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Published on October 21st, 2008 | by Nick Chambers

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Are Tiny, Gas-Saving Cars Unsafe? Today Mine Saved My Life

I rolled my Toyota Yaris three times this morning after hitting a six-foot-high dirt embankment at highway speed. I crawled out with no more than a bump on my head, seat belt burn, and a massively stiff neck. So, for all you small car safety-doubters out there, I’ve now got personal experience to say otherwise.

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Inevitably, whenever we post about small electric cars, funky three-wheelers, or any other small fuel-efficient vehicle here at Gas 2.0, we get typical responses along the lines of “It may get 60 mpg, but that thing’s a death trap,” or “It’s nice to drive electric, but would you trust that car to your family?”

After this morning’s shenanigans, I can unequivocally say “Yes. Yes I would trust my family to a small fuel-efficient car, and I’m miraculously alive and mostly uninjured… so no, it’s not a death trap.”

My Yaris got 40 mpg and weighed less than half (35%) of a Chevy Suburban. From the outside it may not have looked very substantial, but it sure saved me on fuel costs. And, until today, I would have grudgingly agreed that it may not be as safe as driving a behemoth like the Suburban.

But now that my life has stopped flashing before my eyes, and I’ve had a chance to think, it is simply amazing that I walked away from that crash barely bleeding. I mean, just look at the remnants of my car.

In fact, after today, I think I fared better in my Yaris than I would have in a Suburban land yacht. Imagine how many times I would have flipped in the Suburban and the force of impact that would have come along with crashing a 6,447 pound car?

So, for everybody out there that’s using safety as an excuse to not go green, I must ask you to please take a look at that picture of my car and the wonder of how I walked away well enough to write this post the same day. Then try turning around and telling me that these upcoming small alternative cars aren’t safe simply because they’re small.

It’s more a matter of engineering, and, at least in Toyota’s case, those engineers are miracle-workers.

Editor’s note: This post was updated on October 22, at 8:00 am PST, to correct the curb weight of the Chevy Suburban from 8,600 lbs to 6,447 lbs. 8,600 lbs was the gross vehicle weight rating. 6,447 lbs is the weight of the heaviest Suburban — the 3/4 ton model with four wheel drive.


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About the Author

Not your traditional car guy.



  • Jon

    Actually, check out this article showing that SUVs are far LESS safe than smaller cars:

    http://www.gladwell.com/2004/2004_01_12_a_suv.html

  • Jon

    Actually, check out this article showing that SUVs are far LESS safe than smaller cars:

    http://www.gladwell.com/2004/2004_01_12_a_suv.html

  • Nick Chambers

    Jon,

    That’s an excellent link. Thanks.

  • Chris

    Holy. Crap. Glad you are ok, and alive!! Thank you car!

  • Chris

    Holy. Crap. Glad you are ok, and alive!! Thank you car!

  • Nick

    Congrats on being alive, dude!

    Sincerely,

    A Fellow Nick

  • Nick

    Congrats on being alive, dude!

    Sincerely,

    A Fellow Nick

  • Scott

    Sadly, the problem is when you smack into a giant Humscalade. Your little Yaris will get creamed. If everyone drove smaller vehicles, you would be fine, but the SUVs will take you out.

  • Scott

    …and glad you walked away from your accident.

  • Scott

    Sadly, the problem is when you smack into a giant Humscalade. Your little Yaris will get creamed. If everyone drove smaller vehicles, you would be fine, but the SUVs will take you out.

  • Scott

    …and glad you walked away from your accident.

  • brad

    I would def agree with you on that one.

    I drive a Saab 93 now. Before that I had a 1999 F-150 pickup truck.

    I was driving home in the snow and went over a bump on the highway and ended up doing a tailspin into a tree.

    By luck I had managed to hit the only structural sound point in the car… The area where the door hinges into the frame.

    On that truck there are no side impact beams, no roll bar, no crumple zones, … basically nothing except the required airbag which probably helped me considerably… another thing is the steering wheel in that truck doesn’t collapse in an accident.

    If I had hit the tree a few inches back I would have been killed… no question about it. The tree probably would have gone straight through the center of the cab.

    The Saab gets 35mpg on the highway when I have a lead foot… Its got more airbags than seats, and every single safety feature you could possibly imagine.

    So, huge truck or small Saab?

    I feel unsafe in large vehicles now. I don’t even like to drive SUVs at all… I now have the feeling that the thing is going to flip on me or something.

  • Robert

    So glad to see that you made it out intact! The crumple zones did their job admirably and you’re the proof. :)

    I will be the first to state that our unibody vehicles are almost always safer than equivalent body-on-frame designs, regardless of size, in a single-car accident simply due to their encapsulation of the passenger compartment and tendency to deform rather than exert high accelerational loads. Mass has a negligible effect in a rollover or collision with a nondeformable/nonmovable object (like the good ol’ Earth). However, this design advantage is thrown out the window in a collision with a larger (particular body-on-frame) vehicle – sure, the other vehicle’s occupants may be badly injured due to fewer active safety features (frames do not crumple and absorb energy well relative to a unibody!), but the deformation and acceleration imparted upon a lighter/smaller vehicle will always be greater than that upon the larger. A crumple-resistant frame striking a small car at torso-height is an unfortunate matter of physics that can be alleviated by engineering, but only to a certain extent. Here’s to continued innovation in the field over the next few years!

    Yours,

    Robert

  • brad

    I would def agree with you on that one.

    I drive a Saab 93 now. Before that I had a 1999 F-150 pickup truck.

    I was driving home in the snow and went over a bump on the highway and ended up doing a tailspin into a tree.

    By luck I had managed to hit the only structural sound point in the car… The area where the door hinges into the frame.

    On that truck there are no side impact beams, no roll bar, no crumple zones, … basically nothing except the required airbag which probably helped me considerably… another thing is the steering wheel in that truck doesn’t collapse in an accident.

    If I had hit the tree a few inches back I would have been killed… no question about it. The tree probably would have gone straight through the center of the cab.

    The Saab gets 35mpg on the highway when I have a lead foot… Its got more airbags than seats, and every single safety feature you could possibly imagine.

    So, huge truck or small Saab?

    I feel unsafe in large vehicles now. I don’t even like to drive SUVs at all… I now have the feeling that the thing is going to flip on me or something.

  • Robert

    So glad to see that you made it out intact! The crumple zones did their job admirably and you’re the proof. :)

    I will be the first to state that our unibody vehicles are almost always safer than equivalent body-on-frame designs, regardless of size, in a single-car accident simply due to their encapsulation of the passenger compartment and tendency to deform rather than exert high accelerational loads. Mass has a negligible effect in a rollover or collision with a nondeformable/nonmovable object (like the good ol’ Earth). However, this design advantage is thrown out the window in a collision with a larger (particular body-on-frame) vehicle – sure, the other vehicle’s occupants may be badly injured due to fewer active safety features (frames do not crumple and absorb energy well relative to a unibody!), but the deformation and acceleration imparted upon a lighter/smaller vehicle will always be greater than that upon the larger. A crumple-resistant frame striking a small car at torso-height is an unfortunate matter of physics that can be alleviated by engineering, but only to a certain extent. Here’s to continued innovation in the field over the next few years!

    Yours,

    Robert

  • Robert

    Robert again – took me a bit to type and I missed the good link in the first response. It’s worth reading. However, also of note is that since 2004, the boom of unibody-based SUVs has significantly decreased per-vehicle fatalities/injuries for both occupants and other vehicles for the reasons that I noted above – ladder frames (almost always sourced from pickups) resist deformation and as such impart tremendous forces. Single-SUV accidents are much safer for 2008/9, but the energy imparted upon smaller vehicles has decreased only perhaps 30%.

  • Robert

    Robert again – took me a bit to type and I missed the good link in the first response. It’s worth reading. However, also of note is that since 2004, the boom of unibody-based SUVs has significantly decreased per-vehicle fatalities/injuries for both occupants and other vehicles for the reasons that I noted above – ladder frames (almost always sourced from pickups) resist deformation and as such impart tremendous forces. Single-SUV accidents are much safer for 2008/9, but the energy imparted upon smaller vehicles has decreased only perhaps 30%.

  • andres

    my only concern is a small car like the Yaris hitting a large vehicle like a suburban. on a head-on colition i would venture to say that the larger vehicle will do better than the smaller one… any thoughts???

  • andres

    my only concern is a small car like the Yaris hitting a large vehicle like a suburban. on a head-on colition i would venture to say that the larger vehicle will do better than the smaller one… any thoughts???

  • Matt

    Glad to hear you’re ok!

    Being an Australian myself, looking at the USA there seems to be a cultural resistance to small cars which goes past all logic and reason. Small cars are very common over here and mindset of “small = WEAK” is completely alien to us.

    If I wanted to check the safety rating of a car I’d simply look up the NRMA yearly safety ratings to see how my purchase idea fared.

  • Matt

    Glad to hear you’re ok!

    Being an Australian myself, looking at the USA there seems to be a cultural resistance to small cars which goes past all logic and reason. Small cars are very common over here and mindset of “small = WEAK” is completely alien to us.

    If I wanted to check the safety rating of a car I’d simply look up the NRMA yearly safety ratings to see how my purchase idea fared.

  • Antonio Andolini

    You should watch that movie “Final Destination”. It’s just a matter of time for you now…..

  • Antonio Andolini

    You should watch that movie “Final Destination”. It’s just a matter of time for you now…..

  • Bob

    While on vacation this past summer, I was witness to an accident where a Smart fortwo was cut off by a Toyota Camry at about 50mph. Both cars were quite messed up, but the driver of the Smart opened her door, climbed out, and was helped to the side of the road. She was dazed, but pretty much unhurt. I expected to see the worst in the aftermath, but was in a state of awe after seeing how that little car stood up in the collision!

  • Bob

    While on vacation this past summer, I was witness to an accident where a Smart fortwo was cut off by a Toyota Camry at about 50mph. Both cars were quite messed up, but the driver of the Smart opened her door, climbed out, and was helped to the side of the road. She was dazed, but pretty much unhurt. I expected to see the worst in the aftermath, but was in a state of awe after seeing how that little car stood up in the collision!

  • CrashTestDummy

    That’s a pretty small sample of crashes to conclude anything but it’s impressive that the door pillars held up and the roof wasn’t bashed in more.

  • CrashTestDummy

    That’s a pretty small sample of crashes to conclude anything but it’s impressive that the door pillars held up and the roof wasn’t bashed in more.

  • cmanjohn

    Glad you are ok, but are you actually looking at the picture of your car? You are alive in spite of your car, not because of it. That car was totaled something bad, and it’s a miracle that you weren’t badly injured.

  • cmanjohn

    Glad you are ok, but are you actually looking at the picture of your car? You are alive in spite of your car, not because of it. That car was totaled something bad, and it’s a miracle that you weren’t badly injured.

  • Nick Chambers

    cmanjohn,

    When I look at that picture, it looks to me like the car performed admirably by doing what it was designed to do in an accident: absorb impact without transferring the energy to the driver… not that I survived in spite of my car.

  • Dave

    You’re absolutely right, however, something you didn’t consider, something most people don’t consider, is how much safer small cars are in accidents they AVOID. The mass=safety argument assumes you’re going to drive into an accident and there’s nothing you can do about it. But smaller cars, with their shorter braking distances and sharper handling, and less obstructed visibility, are much better at not getting into the accident in the first place. Stats compiled showing deaths per vehicle on the road, rather than deaths per accident, reflect this — most of the safest cars are small, such as the Jetta at #4.

    All this is expanded on in this excellent article on Gladwell. If you can read it and still want an SUV, you’re beyond help:

    http://www.gladwell.com/2004/2004_01_12_a_suv.html

  • Dave

    You’re absolutely right, however, something you didn’t consider, something most people don’t consider, is how much safer small cars are in accidents they AVOID. The mass=safety argument assumes you’re going to drive into an accident and there’s nothing you can do about it. But smaller cars, with their shorter braking distances and sharper handling, and less obstructed visibility, are much better at not getting into the accident in the first place. Stats compiled showing deaths per vehicle on the road, rather than deaths per accident, reflect this — most of the safest cars are small, such as the Jetta at #4.

    All this is expanded on in this excellent article on Gladwell. If you can read it and still want an SUV, you’re beyond help:

    http://www.gladwell.com/2004/2004_01_12_a_suv.html

  • Dave

    Oops, I see I’m the second person to link to the exact same article. That’s how good it is!

  • Dave

    Oops, I see I’m the second person to link to the exact same article. That’s how good it is!

  • christopher

    “Yep, that’s how Yaris rolls”

    right on the front page to the Yaris link.

    Excellent!

  • christopher

    “Yep, that’s how Yaris rolls”

    right on the front page to the Yaris link.

    Excellent!

  • Andy

    And what, exactly, were you doing that caused you to hit an embankment at highway speed?

    I think the car you’re driving is less of a safety issue than the person behind the wheel, in most cases.

  • Andy

    And what, exactly, were you doing that caused you to hit an embankment at highway speed?

    I think the car you’re driving is less of a safety issue than the person behind the wheel, in most cases.

  • Nick Chambers

    Andy,

    And all future commenters who ask this question: I didn’t include the how, why or opinion about fault in my post for a reason, so I certainly won’t do it now. That’s something for my close friends, family and lawyer. But suffice it to say that just because only one car gets banged up in a wreck, it doesn’t mean that another car wasn’t involved. I also want to say that I believe in karma, and think that what goes around comes around.

  • chris

    Think of how many times you WOULDN’T have rolled in a REAL car!

  • chris

    Think of how many times you WOULDN’T have rolled in a REAL car!

  • Jeff

    So, basically, you’re a bad driver (rolling your car with, apparently, no other vehicles involved) *and* you make incorrect assumptions both before *and* after your wreck.

    It’s all about momentum, and when two vehicles collide at equal speeds, the larger one has more of it. These generalizations of yours are getting you nowhere.

    Before you think I’m defending the “evil SUV”, let me state that I commute by motorcycle on a daily, year-round basis. I’m keenly aware of the risks of being the smaller vehicle, and of the benefits of energy-absorbing protection.

    Unfortunately, when I see a person flip-flop between two incorrect generalizations, I get annoyed.

  • Jeff

    So, basically, you’re a bad driver (rolling your car with, apparently, no other vehicles involved) *and* you make incorrect assumptions both before *and* after your wreck.

    It’s all about momentum, and when two vehicles collide at equal speeds, the larger one has more of it. These generalizations of yours are getting you nowhere.

    Before you think I’m defending the “evil SUV”, let me state that I commute by motorcycle on a daily, year-round basis. I’m keenly aware of the risks of being the smaller vehicle, and of the benefits of energy-absorbing protection.

    Unfortunately, when I see a person flip-flop between two incorrect generalizations, I get annoyed.

  • Nick Chambers

    Jeff,

    I get annoyed when people make assumptions without prior knowledge. Look at my response to Andy about why I didn’t include info on other drivers that may or may not have been involved.

    My accident didn’t involve two vehicles colliding, it involved me hitting a stationary object. In the particular accident I was involved in, my conclusions are fair. I didn’t bring up other types of accidents because I have no personal experience with those.

    Hitting a stationary object with a small car releases much less force of impact than with a large car.

  • http://sparkplug9.com John Koetsier

    Take care of your neck, buddy! I know from personal experience that the second and third days are much worse than the first day.

    Get some good care, and hopefully you’ll be perfectly all right. I didn’t, and I’ve had neck issues for 15 years.

  • http://sparkplug9.com John Koetsier

    Take care of your neck, buddy! I know from personal experience that the second and third days are much worse than the first day.

    Get some good care, and hopefully you’ll be perfectly all right. I didn’t, and I’ve had neck issues for 15 years.

  • Galli

    “Imagine how many times I would have flipped in the Suburban and the force of impact that would have come along with crashing an 8600 pound car?”

    What Suburban weighs 8600 pounds? That may be the Gross Vehicle Weight (the total weight the vehicle can pull including itself, it’s cargo, and any trailers) you’re thinking of.

    Actual weight of a 1972 Chevrolet Suburban 3/4ton is 4350lbs (http://books.google.com/books?id=aBuk7dJWq2YC&pg=PA164&lpg=PA164&dq=1972+suburban+specs+gvw&source=web&ots=kRmCXotW8Z&sig=yIh5SuYot9G1gknVS-OAMJyLUXM&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPA183,M1).

    Weight of your Yaris is 2300lbs (http://autos.yahoo.com/toyota_yaris_sedan_5_spd_mt-specs/?p=ext).

    So your Yaris was actually only half of a Suburban! Quit trying to say “Oh, I’m so green! I drive a much smaller car than you do, therefore I am a better person.”

    Though now that it is smashed up, your original statement may be accurate.

  • Galli

    “Imagine how many times I would have flipped in the Suburban and the force of impact that would have come along with crashing an 8600 pound car?”

    What Suburban weighs 8600 pounds? That may be the Gross Vehicle Weight (the total weight the vehicle can pull including itself, it’s cargo, and any trailers) you’re thinking of.

    Actual weight of a 1972 Chevrolet Suburban 3/4ton is 4350lbs (http://books.google.com/books?id=aBuk7dJWq2YC&pg=PA164&lpg=PA164&dq=1972+suburban+specs+gvw&source=web&ots=kRmCXotW8Z&sig=yIh5SuYot9G1gknVS-OAMJyLUXM&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPA183,M1).

    Weight of your Yaris is 2300lbs (http://autos.yahoo.com/toyota_yaris_sedan_5_spd_mt-specs/?p=ext).

    So your Yaris was actually only half of a Suburban! Quit trying to say “Oh, I’m so green! I drive a much smaller car than you do, therefore I am a better person.”

    Though now that it is smashed up, your original statement may be accurate.

  • John

    @cmanjohn,

    No, he’s alive because of the car. It was smashed up because that’s what it’s designed to do – crush horribly everywhere except the passenger compartment. Look at the cockpit – almost completely undeformed. The killing energy went into the bumper, the front subframe and the trunk. Look at the frame under the doors – it’s straight! I’ll bet the doors still open.

    An absolute marvel of engineering. If that had been a 65 Mustang they’d still be pulling his body parts out of the bushes.

  • John

    @cmanjohn,

    No, he’s alive because of the car. It was smashed up because that’s what it’s designed to do – crush horribly everywhere except the passenger compartment. Look at the cockpit – almost completely undeformed. The killing energy went into the bumper, the front subframe and the trunk. Look at the frame under the doors – it’s straight! I’ll bet the doors still open.

    An absolute marvel of engineering. If that had been a 65 Mustang they’d still be pulling his body parts out of the bushes.

  • John

    Sure your car survived that roll over, but if you had hit one of those bigger, gas guzzling cars you would be done, the bigger car would have simply demolished yours.

    Your car is by no means unsafe in a collision with the embankment or another small car, but it is unsafe if it hit, or was hit by a big SUV or truck.

  • John

    Sure your car survived that roll over, but if you had hit one of those bigger, gas guzzling cars you would be done, the bigger car would have simply demolished yours.

    Your car is by no means unsafe in a collision with the embankment or another small car, but it is unsafe if it hit, or was hit by a big SUV or truck.

  • Man

    thank God, not your car, man…

  • Man

    thank God, not your car, man…

  • http://www.chernow.org/blog Adam

    Holy crap man! I glad to see you walked away from that with minor injuries. I have a Yaris myself and it’s always reassuring to see that someone can walk away from an accident like that. (This is also, btw, the second time I’ve heard of a Toyota being rolled multiple times and the driver walking away with basically no injuries, though, the other was a Corolla)

    -Adam

  • http://www.chernow.org/blog Adam

    Holy crap man! I glad to see you walked away from that with minor injuries. I have a Yaris myself and it’s always reassuring to see that someone can walk away from an accident like that. (This is also, btw, the second time I’ve heard of a Toyota being rolled multiple times and the driver walking away with basically no injuries, though, the other was a Corolla)

    -Adam

  • Moritz

    So… perhaps you should all drive Fiat 500′s instead of SUVs :)

    I go by bike!

  • Moritz

    So… perhaps you should all drive Fiat 500′s instead of SUVs :)

    I go by bike!

  • Daniel

    Well, big cars are acutally more unsafe than a small car. But also if they are extremly small they are also unsafe, because there are a lot of big cars on the road.

    There is a project from a german startup company which saves much of fuel. And it’s save. And not expensiv. They want to sell it in 2010.

    http://evolution.loremo.com/index.php?lang=en

  • Daniel

    Well, big cars are acutally more unsafe than a small car. But also if they are extremly small they are also unsafe, because there are a lot of big cars on the road.

    There is a project from a german startup company which saves much of fuel. And it’s save. And not expensiv. They want to sell it in 2010.

    http://evolution.loremo.com/index.php?lang=en

  • Some Guy

    Sorry, but your wishful thinking notwithstanding, you’re far better off in an accident if you have the largest possible amount of mass moving on your vector. Congratulations on surviving your accident, but don’t kid yourself.

  • Some Guy

    Sorry, but your wishful thinking notwithstanding, you’re far better off in an accident if you have the largest possible amount of mass moving on your vector. Congratulations on surviving your accident, but don’t kid yourself.

  • http://doublepaw.org Japherwocky

    To be fair, the plural of anecdote isn’t evidence.

    Also – that is a very smartypants discussion about .. car bodies.

  • http://doublepaw.org Japherwocky

    To be fair, the plural of anecdote isn’t evidence.

    Also – that is a very smartypants discussion about .. car bodies.

  • http://42nt1.com Kevin

    I will disagree with everyone on the unibody vs body on frame collision theory. A few years back,I, in my honda civic, got clipped (front bumper even with rear wheel) by a guy in a ford f-150 extended cab. my car was totaled (the impact broke every window + the windshield), but I was able to walk away from the accident (straight to an ambulance who took me to the hospital to make sure I was ok of course).

  • http://42nt1.com Kevin

    I will disagree with everyone on the unibody vs body on frame collision theory. A few years back,I, in my honda civic, got clipped (front bumper even with rear wheel) by a guy in a ford f-150 extended cab. my car was totaled (the impact broke every window + the windshield), but I was able to walk away from the accident (straight to an ambulance who took me to the hospital to make sure I was ok of course).

  • Labora

    I won’t go so far to say that all gas savers are death traps that is a bit illogical. But lets see how that yaris does in a side impact/collision vs. your average American size car ramming into it. A rollover is not the same as a collision since it has more to do with weight/inertia then anything, and collisions are a bit more typical then a roll over. ;) Anyhow be glad your ok, car wrecks are no laughing matter. Been in more then I care to have been myself….

  • Labora

    I won’t go so far to say that all gas savers are death traps that is a bit illogical. But lets see how that yaris does in a side impact/collision vs. your average American size car ramming into it. A rollover is not the same as a collision since it has more to do with weight/inertia then anything, and collisions are a bit more typical then a roll over. ;) Anyhow be glad your ok, car wrecks are no laughing matter. Been in more then I care to have been myself….

  • Joao Pedro Goncalves

    Check EuroNCAP for security ratings on small cars: http://www.euroncap.com/tests/toyota_yaris_2005/246.aspx . Legislation is really tough here in Europe and some of the safest cars – Like the Smart – are quite small.

  • Joao Pedro Goncalves

    Check EuroNCAP for security ratings on small cars: http://www.euroncap.com/tests/toyota_yaris_2005/246.aspx . Legislation is really tough here in Europe and some of the safest cars – Like the Smart – are quite small.

  • anon

    n=1 QED FAIL

  • anon

    n=1 QED FAIL

  • PJ

    It really simply depends upon the accident. Had the Yaris been T-boned or struck a tree at +35mph speeds, I doubt you would be reporting the same. Most vehicles are capable of rolling w/o heavy damage. As a paramedic, I see this all the time, and rarely do I see someone injured simply because their car has turned over a few times.

    In the end, it’s really more about mass, speed, the object it impacted with, and where on the vehicle it was struck.

    Toyotas are tasty cars, but they are by no means safe on our tractor trailer/SUV roads. :/ I would personally love to get a SmartCar, but I’d rather not die before I’m 50.

  • PJ

    It really simply depends upon the accident. Had the Yaris been T-boned or struck a tree at +35mph speeds, I doubt you would be reporting the same. Most vehicles are capable of rolling w/o heavy damage. As a paramedic, I see this all the time, and rarely do I see someone injured simply because their car has turned over a few times.

    In the end, it’s really more about mass, speed, the object it impacted with, and where on the vehicle it was struck.

    Toyotas are tasty cars, but they are by no means safe on our tractor trailer/SUV roads. :/ I would personally love to get a SmartCar, but I’d rather not die before I’m 50.

  • PJ

    Oh yeah, and take lots of ibuprofen (if you didn’t get anything “fun” from the ER). When I got into my bad wreck, I ended up bruising my sternum and was wimpy for _weeks_. Oy.

  • PJ

    Oh yeah, and take lots of ibuprofen (if you didn’t get anything “fun” from the ER). When I got into my bad wreck, I ended up bruising my sternum and was wimpy for _weeks_. Oy.

  • Edward

    The size of your car is irrelevant when you are bouncing off roadside objects. It is relevant when you interact with other vehicles on the road. The more massive you are relative to your fellow crashee, the less forces act on the passengers inside. Simple momentum and impulse physics.

  • Edward

    The size of your car is irrelevant when you are bouncing off roadside objects. It is relevant when you interact with other vehicles on the road. The more massive you are relative to your fellow crashee, the less forces act on the passengers inside. Simple momentum and impulse physics.

  • Ricardo

    You should check out all european small cars like renault. This video is part of an episode of fifth gear. It´s a volvo crashing against a renault modus. It´s about the size of a yaris

  • Ricardo

  • Ricardo

    You should check out all european small cars like renault. This video is part of an episode of fifth gear. It´s a volvo crashing against a renault modus. It´s about the size of a yaris

  • Ricardo

  • Justin

    So why did you ram your car into a 6-foot-high dirt embankment?

  • Justin

    So why did you ram your car into a 6-foot-high dirt embankment?

  • Oblio_A

    Why did you leave the highway and hit a dirt wall? We’re you texting?

  • Oblio_A

    Why did you leave the highway and hit a dirt wall? We’re you texting?

  • Senshi

    Things about it in terms of energy, not size of car. To get a behemoth like a normal SUV rolling to 60mph, it takes a ton of energy. That’s why they’re fuel inefficient. Now a smaller car like yours takes only a fraction of the energy to get up to that speed, thus there’s less energy to be released in an impact. The only downside is, as andre above pointed out, you’d be a small metal cube in a head on collision with an SUV.

  • Senshi

    Things about it in terms of energy, not size of car. To get a behemoth like a normal SUV rolling to 60mph, it takes a ton of energy. That’s why they’re fuel inefficient. Now a smaller car like yours takes only a fraction of the energy to get up to that speed, thus there’s less energy to be released in an impact. The only downside is, as andre above pointed out, you’d be a small metal cube in a head on collision with an SUV.

  • Oblio_A

    I meant to ask:

    Why did you leave the highway and hit a dirt wall? Were you texting, or did you perhaps fall asleep?

  • Oblio_A

    I meant to ask:

    Why did you leave the highway and hit a dirt wall? Were you texting, or did you perhaps fall asleep?

  • Nick

    Glad you’re okay. So sorry you went through that accident.

    I do think these posts re: mass and force of a collision with a Suburban, Escalade or 18-wheeler are legitimate worries, which is why I’ve been saying for a while that auto manufacturers need to make green technology applicable to larger cars.

  • Nick

    Glad you’re okay. So sorry you went through that accident.

    I do think these posts re: mass and force of a collision with a Suburban, Escalade or 18-wheeler are legitimate worries, which is why I’ve been saying for a while that auto manufacturers need to make green technology applicable to larger cars.

  • John Jones

    I am surprised. Ialways thought if you got hit in one of those tiny cars that you would history.

    Jiff

    http://www.privacy-center.be.tc

  • John Jones

    I am surprised. Ialways thought if you got hit in one of those tiny cars that you would history.

    Jiff

    http://www.privacy-center.be.tc

  • Required

    That’s a long way to go to prove a point!

  • Required

    That’s a long way to go to prove a point!

  • Simon

    I think the point that most people are missing is this. Most small cars are aimed at the European market where there are tight safety measures. Have a look at the EuroNCAP rating:

    http://www.euroncap.com/Content-Web-Start/$c7dad01d-a23c-4ae6-bc4c-2676e24a78c2/home.aspx

    The main safety feature all these cars have is a very strong and sturdy passenger compartment which does not crumple, fold or in any way deform. The rest of the card, boot/trunk and engine compartment are all expendable and so deform a great deal. this can clearly be seen in the photo. That is the reason why Nick walked away essentially unharmed. The engine compartment disintegrated instead of the passenger compartment. He wasn’t lucky. It was by design.

    Have a look at this video of a Smart car head-on crash with a barrier to get a better understanding of the concept.

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/60538/smart_car_crash/

  • anon

    you were lucky, until big cars are not on the streets, they will remain very unsafe

    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/localnews/content/local_news/epaper/2008/10/14/1014pgabooked.html

    Palm Beach Gardens police say Zegeye was under the influence Sept. 13 and driving about 79 miles per hour in a 45 mile-per-hour zone when he smashed his 6,700-pound Porsche Cayenne into the rear of Krommendyk’s 2,300-pound Toyota Yaris. Zegeye did not hit the brakes. Krommendyk was waiting for a red light at Prosperity Farms Road and PGA Boulevard on his way to deliver a pizza at about 11 p.m. on a Saturday night, police said.

  • Simon

    I think the point that most people are missing is this. Most small cars are aimed at the European market where there are tight safety measures. Have a look at the EuroNCAP rating:

    http://www.euroncap.com/Content-Web-Start/$c7dad01d-a23c-4ae6-bc4c-2676e24a78c2/home.aspx

    The main safety feature all these cars have is a very strong and sturdy passenger compartment which does not crumple, fold or in any way deform. The rest of the card, boot/trunk and engine compartment are all expendable and so deform a great deal. this can clearly be seen in the photo. That is the reason why Nick walked away essentially unharmed. The engine compartment disintegrated instead of the passenger compartment. He wasn’t lucky. It was by design.

    Have a look at this video of a Smart car head-on crash with a barrier to get a better understanding of the concept.

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/60538/smart_car_crash/

  • anon

    you were lucky, until big cars are not on the streets, they will remain very unsafe

    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/localnews/content/local_news/epaper/2008/10/14/1014pgabooked.html

    Palm Beach Gardens police say Zegeye was under the influence Sept. 13 and driving about 79 miles per hour in a 45 mile-per-hour zone when he smashed his 6,700-pound Porsche Cayenne into the rear of Krommendyk’s 2,300-pound Toyota Yaris. Zegeye did not hit the brakes. Krommendyk was waiting for a red light at Prosperity Farms Road and PGA Boulevard on his way to deliver a pizza at about 11 p.m. on a Saturday night, police said.

  • bob

    So no one comments that if you hit that 6 foot embankment with a SUV, it would be destroyed, not your car?

    come on people!

  • bob

    So no one comments that if you hit that 6 foot embankment with a SUV, it would be destroyed, not your car?

    come on people!

  • Dixon

    Great article. When people call small cars unsafe they usually site research that indicates “incompatibilities” between cars on the road. This means that the aforementioned Suburban’s bumper collides with your head, not your bumper. You have posted strong evidence that in a single car collision the Yaris fairs well but I don’t think you would have been so lucky in a collision with a Suburban. I think we can make driving even safer by restricting highways to cars (like your Yaris) and segregating trucks (like the suburban) to low speed roads where they can’t do as much damage.

  • Dixon

    Great article. When people call small cars unsafe they usually site research that indicates “incompatibilities” between cars on the road. This means that the aforementioned Suburban’s bumper collides with your head, not your bumper. You have posted strong evidence that in a single car collision the Yaris fairs well but I don’t think you would have been so lucky in a collision with a Suburban. I think we can make driving even safer by restricting highways to cars (like your Yaris) and segregating trucks (like the suburban) to low speed roads where they can’t do as much damage.

  • http://reddit.com Nick

    Great, you save gas and all that Jazz. In my experience most people who drive these cars, claim to be enviormentaly friendly and that’s great. It’s important to care about the earth, the prob. is none of you seem to be able to drive. A point which I don’t think you can argue since you wrecked your car, going highway speeds running into a big hill of dirt. Sir I am happy you are ok, really. Good news is we all new these cars were safe or nobody would buy them, and you claiming they are “so safe” does not mean anything in your fuel economy fight because manufactures do these tests. So why don’t you leave the crashing to the pros and keep it between the lines.

  • http://reddit.com Nick

    Great, you save gas and all that Jazz. In my experience most people who drive these cars, claim to be enviormentaly friendly and that’s great. It’s important to care about the earth, the prob. is none of you seem to be able to drive. A point which I don’t think you can argue since you wrecked your car, going highway speeds running into a big hill of dirt. Sir I am happy you are ok, really. Good news is we all new these cars were safe or nobody would buy them, and you claiming they are “so safe” does not mean anything in your fuel economy fight because manufactures do these tests. So why don’t you leave the crashing to the pros and keep it between the lines.

  • Nick Chambers

    @Nick,

    I didn’t include the how, why or opinion about fault in my post for a reason, so I certainly won’t do it now. That’s something for my close friends, family and lawyer. For you to assume that I’m a bad driver because I crashed is, excuse me, asinine. Are you bad at brushing your teeth because you get one cavity? You could be the best driver on the planet and all it takes is one other bad driver to change your silly perspective.

    Suffice it to say that just because only one car gets banged up in a wreck, it doesn’t mean that another car wasn’t involved. I also want to say that I believe in karma, and think that what goes around comes around.

  • Rob

    Hmm, now can we see what happens when a Yaris is broadsided by a mid sized SUV at 30 mph? I can practically guarantee that you would not fair as well.

  • Rob

    Hmm, now can we see what happens when a Yaris is broadsided by a mid sized SUV at 30 mph? I can practically guarantee that you would not fair as well.

  • karl

    Good thing you hit a dirt embankment intead of my F150 4X4.

  • karl

    Good thing you hit a dirt embankment intead of my F150 4X4.

  • huh

    hitting a six-foot-high dirt embankment at highway speed?

    uh, that aint the general lee…

  • huh

    hitting a six-foot-high dirt embankment at highway speed?

    uh, that aint the general lee…

  • DrStrangegun

    Ok now, come on. Let’s inject some real physics into the argument.

    The real source of injury in accidents is delta V, change in velocity. Because you aren’t solidly attached to the car, a big delta V is what gets you bouncing off the interior, organs bouncing off bones, closed head injuries, etc.

    A big exterior delta V is what leads to overdeformation, crush injuries, and so on.

    Your rollover had a small delta V… your car had the chance to bleed off velocity over distance.

    A car hitting an immovable object has a direct delta V only influenced by the impact velocity and any engineering to the chassis that allows velocity change over time, reducing delta V.

    Where the problem is is with large vehicles and small vehicles. A small vehicle hitting a large one head-on has a much larger delta V than it would have had just hitting an immovable object. The kinetic energy of the car goes to zero and then starts assuming some of the remaining energy of the larger vehicle.

    In fact, let’s make a test case… a SMART versus a Hummer H1 fully loaded with it’s max cargo rating. Both are going 25mph. Hit them directly head-on to each other and you’ll likely see that the SMART ends up being propelled backwards at 5-10mph.

    This is why impacts with trains are so horrendous, there’s nearly zero assumed kinetic energy change by the locomotive, a 30mph strike from a train is nearly absolute. Hit a 30mph train with a car going 30mph head-on and you get the same delta V you’d have hitting a brick wall at 60mph.

  • DrStrangegun

    Ok now, come on. Let’s inject some real physics into the argument.

    The real source of injury in accidents is delta V, change in velocity. Because you aren’t solidly attached to the car, a big delta V is what gets you bouncing off the interior, organs bouncing off bones, closed head injuries, etc.

    A big exterior delta V is what leads to overdeformation, crush injuries, and so on.

    Your rollover had a small delta V… your car had the chance to bleed off velocity over distance.

    A car hitting an immovable object has a direct delta V only influenced by the impact velocity and any engineering to the chassis that allows velocity change over time, reducing delta V.

    Where the problem is is with large vehicles and small vehicles. A small vehicle hitting a large one head-on has a much larger delta V than it would have had just hitting an immovable object. The kinetic energy of the car goes to zero and then starts assuming some of the remaining energy of the larger vehicle.

    In fact, let’s make a test case… a SMART versus a Hummer H1 fully loaded with it’s max cargo rating. Both are going 25mph. Hit them directly head-on to each other and you’ll likely see that the SMART ends up being propelled backwards at 5-10mph.

    This is why impacts with trains are so horrendous, there’s nearly zero assumed kinetic energy change by the locomotive, a 30mph strike from a train is nearly absolute. Hit a 30mph train with a car going 30mph head-on and you get the same delta V you’d have hitting a brick wall at 60mph.

  • XC

    Dude, take some basic physics. All other things being equal, a lighter car will flip FASTER than a heavier car.

    Now, factor in relative tire size, center of gravity, actual weight, and etc and you have a complex equation.

    It may well be (though I doubt it) that flipping a Yaris is safer than flipping a Volvo, but if at some point in the flip you plan to hit anything heavier than a vagrant or a mailbox, then you should choose the Volvo.

    Not only because it has extra reinforcement, but because it weighs more. Did you ever do that experiment in physics where you roll a big ball and a little ball down a slope into each other? Yep, you always want to be the big ball.

    -XC

  • XC

    Dude, take some basic physics. All other things being equal, a lighter car will flip FASTER than a heavier car.

    Now, factor in relative tire size, center of gravity, actual weight, and etc and you have a complex equation.

    It may well be (though I doubt it) that flipping a Yaris is safer than flipping a Volvo, but if at some point in the flip you plan to hit anything heavier than a vagrant or a mailbox, then you should choose the Volvo.

    Not only because it has extra reinforcement, but because it weighs more. Did you ever do that experiment in physics where you roll a big ball and a little ball down a slope into each other? Yep, you always want to be the big ball.

    -XC

  • karl

    Each year I put about twice as many miles on my 450 lb. motorcycle as do on my 4300 lb. F150 4X4. I don’t have any illusions about which vehicle I’m safer with.

    There may be many reasons to drive an ity bitty gas sipping car, but safety isn’t one of them.

  • karl

    Each year I put about twice as many miles on my 450 lb. motorcycle as do on my 4300 lb. F150 4X4. I don’t have any illusions about which vehicle I’m safer with.

    There may be many reasons to drive an ity bitty gas sipping car, but safety isn’t one of them.

  • http://hucbald.blogspot.com/ Hucbald

    First off, I’m glad you came out OK. Secondly, I’m sorry about the car.

    However, one accident that you yourself personally survived is nothing but anecdotal evidence. There are myriad variables involved in vehicular accidents, and another coin toss and things could come out differently.

    For example, I survived a head-on while driving a 1974 Fiat X-1/9 and my opponent was a full-sized Ford pickup truck (This happened on a two-way freeway access road, and the sun was setting in my face, so I never even saw him). Combined closing velocity was about 70-80 MPH.

    Somehow, miraculously, when I came to rest, I was sitting sideways across the seats with my legs in the passenger seat. Not a scratch. I had a bruised forehead from hitting the windshield, but otherwise I was fine. There was NO CAR beyond the steering wheel, and the pickup’s front license plate was right where the car ended, well within arms reach. My legs should have been crushed, at least. Now, does this attest to the safety of 1974 Fiat X-1/9′s? No, and neither does your brush with luck. Oh, the guy in the truck was able to drive away, while they had to sweep the Fiat off the street.

    I’ve ridden motorcycles for over 30 years and have well over 100K touring miles under my belt, so I’m not averse to taking risks when I travel (And I currently own a Beemer), but today I drive a RAM 1500 QuadCab 4×4 pickup truck, and part of the reason is because it is NOT weighed down by all the federally mandated safety features that cars are. The other reason is because in vehicular collisions, mass and momentum are the biggest factors. I want those factors on my side unless I’m on two wheels, then I ride like I’m invisible and every cage is actively trying to kill me.

  • http://hucbald.blogspot.com/ Hucbald

    First off, I’m glad you came out OK. Secondly, I’m sorry about the car.

    However, one accident that you yourself personally survived is nothing but anecdotal evidence. There are myriad variables involved in vehicular accidents, and another coin toss and things could come out differently.

    For example, I survived a head-on while driving a 1974 Fiat X-1/9 and my opponent was a full-sized Ford pickup truck (This happened on a two-way freeway access road, and the sun was setting in my face, so I never even saw him). Combined closing velocity was about 70-80 MPH.

    Somehow, miraculously, when I came to rest, I was sitting sideways across the seats with my legs in the passenger seat. Not a scratch. I had a bruised forehead from hitting the windshield, but otherwise I was fine. There was NO CAR beyond the steering wheel, and the pickup’s front license plate was right where the car ended, well within arms reach. My legs should have been crushed, at least. Now, does this attest to the safety of 1974 Fiat X-1/9′s? No, and neither does your brush with luck. Oh, the guy in the truck was able to drive away, while they had to sweep the Fiat off the street.

    I’ve ridden motorcycles for over 30 years and have well over 100K touring miles under my belt, so I’m not averse to taking risks when I travel (And I currently own a Beemer), but today I drive a RAM 1500 QuadCab 4×4 pickup truck, and part of the reason is because it is NOT weighed down by all the federally mandated safety features that cars are. The other reason is because in vehicular collisions, mass and momentum are the biggest factors. I want those factors on my side unless I’m on two wheels, then I ride like I’m invisible and every cage is actively trying to kill me.

  • _Jon

    I’m glad you’re ok and I agree the car protected you well.

    However, I need to add my voice to the chorus with regard to an object in motion hitting a stationary object. The energy must go somewhere. Mid-sized and large vehicles will absorb more of the energy. It is basic physics and Newton’s laws will not be denied.

    My concern is the group of people who believe that different sized vehicles are the only concern. There are (and always will be) trees, poles, bridges, and other solid objects that will not absorb any energy in an impact. Even if bigger vehicles went away or were segregated, people still need to drive in areas where there will be solid objects at the roadside and there will slippery surfaces.

    Also, ask yourself this; When someone invents a technology that allows an F-150 to get the equivalent of 50 mpg or even 100, do you not believe that everyone who can will buy the biggest thing they can afford? (Answer: They bought huge SUV’s like mad when gas was $1/gal. They will again.)

    Again, I’m glad you fared well. I recommend Ibuprofen (not aspirin as it is a blood thinner and will cause more bruising) for the inevitable swelling. Also, start writing down details – multiple times – so that you don’t forget any of them. And get all of your personal stuff out the car before the yard scum pick over it.

  • _Jon

    I’m glad you’re ok and I agree the car protected you well.

    However, I need to add my voice to the chorus with regard to an object in motion hitting a stationary object. The energy must go somewhere. Mid-sized and large vehicles will absorb more of the energy. It is basic physics and Newton’s laws will not be denied.

    My concern is the group of people who believe that different sized vehicles are the only concern. There are (and always will be) trees, poles, bridges, and other solid objects that will not absorb any energy in an impact. Even if bigger vehicles went away or were segregated, people still need to drive in areas where there will be solid objects at the roadside and there will slippery surfaces.

    Also, ask yourself this; When someone invents a technology that allows an F-150 to get the equivalent of 50 mpg or even 100, do you not believe that everyone who can will buy the biggest thing they can afford? (Answer: They bought huge SUV’s like mad when gas was $1/gal. They will again.)

    Again, I’m glad you fared well. I recommend Ibuprofen (not aspirin as it is a blood thinner and will cause more bruising) for the inevitable swelling. Also, start writing down details – multiple times – so that you don’t forget any of them. And get all of your personal stuff out the car before the yard scum pick over it.

  • Harvard@Cal

    Why is it always “If it was hit by an SUV, therefore we need to make sure everyone is in a small car”. Umm, in case you did not notice, there is a class of vehicle that includes Peterbuilt, Freightliner, Mack, IH, etc. Exactly how you gonna get those off the road and make the world safe for SMART cars?

  • Harvard@Cal

    Why is it always “If it was hit by an SUV, therefore we need to make sure everyone is in a small car”. Umm, in case you did not notice, there is a class of vehicle that includes Peterbuilt, Freightliner, Mack, IH, etc. Exactly how you gonna get those off the road and make the world safe for SMART cars?

  • Leland

    For you to assume that I’m a bad driver because I crashed is, excuse me, asinine.

    Suffice it to say that just because only one car gets banged up in a wreck, it doesn’t mean that another car wasn’t involved.

    Nick, suffice it to say, but one crash is simply a demonstration that one could survive an accident. To make the next leap that ergo small cars are as safe as large cars is asinine.

    You survived an accident. Don’t get cocky. Indeed, just try to consider some people are less concerned about surviving an accident than avoiding an accident. You provided no evidence to suggest you couldn’t have avoided the accident better in a suburban when you failed to in a Yaris. I drive a small car, and I can think of numerous reasons its not safe, and I take that into account when I drive. I have no illusion that if I hit a 6′ barrier and rolled, that I would simply walk away.

  • Leland

    For you to assume that I’m a bad driver because I crashed is, excuse me, asinine.

    Suffice it to say that just because only one car gets banged up in a wreck, it doesn’t mean that another car wasn’t involved.

    Nick, suffice it to say, but one crash is simply a demonstration that one could survive an accident. To make the next leap that ergo small cars are as safe as large cars is asinine.

    You survived an accident. Don’t get cocky. Indeed, just try to consider some people are less concerned about surviving an accident than avoiding an accident. You provided no evidence to suggest you couldn’t have avoided the accident better in a suburban when you failed to in a Yaris. I drive a small car, and I can think of numerous reasons its not safe, and I take that into account when I drive. I have no illusion that if I hit a 6′ barrier and rolled, that I would simply walk away.

  • Ben

    The story Jon linked to (Comment #1) is one of the biggest pieces of crap I have ever read. I do not dispute the idea that SUVs are not as safe as advertised, or that “active” safety is just as important as “passive” safety. But in his desperation to show how much safer cars are, the author compares perhaps the clumsiest SUV ever made — the Chevy Trailblazer — not to a regular passenger car like the Camry, but to a freakin’ Porsche Boxster! Yeah, my Accord handles just like a Porsche, just as I am sure Nick’s Yaris used to.

    If that weren’t bad enough, the plethora of unsourced assertions, pseudo-psychoanalytical B.S., and plain snideness in this article demonstrates that it is more propaganda than straight reporting. And that’s the problem with a lot of this “green” pablum — facts go out the window in furtherance of “the cause.” It reminds me of Christian fundamentalist defenses of “intelligent design” theory.

  • Ben

    The story Jon linked to (Comment #1) is one of the biggest pieces of crap I have ever read. I do not dispute the idea that SUVs are not as safe as advertised, or that “active” safety is just as important as “passive” safety. But in his desperation to show how much safer cars are, the author compares perhaps the clumsiest SUV ever made — the Chevy Trailblazer — not to a regular passenger car like the Camry, but to a freakin’ Porsche Boxster! Yeah, my Accord handles just like a Porsche, just as I am sure Nick’s Yaris used to.

    If that weren’t bad enough, the plethora of unsourced assertions, pseudo-psychoanalytical B.S., and plain snideness in this article demonstrates that it is more propaganda than straight reporting. And that’s the problem with a lot of this “green” pablum — facts go out the window in furtherance of “the cause.” It reminds me of Christian fundamentalist defenses of “intelligent design” theory.

  • Tim

    Having read through all these posts it’s obvious everyone has an opinion. So here’s mine…

    There are way too many variables in play in this particular wreck to make a blanket statement about the safety of small cars versus big cars/Suvs. In this particular incident you were very fortunate that the car did what it was designed to do. The fact that the car rolled several times was a factor in your survival since enormous amounts of energy was dissipated away from you. Had you hit an immovable object such as a solid barrier or a large tree instead of a dirt embankment, you may have had a much more tragic outcome. Had your car come to a sudden stop all that energy would have been transferred to you and your body would not tolerate it very well. It’s the same concept that has led to safer barrier walls at racetracks.

    With any wreck there is always going to be an element of luck. A matter of inches one way or another. I would much rather take my chances by having my car roll multiple times than having it come to a sudden stop by hitting an immovable object. Of course it is much better to avoid the wreck to start with and that leads to an entirely different conversation. Glad you are ok.

  • Tim

    Having read through all these posts it’s obvious everyone has an opinion. So here’s mine…

    There are way too many variables in play in this particular wreck to make a blanket statement about the safety of small cars versus big cars/Suvs. In this particular incident you were very fortunate that the car did what it was designed to do. The fact that the car rolled several times was a factor in your survival since enormous amounts of energy was dissipated away from you. Had you hit an immovable object such as a solid barrier or a large tree instead of a dirt embankment, you may have had a much more tragic outcome. Had your car come to a sudden stop all that energy would have been transferred to you and your body would not tolerate it very well. It’s the same concept that has led to safer barrier walls at racetracks.

    With any wreck there is always going to be an element of luck. A matter of inches one way or another. I would much rather take my chances by having my car roll multiple times than having it come to a sudden stop by hitting an immovable object. Of course it is much better to avoid the wreck to start with and that leads to an entirely different conversation. Glad you are ok.

  • cmanjohn

    Re: Your earlier comment…

    Your car was a quarter roll away from crushing you. I fix up cars as a hobby and I can’t express enough how lucky you are.

    I realize you hate SUV’s and your agenda is going to cloud your judgment in this situation, but I do implore you to take a step back and realize how lucky you got. In a safer car it wouldn’t have been so close.

    Everybody makes their own decisions in life, but for me safety will always trump mileage.

  • cmanjohn

    Re: Your earlier comment…

    Your car was a quarter roll away from crushing you. I fix up cars as a hobby and I can’t express enough how lucky you are.

    I realize you hate SUV’s and your agenda is going to cloud your judgment in this situation, but I do implore you to take a step back and realize how lucky you got. In a safer car it wouldn’t have been so close.

    Everybody makes their own decisions in life, but for me safety will always trump mileage.

  • Paul from Baltimore

    So we are now using anectdotal evidence to declare automobile safety ratings?

    I presume it’s the same sound scientific discovery process used in climate studies.

  • Paul from Baltimore

    So we are now using anectdotal evidence to declare automobile safety ratings?

    I presume it’s the same sound scientific discovery process used in climate studies.

  • http://www.thescioniq.com eric

    Wow Nick.

    So glad that you are OK, what an experience.

    eric

  • http://www.thescioniq.com eric

    Wow Nick.

    So glad that you are OK, what an experience.

    eric

  • Nick Chambers

    Paul,

    Had to get your climate change dig in there, didn’t you?

    No anecdotal evidence was used in the safety rating of any car. My point, from the article:

    “Then try turning around and telling me that these upcoming small alternative cars aren’t safe simply because they’re small.”

  • Ben

    Regarding vehicle safety, I will add this two cents:

    So far, most people (including the author of the New Yorker article Jon linked to) want to compare heavy and cumbersome SUVs to light and nimble gas sippers. But why stick to the extremes? Until recently, I owned a 1994 Infiniti Q45. It was big and heavy, but had sporty handling that made the car drive like a much smaller vehicle. Other than some fishtailing on wet pavement due to its being rear-wheel drive, it handled much, much better than my Honda Accord. I would be willing to bet that a car like my Q45 would pass handling tests with ease, while still providing the bulk and size necessary to be safer in a collision. Thus, you get both active and passive safety in one vehicle. Shouldn’t that be the ideal? Unless, of course, “saving the planet” is your actual aim.

  • Nick Chambers

    Thanks eric :) And thanks to all who’ve wished me well,I really appreciate it.

  • Ben

    Regarding vehicle safety, I will add this two cents:

    So far, most people (including the author of the New Yorker article Jon linked to) want to compare heavy and cumbersome SUVs to light and nimble gas sippers. But why stick to the extremes? Until recently, I owned a 1994 Infiniti Q45. It was big and heavy, but had sporty handling that made the car drive like a much smaller vehicle. Other than some fishtailing on wet pavement due to its being rear-wheel drive, it handled much, much better than my Honda Accord. I would be willing to bet that a car like my Q45 would pass handling tests with ease, while still providing the bulk and size necessary to be safer in a collision. Thus, you get both active and passive safety in one vehicle. Shouldn’t that be the ideal? Unless, of course, “saving the planet” is your actual aim.

  • http://www.unfetteredblather.com Jason O

    First of all, glad you were safe.

    Second – Some small car thoughts.

    I drove a 98 Ford Escort for 10 years. I called it the rolling deathtrap. Horrible safety rating and was very happy to get my wife and kids out of it and use it as my commuter car after I found out.

    Although I didn’t buy the Yaris (I was sold on it but the sales staff bungled and pushed too hard to get me in a different car) I researched it. Better gas mileage than my Escort, which I also called “The Gas Sipper” and a better safety rating. Unfortunately, you had to find out first hand but at least it panned out for you.

    I ended up in a Suzuki Forenza. Also a better safety rating but if I recall correctly the Yaris still has a better safety rating for rear collisions! For those that don’t know the Forenza is considered a compact and is a little larger than a Corolla. I would expect it to be at least equal to the Yaris.

    Granted, I would not want to get into a head-on collision with a Suburban in anything smaller than a Mack truck, but what I always liked about the Escort and other smaller cars is that they were typically agile enough to avoid collisions. That is why I hate getting boxed in while driving, it takes away my one advantage.

  • http://www.unfetteredblather.com Jason O

    First of all, glad you were safe.

    Second – Some small car thoughts.

    I drove a 98 Ford Escort for 10 years. I called it the rolling deathtrap. Horrible safety rating and was very happy to get my wife and kids out of it and use it as my commuter car after I found out.

    Although I didn’t buy the Yaris (I was sold on it but the sales staff bungled and pushed too hard to get me in a different car) I researched it. Better gas mileage than my Escort, which I also called “The Gas Sipper” and a better safety rating. Unfortunately, you had to find out first hand but at least it panned out for you.

    I ended up in a Suzuki Forenza. Also a better safety rating but if I recall correctly the Yaris still has a better safety rating for rear collisions! For those that don’t know the Forenza is considered a compact and is a little larger than a Corolla. I would expect it to be at least equal to the Yaris.

    Granted, I would not want to get into a head-on collision with a Suburban in anything smaller than a Mack truck, but what I always liked about the Escort and other smaller cars is that they were typically agile enough to avoid collisions. That is why I hate getting boxed in while driving, it takes away my one advantage.

  • Nick Chambers

    Ben,

    I’ll probably get flamed for this from both sides, but I’m not actually an environmentalist to “save the planet.” I’m an environmentalist to preserve and sustain the environment to save our civilization. I happen to like being a human.

    The planet will continue to exist for billions of years — probably long after even the last remnants of our societies have faded into dust. Hence there’s no sense in saving the planet for the planet’s sake.

  • http://www.subcompactculture.com Andy Lilienthal

    I am very glad to hear you’re ok. As a Yaris owner, it’s good to see the car saved you. Amazing.

  • http://www.subcompactculture.com Andy Lilienthal

    I am very glad to hear you’re ok. As a Yaris owner, it’s good to see the car saved you. Amazing.

  • leron

    Nice illustration of the Crush Zone principle, and the “egg in the middle we don’t want to crush” principle, meaning you.

    You are lucky you were alone, though. In a smaller vehicle people bounce together more. Though you are right, I would trade that to avoid the additional rolls a 6,600-pound vehicle would have managed.

    I assume your airbag went off? Did you have side bags? I got a Prius because it had those. And because at 52 mpg, I could snort at. But I qwon’t because it would take away from saying, I’m glad you’re still alive, and get that neck looked at.

  • leron

    Nice illustration of the Crush Zone principle, and the “egg in the middle we don’t want to crush” principle, meaning you.

    You are lucky you were alone, though. In a smaller vehicle people bounce together more. Though you are right, I would trade that to avoid the additional rolls a 6,600-pound vehicle would have managed.

    I assume your airbag went off? Did you have side bags? I got a Prius because it had those. And because at 52 mpg, I could snort at. But I qwon’t because it would take away from saying, I’m glad you’re still alive, and get that neck looked at.

  • Jim

    I agree w/ what you wrote when it comes to single car accidents, however, have you ever crashed a tiny car into a large car?

    I was riding in a tiny 2 door coup and was T-boned by a Trailblazer. The SUV was probably only going 20 mph, but had our car been about 4 feet farther forward, there’s no doubt I’d be dead. Even at low speed the SUV destroyed the front of the car and already was on it’s way to being literally on top of our car. If that was the passenger section we’d be dead. I can’t even imagine what would have happened if the SUV was actually going at any speed.

  • Jim

    I agree w/ what you wrote when it comes to single car accidents, however, have you ever crashed a tiny car into a large car?

    I was riding in a tiny 2 door coup and was T-boned by a Trailblazer. The SUV was probably only going 20 mph, but had our car been about 4 feet farther forward, there’s no doubt I’d be dead. Even at low speed the SUV destroyed the front of the car and already was on it’s way to being literally on top of our car. If that was the passenger section we’d be dead. I can’t even imagine what would have happened if the SUV was actually going at any speed.

  • http://www.subcompactculture.com Andy Lilienthal

    I should add, I posted a link to this posting on my blog, http://www.subcompactculture.com, which is a blog about small cars. I’m in Oregon, too BTW. :-)

  • http://www.subcompactculture.com Andy Lilienthal

    I should add, I posted a link to this posting on my blog, http://www.subcompactculture.com, which is a blog about small cars. I’m in Oregon, too BTW. :-)

  • Steve D

    I was in a Geo Metro and was hit by an old midsized pickup truck. The rear driver side was destroyed – if the timing was off by a split second I would have ended up with at least a broken hip and probably severe head trauma and lots of other injuries. I would have been in the crumple zone. Now I drive an SUV – mileage isn’t great but the raw physics of a bigger, stronger structure it worth it.

  • Steve D

    I was in a Geo Metro and was hit by an old midsized pickup truck. The rear driver side was destroyed – if the timing was off by a split second I would have ended up with at least a broken hip and probably severe head trauma and lots of other injuries. I would have been in the crumple zone. Now I drive an SUV – mileage isn’t great but the raw physics of a bigger, stronger structure it worth it.

  • Tim Cleland

    Glad to hear you’re safe and sound, Nick.

    When I had my ’98 Chevy Metro Hatchback (avg. 52 mpg) I often wondered if I were crazy for “driving a deathtrap”. I also wondered, because of my car’s tiny size, to what extent it’s tiny collision cross-section (sorry, I’m a physicist) canceled out the danger due to decreased protective barrier and smaller mass.

    I, begrudgingly, sold the Metro last year because I didn’t want to put my kids in the rear seat. (I felt like they’d be sitting ducks for a rear-end collision…of which I’d been the no fault recipient twice now in the past 4 years, thankfully in my wife’s Chevy Impala…both times with kids in the back).

    I replaced the Metro with a 2004 Pontiac Grand Am SE 5-spd manual which got 37-38 mpg consistently and felt much safer for the kids.

  • Tim Cleland

    Glad to hear you’re safe and sound, Nick.

    When I had my ’98 Chevy Metro Hatchback (avg. 52 mpg) I often wondered if I were crazy for “driving a deathtrap”. I also wondered, because of my car’s tiny size, to what extent it’s tiny collision cross-section (sorry, I’m a physicist) canceled out the danger due to decreased protective barrier and smaller mass.

    I, begrudgingly, sold the Metro last year because I didn’t want to put my kids in the rear seat. (I felt like they’d be sitting ducks for a rear-end collision…of which I’d been the no fault recipient twice now in the past 4 years, thankfully in my wife’s Chevy Impala…both times with kids in the back).

    I replaced the Metro with a 2004 Pontiac Grand Am SE 5-spd manual which got 37-38 mpg consistently and felt much safer for the kids.

  • Chris

    Modern cars that can take the force of any impact and distribute it evenly into and and around the frame while keeping the occupant in a bubble of airbags is going to be much much safer than a heavier vehicle that does not distribute the force of the impact. A modern car will literally eat an older car, using it as an external crumple zone.

    But if you have 2 modern cars, one large and one small (say Volvo XC90 vs Yaris) I can’t say the Yaris would do as well.

  • Chris

    Modern cars that can take the force of any impact and distribute it evenly into and and around the frame while keeping the occupant in a bubble of airbags is going to be much much safer than a heavier vehicle that does not distribute the force of the impact. A modern car will literally eat an older car, using it as an external crumple zone.

    But if you have 2 modern cars, one large and one small (say Volvo XC90 vs Yaris) I can’t say the Yaris would do as well.

  • Tim Cleland

    Nick,

    Just curious, are you going to get another Yaris or opt for another car?

    -Tim

  • Tim Cleland

    Nick,

    Just curious, are you going to get another Yaris or opt for another car?

    -Tim

  • PapayaSF

    Nick, from your description you likely have a whiplash injury, and it will probably get worse before it gets better. Please see a medical professional about it soon and be careful with your neck (no straining or sudden moves, always try for good posture, etc.).

    I say this not as a doctor but as someone who was once in a freeway accident in which my car was hit, spun around three times, and stopped by a guard rail. I had only a sore neck at first, but it got worse and worse for days. It still bothers me at times, 25 years later. I’m glad you made it out in one pice, but just wanted to warn you that you may still have a significant injury.

  • PapayaSF

    Nick, from your description you likely have a whiplash injury, and it will probably get worse before it gets better. Please see a medical professional about it soon and be careful with your neck (no straining or sudden moves, always try for good posture, etc.).

    I say this not as a doctor but as someone who was once in a freeway accident in which my car was hit, spun around three times, and stopped by a guard rail. I had only a sore neck at first, but it got worse and worse for days. It still bothers me at times, 25 years later. I’m glad you made it out in one pice, but just wanted to warn you that you may still have a significant injury.

  • Nick Chambers

    Tim,

    That’s a good question. I haven’t decided yet. I’ll let you know in another post perhaps :)

  • Moptop

    Forget about a Suburban, what about a light pole? Sorry, not buying it.

  • Moptop

    Forget about a Suburban, what about a light pole? Sorry, not buying it.

  • Eli

    I think you lack a basic understanding of physics.

    Just because your little car did ok in a single-vehicle accident does not mean that all little cars will do well in all accidents. If you had been driving something with a longer wheelbase you might not have been in the accident at all.

  • Eli

    I think you lack a basic understanding of physics.

    Just because your little car did ok in a single-vehicle accident does not mean that all little cars will do well in all accidents. If you had been driving something with a longer wheelbase you might not have been in the accident at all.

  • http://gideonstyle.blogspot.com Gideon

    I agree, a smaller car is safer simply due to the fact that it is lighter and the impact of a flip has less weight to impact on itself. It will also cause less damage if you hit an object since there is not as much force being thrown into what you are hitting. The only case where there are unsafe is when a bigger vehicle hits you, which is the case in America because everyone drives inefficient huge trucks and suv’s for daily drivers. When they do not need a vehicle of that size except for when they are towing something large. However driving a large vehicle like that obviously will have more impact on the driver due to the weight you are trying to control. I personally drive a civic and feel perfectly safe driving it, and have modified suspension to allow me to swerve easily from any obstacle that may come unexpectily. This also makes it easy to control at higher speed where in a truck I would have the fear flipping if a slide ever occurred.

  • http://gideonstyle.blogspot.com Gideon

    I agree, a smaller car is safer simply due to the fact that it is lighter and the impact of a flip has less weight to impact on itself. It will also cause less damage if you hit an object since there is not as much force being thrown into what you are hitting. The only case where there are unsafe is when a bigger vehicle hits you, which is the case in America because everyone drives inefficient huge trucks and suv’s for daily drivers. When they do not need a vehicle of that size except for when they are towing something large. However driving a large vehicle like that obviously will have more impact on the driver due to the weight you are trying to control. I personally drive a civic and feel perfectly safe driving it, and have modified suspension to allow me to swerve easily from any obstacle that may come unexpectily. This also makes it easy to control at higher speed where in a truck I would have the fear flipping if a slide ever occurred.

  • http://www.glo-con.com Martina Rathgens

    true , seems to be a real miracle that you walked out of that wreck with minor injuries and were even able to write your interesting article .

    On the other hand I agree with what you say . Modern small cars have not only been developed to use the least possible amount of gasoline , but also according to highest security standards . In Europe most of the people started driving small cars , because it is just too expensive to drive huge cars ,which often use 4-5 gallons of fuel / 100 km and pollute air unnecessarily . Because of this massive trend car producers changed their strategy and are producing tiny cars , which are save and use little fuel .

    Even Audi managed to reduce the consumption of their big Audi A8 to under 8 liters ( a bit more than 2 gallons / 100 km , makes me think … why wasn´t that possible already many years ago ?

  • http://www.glo-con.com Martina Rathgens

    true , seems to be a real miracle that you walked out of that wreck with minor injuries and were even able to write your interesting article .

    On the other hand I agree with what you say . Modern small cars have not only been developed to use the least possible amount of gasoline , but also according to highest security standards . In Europe most of the people started driving small cars , because it is just too expensive to drive huge cars ,which often use 4-5 gallons of fuel / 100 km and pollute air unnecessarily . Because of this massive trend car producers changed their strategy and are producing tiny cars , which are save and use little fuel .

    Even Audi managed to reduce the consumption of their big Audi A8 to under 8 liters ( a bit more than 2 gallons / 100 km , makes me think … why wasn´t that possible already many years ago ?

  • Jef

    Yes, it’s a matter of engineering, but you rolled 3 times. Rolling in most cars dissipates energy enough to make a crash survivable. The most spectacular NASCAR crashes are the ones where the car rolls 398 times down the backstretch. Accidents where the car stops suddenly are the ones that cause injury and death, like Dale Ernhardt’s. Regardless, I think you’re a cunt and am disappointed you are now even more smug than ever before about driving a pansy little fuel-efficient car. Crash into a wall and stop suddenly. My Escalade has crumple zones and it’s big enough that the crumple zones are effective. Your car has no crumple zones….small cars are deathtraps and I’m happy you think opposite because when you wreck again, I hope you won’t be so lucky.

  • Jef

    Yes, it’s a matter of engineering, but you rolled 3 times. Rolling in most cars dissipates energy enough to make a crash survivable. The most spectacular NASCAR crashes are the ones where the car rolls 398 times down the backstretch. Accidents where the car stops suddenly are the ones that cause injury and death, like Dale Ernhardt’s. Regardless, I think you’re a cunt and am disappointed you are now even more smug than ever before about driving a pansy little fuel-efficient car. Crash into a wall and stop suddenly. My Escalade has crumple zones and it’s big enough that the crumple zones are effective. Your car has no crumple zones….small cars are deathtraps and I’m happy you think opposite because when you wreck again, I hope you won’t be so lucky.

  • John

    The fact that you were not more seriously injured does not mean you would have been less safe in a larger vehicle. With more weight and a larger wheelbase, an SUV may not have rolled at all.

    I’m glad you were not injured but this is not evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, that smaller, flimsier vehicles are more safe.

  • John

    The fact that you were not more seriously injured does not mean you would have been less safe in a larger vehicle. With more weight and a larger wheelbase, an SUV may not have rolled at all.

    I’m glad you were not injured but this is not evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, that smaller, flimsier vehicles are more safe.

  • Joe

    Well, you hit dirt, thank God for that.

    Now had you hit something solid, you’d be praying for that suburban. Or, have something solid (like a Suburban) hit you with the same force, your car, and likely you, would be toast.

    Learn a little about physics and energy dissipation before you write. The fact that your car rolled helped tremendously.

  • Joe

    Well, you hit dirt, thank God for that.

    Now had you hit something solid, you’d be praying for that suburban. Or, have something solid (like a Suburban) hit you with the same force, your car, and likely you, would be toast.

    Learn a little about physics and energy dissipation before you write. The fact that your car rolled helped tremendously.

  • joe

    who cares!

  • damien

    Ok i’ll get my Tundra you get your Yaris and we will plow into each other and see who wins, i’ve always wanted to smash into a smart car

  • joe

    who cares!

  • damien

    Ok i’ll get my Tundra you get your Yaris and we will plow into each other and see who wins, i’ve always wanted to smash into a smart car

  • Sam

    So are you buying another Yaris or are you looking for something different?

  • Sam

    So are you buying another Yaris or are you looking for something different?

  • Tony

    About a year and a half ago, I had been side swiped by a 21 year old girl who made an illegal left hand turn in front of me while I was driving my smart car. Her car, a 2007 (two week old at the time) Toyota Camry, was totaled while mine fared much better. All precautions were taken and I was checked out with just bruised ribs. That’s it. My insurance company wanted to get the car fixed but after a week and a half, I convinced them to replace the car. So, yes, I did get another diesel model smart car and tell everyone who thinks that it is a “death trap” that I’m living proof that that car saved my life. I knew it was rock solid when I checked out “smart car crash test” videos on YouTube…

  • Tony

    About a year and a half ago, I had been side swiped by a 21 year old girl who made an illegal left hand turn in front of me while I was driving my smart car. Her car, a 2007 (two week old at the time) Toyota Camry, was totaled while mine fared much better. All precautions were taken and I was checked out with just bruised ribs. That’s it. My insurance company wanted to get the car fixed but after a week and a half, I convinced them to replace the car. So, yes, I did get another diesel model smart car and tell everyone who thinks that it is a “death trap” that I’m living proof that that car saved my life. I knew it was rock solid when I checked out “smart car crash test” videos on YouTube…

  • Sarge

    I wish more people would study some physics before the opine about things that require an understanding of the physics of motion.

    “Imagine how many times I would have flipped in the Suburban and the force of impact that would have come along with crashing an 8600 pound car?”

    Based on this logic, a military tank driver experiences more “force of impact” crashing thru a block wall than would your Yaris. This is obviously not correct; an M1 tank will survive crashing head on into (through) a cinderblock wall at 40mph with virtually no damage, whereas your Yaris, and you, would have been obliterated.

    Force felt by the driver of a vehicle in a crash depends upon the accelerations the crash imparts to the vehicle, and to the driver. This is determined by the ability of the struck object to slow or deflect the force of the moving vehicle, which, by basic laws of motion, is higher for a heavy vehicle.

    It’s the RATE OF CHANGE in energy that does the damage. And a heavy object resists velocity cheange more than does a lighter one – - see “Newton.”

    A heavy vehicle hitting the same object at the same speed will have it’s velocity changed less than would a lighter vehicle – - and thus experiences less, not more, acceleration.

    A heavier vehicle would have experienced less acceleration (change in velocity vector), and so would have you.

    If you’re properly strapped into the surburbscalader, you’re safer. Both from intrusion injuries, and from acceleration injuries.

    Stick to opining about subjects you understand, please; you are misinforming people.

    Oh, and by the way: how did that dirt embankment suddenly end up in front of your Yaris, at highway sppeds, anyway?

  • Sarge

    I wish more people would study some physics before the opine about things that require an understanding of the physics of motion.

    “Imagine how many times I would have flipped in the Suburban and the force of impact that would have come along with crashing an 8600 pound car?”

    Based on this logic, a military tank driver experiences more “force of impact” crashing thru a block wall than would your Yaris. This is obviously not correct; an M1 tank will survive crashing head on into (through) a cinderblock wall at 40mph with virtually no damage, whereas your Yaris, and you, would have been obliterated.

    Force felt by the driver of a vehicle in a crash depends upon the accelerations the crash imparts to the vehicle, and to the driver. This is determined by the ability of the struck object to slow or deflect the force of the moving vehicle, which, by basic laws of motion, is higher for a heavy vehicle.

    It’s the RATE OF CHANGE in energy that does the damage. And a heavy object resists velocity cheange more than does a lighter one – - see “Newton.”

    A heavy vehicle hitting the same object at the same speed will have it’s velocity changed less than would a lighter vehicle – - and thus experiences less, not more, acceleration.

    A heavier vehicle would have experienced less acceleration (change in velocity vector), and so would have you.

    If you’re properly strapped into the surburbscalader, you’re safer. Both from intrusion injuries, and from acceleration injuries.

    Stick to opining about subjects you understand, please; you are misinforming people.

    Oh, and by the way: how did that dirt embankment suddenly end up in front of your Yaris, at highway sppeds, anyway?

  • Nick Chambers

    Sarge,

    A tank is on a completely different level. Could you get a tank up to 67 mph? The tank has treads, not wheels and a MUCH lower center of gravity. It’s completely incomparable to a passenger car or truck. Large trucks, relative to their weight, have much less contact with the pavement in terms of area of tire always in contact with the road when compared to small cars. They also have a much higher center of gravity = easier to flip.

  • b

    but just look at how you’re referring to it – a miracle – i’m leery of expecting divine intervention to make up for the lack of design engineering, esp. when it comes to a small family.

    how would another family – i.e. mom, dod, baby have fared in this event?

  • b

    but just look at how you’re referring to it – a miracle – i’m leery of expecting divine intervention to make up for the lack of design engineering, esp. when it comes to a small family.

    how would another family – i.e. mom, dod, baby have fared in this event?

  • Nick Chambers

    b,

    I use the word miracle in an a-religious fashion. Hence, at the end, I call Toyota’s engineers “miracle workers.” I don’t really believe that an angel swooped down and saved me. I do know that I was lucky, and like other posters have pointed out, luck is a significant part of surviving any serious crash. But I also think that most of the reason I’m alive is because of the tremendous engineering of this small vehicle.

  • Sergei

    Hey Nick, glad you’re still with us, mortals :)

  • Sergei

    Hey Nick, glad you’re still with us, mortals :)

  • Sarge

    Nick wrote:

    “I also want to say that I believe in karma, and think that what goes around comes around.”

    If you truly believe in karma, then you must admit that the type of car you drove had absolutely no impact on whether or not you survived.

    You may only pick one.

  • Sarge

    Nick wrote:

    “I also want to say that I believe in karma, and think that what goes around comes around.”

    If you truly believe in karma, then you must admit that the type of car you drove had absolutely no impact on whether or not you survived.

    You may only pick one.

  • Nick Chambers

    Sarge,

    Mr. literalist can’t comprehend abstract concepts, can he? Go somewhere else and hump another dog okay?

  • Rory

    Hi Nick,

    Was this on I5 northbound just after Albany early Monday morning? I’m pretty sure it was, since the image of your car got burned into my retinas. If that was you I’m so glad you’re ok. The scene was shocking, but I though I saw you on ground ok talking with someone. I was just amazed… I couldn’t get it out of my head all day that you could roll the car so spectacularly and be able to sit and talk. If we ever bump into each other on campus or around town, your drink of choice is on me…

  • Rory

    Hi Nick,

    Was this on I5 northbound just after Albany early Monday morning? I’m pretty sure it was, since the image of your car got burned into my retinas. If that was you I’m so glad you’re ok. The scene was shocking, but I though I saw you on ground ok talking with someone. I was just amazed… I couldn’t get it out of my head all day that you could roll the car so spectacularly and be able to sit and talk. If we ever bump into each other on campus or around town, your drink of choice is on me…

  • Nick Chambers

    Rory,

    Thanks for your thoughts. That was me and my car. I was actually trying to imagine what it must have looked like to the passers-by. And thanks for the offer.

  • Dexter

    I was glad to read the numerous replies about a small car vs. a large beast. I would love to drive my two kids around in a small energy efficient car but the smallest I’m willing to go is a minivan until the majority of these ridiculously huge vehicles decrease in number on the roads. What is it that makes us Americans think we deserve to commute everyday in such ridiculously large energy hogging vehicles? I’m glad to see the high cost of gas for that very reason.

  • Dexter

    I was glad to read the numerous replies about a small car vs. a large beast. I would love to drive my two kids around in a small energy efficient car but the smallest I’m willing to go is a minivan until the majority of these ridiculously huge vehicles decrease in number on the roads. What is it that makes us Americans think we deserve to commute everyday in such ridiculously large energy hogging vehicles? I’m glad to see the high cost of gas for that very reason.

  • Dan

    Old heavy vs new tiny:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1897765951498046612

    However, a head on when bumpers don’t align = death for small car.

    I’m glad your alright dude, crashes are scary.

  • Dan

    Old heavy vs new tiny:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1897765951498046612

    However, a head on when bumpers don’t align = death for small car.

    I’m glad your alright dude, crashes are scary.

  • Hazy

    It’s tough to say whether a suburban would’ve done better in your accident or not. You’d need to crash one in a similar nature with a crash test dummy to see what would happen to the driver.

    However I think it’s a good thing to reduce the weight of cars so it’s safer for everyone around you, just in case you do hit something.

  • Hazy

    It’s tough to say whether a suburban would’ve done better in your accident or not. You’d need to crash one in a similar nature with a crash test dummy to see what would happen to the driver.

    However I think it’s a good thing to reduce the weight of cars so it’s safer for everyone around you, just in case you do hit something.

  • SmartVictim

    Hmmm… looking at the pics I would expect to survive that in pretty much ANY modern car. Rolling is not being hit by a SUV from the front/side/back at highway speeds… it’s not head on into a wall or large/normal vehicle at highway speeds, etc. Try that in your econobox and if you are able to ever speak again I will be surprised.

    And, having been in a Smart in NYC when it got hit by a bus donig less than 30mph… not thank you EVER on a car that or nearly that small on the highway. I’m lucky to be alive and I will NEVER buy anything smaller than a well designed and highly rated mid-sized sedan EVER again. My GF at the time… she would tell you, but she is dead. From a 30mph side impact. Dead.

  • SmartVictim

    Hmmm… looking at the pics I would expect to survive that in pretty much ANY modern car. Rolling is not being hit by a SUV from the front/side/back at highway speeds… it’s not head on into a wall or large/normal vehicle at highway speeds, etc. Try that in your econobox and if you are able to ever speak again I will be surprised.

    And, having been in a Smart in NYC when it got hit by a bus donig less than 30mph… not thank you EVER on a car that or nearly that small on the highway. I’m lucky to be alive and I will NEVER buy anything smaller than a well designed and highly rated mid-sized sedan EVER again. My GF at the time… she would tell you, but she is dead. From a 30mph side impact. Dead.

  • Ian

    This is true, My Father hit a large rock and flipped his Honda Fit 2 times. Had some bumps and bruises and a compression fracture from the seatbelt that’s it. Safe car

  • Ian

    This is true, My Father hit a large rock and flipped his Honda Fit 2 times. Had some bumps and bruises and a compression fracture from the seatbelt that’s it. Safe car

  • Grant Robertson

    Dude, have your pituitary function checked once a month for about a year. Whiplash often causes pituitary damage that goes undetected till well after the time when you can file an insurance claim. A damaged pituitary will cause muscle deterioration and fibromialgia. Better safe than sorry.

  • Grant Robertson

    Dude, have your pituitary function checked once a month for about a year. Whiplash often causes pituitary damage that goes undetected till well after the time when you can file an insurance claim. A damaged pituitary will cause muscle deterioration and fibromialgia. Better safe than sorry.

  • Bruce

    My daughter was driving home at night and got dead on t-boned by a large suburban assault vehicle doing 30 mph. The VW beetle she was driving was “pushed” 30 feet into a telephone pole. After a bit of kicking on the door, she walked away without a scratch. Say what you want, but that car seemed to be built like a F1 cockpit. Outside literally destroyed, interior was intruded upon around 5″. I would buy another one in a heartbeat.

  • Bruce

    My daughter was driving home at night and got dead on t-boned by a large suburban assault vehicle doing 30 mph. The VW beetle she was driving was “pushed” 30 feet into a telephone pole. After a bit of kicking on the door, she walked away without a scratch. Say what you want, but that car seemed to be built like a F1 cockpit. Outside literally destroyed, interior was intruded upon around 5″. I would buy another one in a heartbeat.

  • Mike the Bike

    I can dig it. I got tagged in an intersection by a Buick station wagon a few years ago & I was driving a P501 Piaggio three-wheeled delivery van — one of those little Italian Vespacar jobs powered by a 200cc Vespa engine — and that little sucker bounced down the road like an empty Budweiser can with me in it and then rolled up onto a lawn. I’ll bet it was funny from the outside !!! The paint was barely scratched. I am sure glad I wasn’t in a pickup truck.

  • Mike the Bike

    I can dig it. I got tagged in an intersection by a Buick station wagon a few years ago & I was driving a P501 Piaggio three-wheeled delivery van — one of those little Italian Vespacar jobs powered by a 200cc Vespa engine — and that little sucker bounced down the road like an empty Budweiser can with me in it and then rolled up onto a lawn. I’ll bet it was funny from the outside !!! The paint was barely scratched. I am sure glad I wasn’t in a pickup truck.

  • nick

    Yeah, well, try that in a kia.

    Toyota’s are safe, the rio…not so much.

  • nick

    Yeah, well, try that in a kia.

    Toyota’s are safe, the rio…not so much.

  • Matt

    To the people that say about MACK Trucks being dangerous to other cars on the road. MACK Trucks have the safest drivers driving them. I personally hate driving beside 18 wheelers or MACH Truch just because their size intimidates me while I am driving my 1994 Chevy Corsica. The reason why most MACK Truck drivers are safe is because that is their job. They drive hours upon hours everyday and go through some vigerous training to be able to drive for a company.

    Also all accidents are caused by someone messing up. Whether talking on a cell phrone, being extremely tired, or driving too fast for conditions (ice, snow, wet roads, etc.). In head on collissions the bigger vehicle will always win its common sense. On the other hand they make very few modern cars that can’t withstand roll overs or single car crashes.

  • Matt

    To the people that say about MACK Trucks being dangerous to other cars on the road. MACK Trucks have the safest drivers driving them. I personally hate driving beside 18 wheelers or MACH Truch just because their size intimidates me while I am driving my 1994 Chevy Corsica. The reason why most MACK Truck drivers are safe is because that is their job. They drive hours upon hours everyday and go through some vigerous training to be able to drive for a company.

    Also all accidents are caused by someone messing up. Whether talking on a cell phrone, being extremely tired, or driving too fast for conditions (ice, snow, wet roads, etc.). In head on collissions the bigger vehicle will always win its common sense. On the other hand they make very few modern cars that can’t withstand roll overs or single car crashes.

  • Parker

    Glad you are ok…

    As I’ve stated in other blogs, don’t give undo credit to Toyota. The Yaris, according to both Euro and U.S. saftey standards is not that good. It’s 3 star rated for side collisions and 4 star for front collisions. It is bested by almost every other car in its class (including the Chevy Aveo). So, Toyota’s engineers are far from the “Miracle Workers” you are making them out to be.

  • Parker

    Glad you are ok…

    As I’ve stated in other blogs, don’t give undo credit to Toyota. The Yaris, according to both Euro and U.S. saftey standards is not that good. It’s 3 star rated for side collisions and 4 star for front collisions. It is bested by almost every other car in its class (including the Chevy Aveo). So, Toyota’s engineers are far from the “Miracle Workers” you are making them out to be.

  • prosper

    lol, a suburban is NOT 8600lbs. That’s the max GVWR (maximum vehicle + cargo capacity). The vehicle itself would be in the 5000lb range.

    Personally I drive a Grand Cherokee. I get a little less than half the mileage you get, but so what? A yaris would NOT be suitable for my lifestyle; I pull dozens of small FWD cars up icy hills and out of ditches every year around here. And when you spend a significant portion of your miles either hauling lots of stuff or towing a trailer – or locked into 4WD due to last night’s 12″ of snow – there’s really no other option.

    And – because I usually work from home and ride a motorbike on the morning commute – I probably burn a lot less gas every year than most, despite driving a 4500lb SUV as my main four-wheeled transportation.

    Not that it matters, because I can’t even get in to most compact (or even mid sized) cars with my 6’7″ frame…

  • prosper

    lol, a suburban is NOT 8600lbs. That’s the max GVWR (maximum vehicle + cargo capacity). The vehicle itself would be in the 5000lb range.

    Personally I drive a Grand Cherokee. I get a little less than half the mileage you get, but so what? A yaris would NOT be suitable for my lifestyle; I pull dozens of small FWD cars up icy hills and out of ditches every year around here. And when you spend a significant portion of your miles either hauling lots of stuff or towing a trailer – or locked into 4WD due to last night’s 12″ of snow – there’s really no other option.

    And – because I usually work from home and ride a motorbike on the morning commute – I probably burn a lot less gas every year than most, despite driving a 4500lb SUV as my main four-wheeled transportation.

    Not that it matters, because I can’t even get in to most compact (or even mid sized) cars with my 6’7″ frame…

  • Will

    Glad you are ok. I think the main concern, however, when calling those small cars ‘death traps’ is that you may get sandwiched between guard rails and an 18 wheeler, or two hummers. In that situation I don’t think the outcome would be as ‘happy’ as rolling your car.

  • Will

    Glad you are ok. I think the main concern, however, when calling those small cars ‘death traps’ is that you may get sandwiched between guard rails and an 18 wheeler, or two hummers. In that situation I don’t think the outcome would be as ‘happy’ as rolling your car.

  • Tim

    thats good to know, i just bought an 07 yaris and was curious about safety

  • Tim

    thats good to know, i just bought an 07 yaris and was curious about safety

  • Mark

    >>my only concern is a small car like the Yaris hitting a large vehicle like a suburban. on a head-on colition i would venture to say that the larger vehicle will do better than the smaller one… any thoughts???

    I had just purchased my Yaris in July 2006, and was dring down a country road in rural Missouri, where I am a pastor. Topping a hill, my wife (who was a passenger) and I met a Dodge Ram 3500 (honkin’ big diesel truck) in my lane, going about 70 mph. I swerved hard, but alas, my intrepid driving skills and amazingly fast reflexes were no match for the 3.5-ton beast baring down on us, and the little Yaris took the full impact. We were knocked sideways around 200 feet and came to rest in a ditch. Both of us unbuckled our seat belts, opened our doors, and walked away. The only injury is a ringing in my left ear. Guess what we drive now? Yup. A Yaris. 40+ mpg on the highway, and a life saver to boot. Even against a massive farm truck. I bet if I had been in my Isuzu Trooper, we would not have been nearly so fortunate.

    Just my experience…

  • Mark

    >>my only concern is a small car like the Yaris hitting a large vehicle like a suburban. on a head-on colition i would venture to say that the larger vehicle will do better than the smaller one… any thoughts???

    I had just purchased my Yaris in July 2006, and was dring down a country road in rural Missouri, where I am a pastor. Topping a hill, my wife (who was a passenger) and I met a Dodge Ram 3500 (honkin’ big diesel truck) in my lane, going about 70 mph. I swerved hard, but alas, my intrepid driving skills and amazingly fast reflexes were no match for the 3.5-ton beast baring down on us, and the little Yaris took the full impact. We were knocked sideways around 200 feet and came to rest in a ditch. Both of us unbuckled our seat belts, opened our doors, and walked away. The only injury is a ringing in my left ear. Guess what we drive now? Yup. A Yaris. 40+ mpg on the highway, and a life saver to boot. Even against a massive farm truck. I bet if I had been in my Isuzu Trooper, we would not have been nearly so fortunate.

    Just my experience…

  • Sarge

    Nick wrote:

    “A tank is on a completely different level.”

    So is an SUV, or a pickup truck, compared to a Yaris.

    “Could you get a tank up to 67 mph?”

    Nearly, with the governor off… but that has nothing to do with the subject at hand. Even at 40mph (as I stated) the Yaris loses to the wall.

    “The tank has treads, not wheels and a MUCH lower center of gravity. It’s completely incomparable to a passenger car or truck.”

    Not when it comes to the concept of impact energy based on mass… which was your point in the first place, wasn’t it?

    “Large trucks, relative to their weight, have much less contact with the pavement in terms of area of tire always in contact with the road when compared to small cars.”

    Not necessarily true, nor relevant, as it is coefficient of friction and PSI loading in addition to the total contact patch, not just the contact patch, which determines traction. Which likewise has nothing to do with impact energy expended in a collision.

    “They also have a much higher center of gravity = easier to flip.”

    Only if all things were equal. But they are not; a truck has a higher CG, but it is also longer, wider, and thus presents a much longer moment arm that must be overcome to make it flip in the first place. SUVs are a special and bad case, becasuethey combine high CG with very soft suspensions compared to trucks… making them more likely to flip.

    But again, this has nothing to do with your impact energy argument. In which you are wholly wrong.

    Based on the evidence of your experience, a Yaris looks to be pretty easy to flip. Easy enough, in this case.

    Nick also wrote:

    “Mr. literalist can’t comprehend abstract concepts, can he? Go somewhere else and hump another dog okay?”

    You’re the one who professed faith in something – - apparently only so you could fire off a comeback at someone, rather than out of any actual truth. Don’t blame me if you’re not using the symbols right.

    Perhaps Mr. Abstract would be better off steering clear of subjects that have literal truths, such as physics?

    “Steering clear” used only in the metaphoical sense, of course.

  • Sarge

    Nick wrote:

    “A tank is on a completely different level.”

    So is an SUV, or a pickup truck, compared to a Yaris.

    “Could you get a tank up to 67 mph?”

    Nearly, with the governor off… but that has nothing to do with the subject at hand. Even at 40mph (as I stated) the Yaris loses to the wall.

    “The tank has treads, not wheels and a MUCH lower center of gravity. It’s completely incomparable to a passenger car or truck.”

    Not when it comes to the concept of impact energy based on mass… which was your point in the first place, wasn’t it?

    “Large trucks, relative to their weight, have much less contact with the pavement in terms of area of tire always in contact with the road when compared to small cars.”

    Not necessarily true, nor relevant, as it is coefficient of friction and PSI loading in addition to the total contact patch, not just the contact patch, which determines traction. Which likewise has nothing to do with impact energy expended in a collision.

    “They also have a much higher center of gravity = easier to flip.”

    Only if all things were equal. But they are not; a truck has a higher CG, but it is also longer, wider, and thus presents a much longer moment arm that must be overcome to make it flip in the first place. SUVs are a special and bad case, becasuethey combine high CG with very soft suspensions compared to trucks… making them more likely to flip.

    But again, this has nothing to do with your impact energy argument. In which you are wholly wrong.

    Based on the evidence of your experience, a Yaris looks to be pretty easy to flip. Easy enough, in this case.

    Nick also wrote:

    “Mr. literalist can’t comprehend abstract concepts, can he? Go somewhere else and hump another dog okay?”

    You’re the one who professed faith in something – - apparently only so you could fire off a comeback at someone, rather than out of any actual truth. Don’t blame me if you’re not using the symbols right.

    Perhaps Mr. Abstract would be better off steering clear of subjects that have literal truths, such as physics?

    “Steering clear” used only in the metaphoical sense, of course.

  • Joe (Not the Plumber)

    I agree that they are more safe than SUVs, but your stand alone case is not enough to prove that small cars are safe though. I’ll take a large, lower center-gravity car any day.

  • Joe (Not the Plumber)

    I agree that they are more safe than SUVs, but your stand alone case is not enough to prove that small cars are safe though. I’ll take a large, lower center-gravity car any day.

  • Mrs.H

    Funny to read your story today. I was in my (Toyota) Scion trying to vote yesterday on the first day of early voting in Texas. I got rear-ended at high speed by a teenager in a Ford X250 pick-up truck — he was texting at the time. He hit my Scion so hard that everyone in the voting line jumped, convinced it was a bomb. My low-to-the-ground Scion XB was pushed up over the sidewalk, and into concrete barriers installed after the Oklahoma City bombing, crumping the front and rear of my car. I, too, an sore, but my small car saved everyone in the car. The last time some idiot in a big pick-up truck hit me, my Volvo S-70 got sandwiched between a Dodge Ram doolie and a Ford Expedition. The Volvo was totaled. The estimate on damage to my Scion XB is $2900. So, while the Volvo cage also “held” and I’ve always thought Volvos were safer than smaller, lighter cars, the Scion’s cage “held” too. And the idiot teenager’s insurance company is going to get a bargain repairing my car — which is due to be traded in next week for a 2008 model of the same car.

  • Mrs.H

    Funny to read your story today. I was in my (Toyota) Scion trying to vote yesterday on the first day of early voting in Texas. I got rear-ended at high speed by a teenager in a Ford X250 pick-up truck — he was texting at the time. He hit my Scion so hard that everyone in the voting line jumped, convinced it was a bomb. My low-to-the-ground Scion XB was pushed up over the sidewalk, and into concrete barriers installed after the Oklahoma City bombing, crumping the front and rear of my car. I, too, an sore, but my small car saved everyone in the car. The last time some idiot in a big pick-up truck hit me, my Volvo S-70 got sandwiched between a Dodge Ram doolie and a Ford Expedition. The Volvo was totaled. The estimate on damage to my Scion XB is $2900. So, while the Volvo cage also “held” and I’ve always thought Volvos were safer than smaller, lighter cars, the Scion’s cage “held” too. And the idiot teenager’s insurance company is going to get a bargain repairing my car — which is due to be traded in next week for a 2008 model of the same car.

  • Ethan

    Good to know that you’re ok.

    The problem here is that the car was acting under it’s own force. It is a small car, yes, and that means it will not carry very much kinetic energy. That was more than likely your case.

    Imagine, though, if your Yaris had been hit by the suburban instead. That is what I feel a lot of consumers are fearing in the smaller cars. I certainly would rather be inside of a suburban in a collision with another car. The same cannot be said for the Yaris, however.

  • Ethan

    Good to know that you’re ok.

    The problem here is that the car was acting under it’s own force. It is a small car, yes, and that means it will not carry very much kinetic energy. That was more than likely your case.

    Imagine, though, if your Yaris had been hit by the suburban instead. That is what I feel a lot of consumers are fearing in the smaller cars. I certainly would rather be inside of a suburban in a collision with another car. The same cannot be said for the Yaris, however.

  • http://www.mindloop.be andy

    Glad you’re OK.

    But walking away from an accident like this doesn’t prove the safety of that car at all.

    I crashed a motorcycle at 90mph and ended up with just an ankle injury but you’ll never hear me claim that a motorcycle is a safe way of transportation.

  • http://www.mindloop.be andy

    Glad you’re OK.

    But walking away from an accident like this doesn’t prove the safety of that car at all.

    I crashed a motorcycle at 90mph and ended up with just an ankle injury but you’ll never hear me claim that a motorcycle is a safe way of transportation.

  • Spike

    What do you think would happen if you fell asleep at highway speed and ran into say, my 2 ton 1977 Dodge Conversion van head on? Do you actually think that you’ll have a chance in a car like that. My bumper is at your windshield level. What about a side swipe from a semi? Do you think you’d survive something like that in a small car like that? I know my buddy lived fine in his volvo when hit by a semi at around 60, but I doubt that little Yaris would even be recognizable as a car..

  • Spike

    What do you think would happen if you fell asleep at highway speed and ran into say, my 2 ton 1977 Dodge Conversion van head on? Do you actually think that you’ll have a chance in a car like that. My bumper is at your windshield level. What about a side swipe from a semi? Do you think you’d survive something like that in a small car like that? I know my buddy lived fine in his volvo when hit by a semi at around 60, but I doubt that little Yaris would even be recognizable as a car..

  • Rick C

    I’m really glad you survived, and I suspect that even if you’d hit a truck or something instead of an embankment you’d probably still have been OK. My concern with small cars is more relating to side impacts. Getting teeboned by, say, an F-350 is going to ruin your day because the bumper is so high up relative to where you’ll be sitting.

  • Rick C

    I’m really glad you survived, and I suspect that even if you’d hit a truck or something instead of an embankment you’d probably still have been OK. My concern with small cars is more relating to side impacts. Getting teeboned by, say, an F-350 is going to ruin your day because the bumper is so high up relative to where you’ll be sitting.

  • NickD

    I have to agree and say, the larger the car/truck doesn’t mean safety at all. I’ve survived without any serious injury to violently severe crashes in medium sized cars. I first rolled a 1989 Acura Legend sedan at 55mph along the highway 3 times, when it came to a rest a Ford F150 t-boned me right at the driver/rear passenger door. I walked away with some cuts and I banged me knees up. The second accident I was a passenger in a car that ran an intersection, a pick-up truck t-boned our car at 50mph. The momentum carried us through the intersection and crunched us between the pick-up truck and someones house. This was in an 2007 Toyota Camry. Side impact bags came out, the whole 9 yards. I walked away with my same bruised knee…

  • NickD

    I have to agree and say, the larger the car/truck doesn’t mean safety at all. I’ve survived without any serious injury to violently severe crashes in medium sized cars. I first rolled a 1989 Acura Legend sedan at 55mph along the highway 3 times, when it came to a rest a Ford F150 t-boned me right at the driver/rear passenger door. I walked away with some cuts and I banged me knees up. The second accident I was a passenger in a car that ran an intersection, a pick-up truck t-boned our car at 50mph. The momentum carried us through the intersection and crunched us between the pick-up truck and someones house. This was in an 2007 Toyota Camry. Side impact bags came out, the whole 9 yards. I walked away with my same bruised knee…

  • David

    The curb weight of a Suburban is 5743 pounds. The gross (max loaded) weight is 7400 pounds. No way does it weigh the claimed 8600 pounds. Safety is too important of an issue to spread any kind of misinformation.

    Some wreck are better in a small car – like hitting a fixed barrier. The Surburban would be crushed by its own weight. Pit a Yaris against a Suburban though, the Yaris will lose.

    For the record, I think the Yaris is a great car but I have to drive a truck for work.

  • David

    The curb weight of a Suburban is 5743 pounds. The gross (max loaded) weight is 7400 pounds. No way does it weigh the claimed 8600 pounds. Safety is too important of an issue to spread any kind of misinformation.

    Some wreck are better in a small car – like hitting a fixed barrier. The Surburban would be crushed by its own weight. Pit a Yaris against a Suburban though, the Yaris will lose.

    For the record, I think the Yaris is a great car but I have to drive a truck for work.

  • Max

    Bounced like a soccer ball, eh?

  • Max

    Bounced like a soccer ball, eh?

  • Somedude

    Ah yes, but WHY did you roll your car three times into an embankment, that would be the 100 dollar question. Perhaps a larger vehicle might not have rolled at all, or lost control.

    Every car is crash rated to survive up to 60 MPH, or it is pulled from the market. Just cause you made it through, doesn’t make your tiny car safe. It just makes you lucky. =p

  • Somedude

    Ah yes, but WHY did you roll your car three times into an embankment, that would be the 100 dollar question. Perhaps a larger vehicle might not have rolled at all, or lost control.

    Every car is crash rated to survive up to 60 MPH, or it is pulled from the market. Just cause you made it through, doesn’t make your tiny car safe. It just makes you lucky. =p

  • Theresa

    Also keep in mind that most all cars and SUVs have started to put many more safety components on the cars. Just 3 or 4 years ago, many of the smaller Toyotas did NOT have leg, side body or side head airbags. With continued research and testing, safety becomes better. But I do agree with the other posters… In a match between two vehicles, one being a large SUV or truck – the larger vehicle will win. and that doesn’t even begin to address commercial semi vehicles on the highways in CA and other states – Nothing is going to beat those.

    Glad you’re okay though!

  • Theresa

    Also keep in mind that most all cars and SUVs have started to put many more safety components on the cars. Just 3 or 4 years ago, many of the smaller Toyotas did NOT have leg, side body or side head airbags. With continued research and testing, safety becomes better. But I do agree with the other posters… In a match between two vehicles, one being a large SUV or truck – the larger vehicle will win. and that doesn’t even begin to address commercial semi vehicles on the highways in CA and other states – Nothing is going to beat those.

    Glad you’re okay though!

  • Carbon Buildup

    WHY HAVEN’T YOU CALLED THE OFFICE?

  • Carbon Buildup

    WHY HAVEN’T YOU CALLED THE OFFICE?

  • Jon

    Congrats on the survival! Looks like a pretty bad wreck. I generally agree with you that these smaller cars are pretty safe but there is no way around the laws of physics. So, one car rollovers are one thing but head on or side impact against anything heavier (which is most everything on the road these days) might end worse. Be careful, look both ways even on green and hope for the best.

  • Jon

    Congrats on the survival! Looks like a pretty bad wreck. I generally agree with you that these smaller cars are pretty safe but there is no way around the laws of physics. So, one car rollovers are one thing but head on or side impact against anything heavier (which is most everything on the road these days) might end worse. Be careful, look both ways even on green and hope for the best.

  • Carbon Buildup

    I was in an accident a few years ago where somebody in a Toyota Echo (the conventional version of the early Prius) pulled a U-turn in front of me. I was driving a Mazda B4000 4X4 pickup, and I hit the Echo in the driver side door at about 40mph. Yes that totaled the Echo, but the driver (who didn’t even see me until I hit the car!!!) only suffered facial lacerations and a bad case of shock. Police who responded were amazed that she didn’t at least break a shoulder. SO here’s another case where a little car held up, in this case held up to a collision with a mid-size pickup. Here’s adding the the data set!

  • Carbon Buildup

    I was in an accident a few years ago where somebody in a Toyota Echo (the conventional version of the early Prius) pulled a U-turn in front of me. I was driving a Mazda B4000 4X4 pickup, and I hit the Echo in the driver side door at about 40mph. Yes that totaled the Echo, but the driver (who didn’t even see me until I hit the car!!!) only suffered facial lacerations and a bad case of shock. Police who responded were amazed that she didn’t at least break a shoulder. SO here’s another case where a little car held up, in this case held up to a collision with a mid-size pickup. Here’s adding the the data set!

  • Ricardo

    Large Volvo vs a small renault modus

  • Ricardo

    Large Volvo vs a small renault modus

  • mzs

    The Yaris is a decently safe car, but in a roll most modern cars (ie not BOF trucks and since the updated roof standards of teh mid ’80s) do very well. In a roll much of the energy is dissipated during the rolls without impulse to the occupants. This Yaris looks pretty similar to how an early ’90s Escort and Caprice looked after roll over accidents. In both cases the drivers had similar injuries to you.

    I have driven a Yaris and have noticed that the rear end wants to come loose under hard braking. It is as if front to back braking is not balanced and the rear locks-up while the front dives. Did this performance characteristic have anything to do with you losing control and getting into the accident in the first place? The Honda Fit is a similar class of car and exhibited much better prowess and actual turning ability under heavy braking in my test drive. Because of this I would say the Fit is a much safer car for its ability in avoiding an accident.

  • mzs

    The Yaris is a decently safe car, but in a roll most modern cars (ie not BOF trucks and since the updated roof standards of teh mid ’80s) do very well. In a roll much of the energy is dissipated during the rolls without impulse to the occupants. This Yaris looks pretty similar to how an early ’90s Escort and Caprice looked after roll over accidents. In both cases the drivers had similar injuries to you.

    I have driven a Yaris and have noticed that the rear end wants to come loose under hard braking. It is as if front to back braking is not balanced and the rear locks-up while the front dives. Did this performance characteristic have anything to do with you losing control and getting into the accident in the first place? The Honda Fit is a similar class of car and exhibited much better prowess and actual turning ability under heavy braking in my test drive. Because of this I would say the Fit is a much safer car for its ability in avoiding an accident.

  • http://petitelefant.blogspot.com Michal

    It comes down to simple physics: F=m*a Assuming that acceleration (deceleration) remains the same in a wreck ie the wall does not move, the mass of the vehicle is directly proportional to the force of the wreck. A smaller car releases less stored energy, becasue it stores less. That’s right, everytime you press on the gass, you are storing energy that either gets released in the form of heat on the brakes or as a large bang when you hit a wall or tree.

    I am glad you are OK. I am assuming that you wore your belts right? A friend just lost her 13 year old son in a wreck where everyone wearing a belt walked away. He did not.

  • http://petitelefant.blogspot.com Michal

    It comes down to simple physics: F=m*a Assuming that acceleration (deceleration) remains the same in a wreck ie the wall does not move, the mass of the vehicle is directly proportional to the force of the wreck. A smaller car releases less stored energy, becasue it stores less. That’s right, everytime you press on the gass, you are storing energy that either gets released in the form of heat on the brakes or as a large bang when you hit a wall or tree.

    I am glad you are OK. I am assuming that you wore your belts right? A friend just lost her 13 year old son in a wreck where everyone wearing a belt walked away. He did not.

  • Cira

    One of my friends struck a guardrail at 70mph on the highway, and her Yaris looked about the same as yours in the end. She came out with back pain and of course the seatbelt bruise, that’s it.

  • Cira

    One of my friends struck a guardrail at 70mph on the highway, and her Yaris looked about the same as yours in the end. She came out with back pain and of course the seatbelt bruise, that’s it.

  • Kurt

    My wife t-boned an Escalade that ran a red light last week. Thankfully she was driving a Suburban. If she would have been in your Yaris she would be dead, no doubt about that. To say a Yaris is safer or safer than a Suburban is beyond stupid. It’s irresponsible – you are going to kill people with your “advice”.

  • Kurt

    My wife t-boned an Escalade that ran a red light last week. Thankfully she was driving a Suburban. If she would have been in your Yaris she would be dead, no doubt about that. To say a Yaris is safer or safer than a Suburban is beyond stupid. It’s irresponsible – you are going to kill people with your “advice”.

  • Rick

    For anyone who doubts the value of small cars in a head-on crash, a UK program “Fifth Gear” crashed a Smart2 into a concrete barrier at 70mph. And a Smart2 is even smaller than a regular small-car.

    http://ie.youtube.com/watch?v=cOn7OTd_iDk

    Just to give you the idea, afterwards, the doors still opened perfectly.

  • Rick

    For anyone who doubts the value of small cars in a head-on crash, a UK program “Fifth Gear” crashed a Smart2 into a concrete barrier at 70mph. And a Smart2 is even smaller than a regular small-car.

    http://ie.youtube.com/watch?v=cOn7OTd_iDk

    Just to give you the idea, afterwards, the doors still opened perfectly.

  • Trantor

    Congratulations!

    This here is germany, with an enourmously aggressive and high-speed travel amount. But most of us travel with small cars, compared to the US-Behemoths. And the fatality rate of the (daily/hourly) accidents dropped in the last decades radical due to the excellent production quality of french, japanese and german producers.

    There is no advantage in mass in a car, when it comes to an accident, when this mass drills itself through your body or the bodies of the others car driver.

  • Trantor

    Congratulations!

    This here is germany, with an enourmously aggressive and high-speed travel amount. But most of us travel with small cars, compared to the US-Behemoths. And the fatality rate of the (daily/hourly) accidents dropped in the last decades radical due to the excellent production quality of french, japanese and german producers.

    There is no advantage in mass in a car, when it comes to an accident, when this mass drills itself through your body or the bodies of the others car driver.

  • Marty

    I got into an accident in my Saturn with a Toyota 4-Runner. The saturn was totalled but I walked away without a scratch. The driver of the 4-Runner had a neck injury. The body repair guy told me that SUVs often have full frames and do not flex, transmitting all of the destructive energy to the driver/passengers in the case of an accident. Small cars have all kinds of safety features like crumple zones, etc. I guess if the SUVs had those features they would be safer, but they don’t.

    We really have too many SUVs owned by people who don’t need them, and the people who really need them should get the benefit of a change in safety regulations. That is, the standards for SUVs should be brought up to that of cars. The car companies are lobbying against this, since it would make them more expensive and therefore less desirable to the consumer.

  • Marty

    I got into an accident in my Saturn with a Toyota 4-Runner. The saturn was totalled but I walked away without a scratch. The driver of the 4-Runner had a neck injury. The body repair guy told me that SUVs often have full frames and do not flex, transmitting all of the destructive energy to the driver/passengers in the case of an accident. Small cars have all kinds of safety features like crumple zones, etc. I guess if the SUVs had those features they would be safer, but they don’t.

    We really have too many SUVs owned by people who don’t need them, and the people who really need them should get the benefit of a change in safety regulations. That is, the standards for SUVs should be brought up to that of cars. The car companies are lobbying against this, since it would make them more expensive and therefore less desirable to the consumer.

  • Marty

    PS Kurt is wrong. That is exactly what happened with my Saturn. I t-boned a 4-Runner that ran a stop sign.

  • Marty

    PS Kurt is wrong. That is exactly what happened with my Saturn. I t-boned a 4-Runner that ran a stop sign.

  • Sarge

    Rick wrote:

    “For anyone who doubts the value of small cars in a head-on crash, a UK program “Fifth Gear” crashed a Smart2 into a concrete barrier at 70mph. And a Smart2 is even smaller than a regular small-car.”

    http://ie.youtube.com/watch?v=cOn7OTd_iDk

    “Just to give you the idea, afterwards, the doors still opened perfectly.”

    But the driver’s legs & pelvis would have been found in the back hatch area, looking at the intrusion into the diver space below the window line. Non-survivable crash.

    The doors surive, but the driver is obliterated. Nice plan.

  • Sarge

    Rick wrote:

    “For anyone who doubts the value of small cars in a head-on crash, a UK program “Fifth Gear” crashed a Smart2 into a concrete barrier at 70mph. And a Smart2 is even smaller than a regular small-car.”

    http://ie.youtube.com/watch?v=cOn7OTd_iDk

    “Just to give you the idea, afterwards, the doors still opened perfectly.”

    But the driver’s legs & pelvis would have been found in the back hatch area, looking at the intrusion into the diver space below the window line. Non-survivable crash.

    The doors surive, but the driver is obliterated. Nice plan.

  • Andrea

    My old Ford Fiesta was broadsided by a ’68 Cadillac. The light weight of my car is what saved my life. The impact of the Caddy merely pushed the Fiesta out of the way (spinning, actually, into the other lane — luckily there was no traffic in the other lane at the time). If my car had absorbed the full blow, I wouldn’t be typing this right now. I’ve seen this on the highway too, where a semi switched lanes and hit a tiny subcompact, pushing the little car about 40 feet before it deposited the car off the road.

  • Andrea

    My old Ford Fiesta was broadsided by a ’68 Cadillac. The light weight of my car is what saved my life. The impact of the Caddy merely pushed the Fiesta out of the way (spinning, actually, into the other lane — luckily there was no traffic in the other lane at the time). If my car had absorbed the full blow, I wouldn’t be typing this right now. I’ve seen this on the highway too, where a semi switched lanes and hit a tiny subcompact, pushing the little car about 40 feet before it deposited the car off the road.

  • Ed Hunt

    Glad your ok!

    In a rollover any person has a chance in any car. In a head on side on crash with any standard sized auto or larger you are toast.

  • Ed Hunt

    Glad your ok!

    In a rollover any person has a chance in any car. In a head on side on crash with any standard sized auto or larger you are toast.

  • Josh

    I’d like to know the story behind “hitting an embankment at highway speed.” Because poor handling is precisely the reason I’ll never drive a subcompact sh-tbox like the Yaris.

    The “leap of faith” is that the Yaris saved your life. This is like my family member’s story in which his Pontiac Bonneville “saved his life” in 2003. In reality, the poor steering and sub-par brakes prevented him from swerving to avoid a car on a divided highway, so he hit it at speed, totaling the car.

    I’ll take an Acura TSX (up to 36MPG highway in real life) with its improved handling, entry-level luxury features, and higher pricetag any day.

  • Josh

    I’d like to know the story behind “hitting an embankment at highway speed.” Because poor handling is precisely the reason I’ll never drive a subcompact sh-tbox like the Yaris.

    The “leap of faith” is that the Yaris saved your life. This is like my family member’s story in which his Pontiac Bonneville “saved his life” in 2003. In reality, the poor steering and sub-par brakes prevented him from swerving to avoid a car on a divided highway, so he hit it at speed, totaling the car.

    I’ll take an Acura TSX (up to 36MPG highway in real life) with its improved handling, entry-level luxury features, and higher pricetag any day.

  • jweller

    1st off, glad you’re ok.

    I have never doubted the safety of modern small cars in single vehicle accidents. I still believe that if you had been T-boned by a 6500lb Escalade instead, you would not be here to tell your story. Its simple physics. F=MA. and you are the big loser in the M portion of that equation. Personally I loath SUVs, and I hope the high gas prices do get some people to rethink their choices, but until the greater number of these behemouths are off the road, small cars are dangereous.

  • jweller

    1st off, glad you’re ok.

    I have never doubted the safety of modern small cars in single vehicle accidents. I still believe that if you had been T-boned by a 6500lb Escalade instead, you would not be here to tell your story. Its simple physics. F=MA. and you are the big loser in the M portion of that equation. Personally I loath SUVs, and I hope the high gas prices do get some people to rethink their choices, but until the greater number of these behemouths are off the road, small cars are dangereous.

  • http://www.renntechmercedes.com Jo

    Good to see you made it through – great post!

  • http://www.renntechmercedes.com Jo

    Good to see you made it through – great post!

  • http://www.jonkepler.com Jon Kepler

    Why do people compare small cars to SUVs by default? Who cares? Small cars are incredibly dangerous when compared to a Mercedes S550 or BMW 750. No side airbags, no curtain airbags, no pre-collision system, no stability control, and not enough room for a truly proper crumple zone. I’m happy you’re okay, but that doesn’t mean your car is safe.

  • http://www.jonkepler.com Jon Kepler

    Why do people compare small cars to SUVs by default? Who cares? Small cars are incredibly dangerous when compared to a Mercedes S550 or BMW 750. No side airbags, no curtain airbags, no pre-collision system, no stability control, and not enough room for a truly proper crumple zone. I’m happy you’re okay, but that doesn’t mean your car is safe.

  • Nick Version Two

    I’m gonna let you know, Nick, that everyone I know says the EXACT same thing about my impreza. I live in Texas. Land of the Bigger, the BETTER.

    I have not been in a wreck in my Impreza, and, god willing, I never will. But, it is the best car that I have ever owned as far as safety goes. It can hug a turn like it’s glued to the road, which has actually helped me avoid a few accidents, including, at least 2 deer, and an idiot in an F 250 that pulled out in front of me when I had the green light.

    So, not only do small cars save gas, they’re better performers, and they are safe, according to your Yaris experience.

    High five, Nick

  • Nick Version Two

    I’m gonna let you know, Nick, that everyone I know says the EXACT same thing about my impreza. I live in Texas. Land of the Bigger, the BETTER.

    I have not been in a wreck in my Impreza, and, god willing, I never will. But, it is the best car that I have ever owned as far as safety goes. It can hug a turn like it’s glued to the road, which has actually helped me avoid a few accidents, including, at least 2 deer, and an idiot in an F 250 that pulled out in front of me when I had the green light.

    So, not only do small cars save gas, they’re better performers, and they are safe, according to your Yaris experience.

    High five, Nick

  • LonnieB

    You have a lot of well-wishers, Nick. Allow mw to add mine. I’m glad you made it.

    Cars truly have come a long way from the body-on-frame days when collisions like this usually brought a coroner, instead of an ambulance. I remember watching a Tennessee State Trooper film during driver’s ed, that showed gory pictures of decapitaion and such, as well as x-rays of chrome dash knobs embedded in skulls.

    I guess the idea was to scare us into paying attention. It worked on me. I’ve been driving for over thirty-five years and have been behind the wheelfor only three wrecks, two were drunks pulling out in front of me and the third was due to black ice.

  • LonnieB

    You have a lot of well-wishers, Nick. Allow mw to add mine. I’m glad you made it.

    Cars truly have come a long way from the body-on-frame days when collisions like this usually brought a coroner, instead of an ambulance. I remember watching a Tennessee State Trooper film during driver’s ed, that showed gory pictures of decapitaion and such, as well as x-rays of chrome dash knobs embedded in skulls.

    I guess the idea was to scare us into paying attention. It worked on me. I’ve been driving for over thirty-five years and have been behind the wheelfor only three wrecks, two were drunks pulling out in front of me and the third was due to black ice.

  • Ryan

    My parents were in a very bad car accident two weeks ago and the only thing that saved their lives was the fact they were in an SUV. They were struck from some asshole from behind going 120 and they were thrown off the road and rolled through the forest. After seeing the car afterwards and hearing the fire fighters reports; they said they were lucky to be alive and it is due to the fact they were in an SUV.

    To say that all small cars are safe because a Yaris survived a car accident is a very immature statement. I love fuel efficient cars as much as anyone here, but please don’t make such misleading statements as that. Each car has different crash test ratings. Something like a Smart Car for example wont fare too well in a head on collision with some jerk in a Hummer.

  • Ryan

    My parents were in a very bad car accident two weeks ago and the only thing that saved their lives was the fact they were in an SUV. They were struck from some asshole from behind going 120 and they were thrown off the road and rolled through the forest. After seeing the car afterwards and hearing the fire fighters reports; they said they were lucky to be alive and it is due to the fact they were in an SUV.

    To say that all small cars are safe because a Yaris survived a car accident is a very immature statement. I love fuel efficient cars as much as anyone here, but please don’t make such misleading statements as that. Each car has different crash test ratings. Something like a Smart Car for example wont fare too well in a head on collision with some jerk in a Hummer.

  • http://www.xemion.com/out.php?id=24062&123712726 web design company

    Wow. Glad you re still with us, Nick.

  • http://www.xemion.com/out.php?id=24062&123712726 web design company

    Wow. Glad you re still with us, Nick.

  • http://gas2.0 Paul

    Like others have said it depends on the accident, when I see how close the back seat is to the back window in some of these little cars there’s no way in hell you would get me in there. Talk about a death trap, ask my wife she was sitting at a red light when a landscaper truck with a trailer plowed into her Dam good thing she was in her Caddy.

  • Mark in Texas

    Another data point:

    A few weeks ago my daughter, who had been working too much overtime, fell asleep while driving home from work and rolled her Yaris at highway speed. She was pretty sore for a week or so but she did walk away from the accident with nothing worse than a broken toe, some seat belt bruises and an $11,000 bill from the ambulance, emergency room visit, X-rays and MRI that said she was OK.

  • Mark in Texas

    Another data point:

    A few weeks ago my daughter, who had been working too much overtime, fell asleep while driving home from work and rolled her Yaris at highway speed. She was pretty sore for a week or so but she did walk away from the accident with nothing worse than a broken toe, some seat belt bruises and an $11,000 bill from the ambulance, emergency room visit, X-rays and MRI that said she was OK.

  • Wain Chang

    In our household. We just ditched our last two SUV’s thank God, we’ll never own another SUV. We’ll stick to

    small reliable cars, cars are more practical for city cruising on top of it you save lots of fuel. Let’s look to the future cowboy culture is far too old, let’s leave the the ugly truck for the farmer.

  • Wain Chang

    In our household. We just ditched our last two SUV’s thank God, we’ll never own another SUV. We’ll stick to

    small reliable cars, cars are more practical for city cruising on top of it you save lots of fuel. Let’s look to the future cowboy culture is far too old, let’s leave the the ugly truck for the farmer.

  • Willy

    Get T-boned by a Suburban. Then post about it.

    Oh wait, that might not work so well….

  • Willy

    Get T-boned by a Suburban. Then post about it.

    Oh wait, that might not work so well….

  • Willy

    BTW that link posted in the very first comment lost all of its credibility when it referred to unibody construction as unit-body. When someone doesn’t know something as basic as that about cars, it’s very hard to take them seriously.

  • Willy

    BTW that link posted in the very first comment lost all of its credibility when it referred to unibody construction as unit-body. When someone doesn’t know something as basic as that about cars, it’s very hard to take them seriously.

  • Willy

    OK I should also make it clear that I’m not a callous asshole who doesn’t give two shits about people. I’m glad you’re okay, I don’t wish death on anyone that doesn’t deserve it.

  • Willy

    OK I should also make it clear that I’m not a callous asshole who doesn’t give two shits about people. I’m glad you’re okay, I don’t wish death on anyone that doesn’t deserve it.

  • Carl

    It’s interesting to note how many people still think they’re safer in a SUV if they happen to collide with a small car like the Yaris.

    Mass is the biggest factor to consider in collisions, and thus a smaller car will always lose its momentum faster than a larger car, thus more at the mercy of whatever it collides with. And let’s say you’re really insecure, so you buy the biggest, heaviest SUV you can find, because you’re pretty sure that its sheer mass will destroy anything in its path, keeping you safe.

    The problem with that logic is that automobile collisions become increasingly more deadly as the vehicles get bigger, because bigger vehicles take much more time and force to slow down. On an open road, the smaller car has a pretty good chance of simply bouncing off your SUV rather than being crushed like a soda can, and without sufficient stopping force from the impact with the car, your SUV will likely lose control and keep on barreling through. And once you lose control, you’re not going to get it back as easily as if you had a smaller vehicle.

    The only time where you’re going to be practically safe in a SUV vs. compact collision is if you’re in a head-on collision, and you’re lucky enough that your SUV doesn’t just drive over the small car and end up flipping over.

    If sheer mass was what really made the difference between life and death in collisions, then the safest drivers would be driving big rigs. But since most of you safe drivers obviously aren’t truckers, then there’s probably some perfectly good explanation as to why a smaller vehicle is safer.

  • Carl

    It’s interesting to note how many people still think they’re safer in a SUV if they happen to collide with a small car like the Yaris.

    Mass is the biggest factor to consider in collisions, and thus a smaller car will always lose its momentum faster than a larger car, thus more at the mercy of whatever it collides with. And let’s say you’re really insecure, so you buy the biggest, heaviest SUV you can find, because you’re pretty sure that its sheer mass will destroy anything in its path, keeping you safe.

    The problem with that logic is that automobile collisions become increasingly more deadly as the vehicles get bigger, because bigger vehicles take much more time and force to slow down. On an open road, the smaller car has a pretty good chance of simply bouncing off your SUV rather than being crushed like a soda can, and without sufficient stopping force from the impact with the car, your SUV will likely lose control and keep on barreling through. And once you lose control, you’re not going to get it back as easily as if you had a smaller vehicle.

    The only time where you’re going to be practically safe in a SUV vs. compact collision is if you’re in a head-on collision, and you’re lucky enough that your SUV doesn’t just drive over the small car and end up flipping over.

    If sheer mass was what really made the difference between life and death in collisions, then the safest drivers would be driving big rigs. But since most of you safe drivers obviously aren’t truckers, then there’s probably some perfectly good explanation as to why a smaller vehicle is safer.

  • Uncle B

    Reality speaks louder than words here . . . OPEC by consistently raising oil prices by cutting production, to cushion and save their own asses, are forcing freight back to the rails, Closing GM and its Humburbans and Escalades, and promoting Yaris, VW and Smart cars. Given built in planned obsolescence and the current rising oil price threat from OPEC and the Saudis, our highways will be transport truck-free and “Big vehicle” -free in about four or five years! I look forward to my three wheeler, carbon fiber bodied, polymer composite re-enforced for lighter weight, bio-turbo H2 boosted diesel/electric plug-in super commuter car. I expect to travel at 140 kph (80 mph) and get 100 mpg for a mortgage busting, life-style enhancing, boost to my budget – no Hummburbans in sight, no transport trucks left on the roads, and all big cars reduced to rusting piles of hardened rubber and glass! I will no longer be enslaved and over-taxed by big oil, or big steel – Make way for an Eco-happy 21st century! P.S> Glad you lived to continue the small car crusade, we need you now more than ever!

  • Uncle B

    Reality speaks louder than words here . . . OPEC by consistently raising oil prices by cutting production, to cushion and save their own asses, are forcing freight back to the rails, Closing GM and its Humburbans and Escalades, and promoting Yaris, VW and Smart cars. Given built in planned obsolescence and the current rising oil price threat from OPEC and the Saudis, our highways will be transport truck-free and “Big vehicle” -free in about four or five years! I look forward to my three wheeler, carbon fiber bodied, polymer composite re-enforced for lighter weight, bio-turbo H2 boosted diesel/electric plug-in super commuter car. I expect to travel at 140 kph (80 mph) and get 100 mpg for a mortgage busting, life-style enhancing, boost to my budget – no Hummburbans in sight, no transport trucks left on the roads, and all big cars reduced to rusting piles of hardened rubber and glass! I will no longer be enslaved and over-taxed by big oil, or big steel – Make way for an Eco-happy 21st century! P.S> Glad you lived to continue the small car crusade, we need you now more than ever!

  • http://www.nx13ussasherah.org ellenbetty

    I was rear ended at a off ramp by a Ford F350, while driving a Horizon, by a driver who expected me to run a red light, so he could run the red light. The rear end of the Horizon was crushed in. The only injure I had was a bad bruise from the shoulder strap and a stiff neck. Seat belt with shoulder strap saved my life.

    Years before, I was rear ended while riding a bicycle, by a teenager, driving a van, while on a joyride. I spent 4 weeks in a USAF hospital, air transported to a VA hospital for another year of spinal rehabilitation. I prefer a affordable small reliable car, like the Yaris. Far safer than riding a bicycle. Plus I will add a ton less CO2 into the air each year than the average person driving a SUV. Plus the manafacture will put less CO2 into the air while producing a small car. Less CO2 will be put into air shipping a small car to the dealer. Less CO2 will be put into the air recycling the car after it’s useful life. That way I reduce green house gases and help slow Global Warming. Plus for the cost of a Suburban, I can buy 2 small cars and save $60 a month on gasoline as well.

  • http://www.nx13ussasherah.org ellenbetty

    I was rear ended at a off ramp by a Ford F350, while driving a Horizon, by a driver who expected me to run a red light, so he could run the red light. The rear end of the Horizon was crushed in. The only injure I had was a bad bruise from the shoulder strap and a stiff neck. Seat belt with shoulder strap saved my life.

    Years before, I was rear ended while riding a bicycle, by a teenager, driving a van, while on a joyride. I spent 4 weeks in a USAF hospital, air transported to a VA hospital for another year of spinal rehabilitation. I prefer a affordable small reliable car, like the Yaris. Far safer than riding a bicycle. Plus I will add a ton less CO2 into the air each year than the average person driving a SUV. Plus the manafacture will put less CO2 into the air while producing a small car. Less CO2 will be put into air shipping a small car to the dealer. Less CO2 will be put into the air recycling the car after it’s useful life. That way I reduce green house gases and help slow Global Warming. Plus for the cost of a Suburban, I can buy 2 small cars and save $60 a month on gasoline as well.

  • ellenbetty

    For those who think that their large box frame SUV is safer than a 4 door economy hatchback should watch Fifth Gear on You Tube. Fifth Gear pulled a large box frame vehicle at 35 mph into a 4 door economy hatchback moving 35 mph. The impact was head on just involving the driver’s side of the vehicle. One thing crashing a vehicle into a unmovable wall cannot tell is how two moving objects react when they hit each other. The lighter 4 door economy vehicle pivots around the larger box frame vehicle crushing in driver’s side of the SUV. The crash dummy’s legs were pinned in the SUV. The crash dummy in the 4 door economy hatchback was easy removed. In a real crash the driver of the box frame vehicle would have to be cut out of the vehicle and life flighted to the nearest hospital because of leg injuries. If this had been a real accident the driver of the 4 door economy hatchback would walk away from the accident with a badly bruised shoulder from the seat belt shoulder strap. The number of vehicles that hit head on off center are less than 1% of accidents. The head on off center crash are the cause of the majority of fatal accidents. I figure I have as much chance of surviving a head on off center accident in my Yaris as the driver of a box frame large vehicle has of surviving.

  • ellenbetty

    For those who think that their large box frame SUV is safer than a 4 door economy hatchback should watch Fifth Gear on You Tube. Fifth Gear pulled a large box frame vehicle at 35 mph into a 4 door economy hatchback moving 35 mph. The impact was head on just involving the driver’s side of the vehicle. One thing crashing a vehicle into a unmovable wall cannot tell is how two moving objects react when they hit each other. The lighter 4 door economy vehicle pivots around the larger box frame vehicle crushing in driver’s side of the SUV. The crash dummy’s legs were pinned in the SUV. The crash dummy in the 4 door economy hatchback was easy removed. In a real crash the driver of the box frame vehicle would have to be cut out of the vehicle and life flighted to the nearest hospital because of leg injuries. If this had been a real accident the driver of the 4 door economy hatchback would walk away from the accident with a badly bruised shoulder from the seat belt shoulder strap. The number of vehicles that hit head on off center are less than 1% of accidents. The head on off center crash are the cause of the majority of fatal accidents. I figure I have as much chance of surviving a head on off center accident in my Yaris as the driver of a box frame large vehicle has of surviving.

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