world collision similar to this test, occupants of the new model would fare much better than in the vintage Chevy. "It was night and day, the difference in occupant protection," says Institute president Adrian Lund. "What this test shows is that automakers don't build cars like they used to. They build them better." The crash test was conducted at an event to celebrate the contributions of auto insurers to highway safety progress over 50 years. Beginning with the Institute's 1959 founding, insurers have maintained the resolve, articulated in the 1950s, to "conduct, sponsor, and encourage programs designed to aid in the conservation and preservation of life and property from the hazards of highway accidents." More information at http://www.iihs.org

Reducing Your Risks In The Crash
The best way to reduce the risks is to make sure everyone in the vehicle is effectively restrained. This video uses test footage of what happens during crashes to show how to get the most from occupant restraints. For example, it shows how to buckle up properly and why you should sit back from the steering wheel and airbag. To obtain a DVD copy, go to http://www.iihs.org/videos/default.html