Working against the laws of physics is difficult.
As much as us petrolheads enjoy driving, it’s inescapable how dangerous of an activity it can be. We all do our best to mitigate risk, but there’s always a chance for an incident. Thankfully Donut Media’s latest video shows us the technology in modern vehicles that will keep us safe in an accident.
Starting out, it would be impossible to not mention the physics at work – specifically Newton’s three laws of motion. The first law, conservation of momentum, states that an object in motion stays in motion and vice versa for an object at rest. If you were in an accident, the second law of motion can be used to find out the resulting force of the crash. And finally, the third law states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Gallery: 2018 VW Atlas IIHS test
So if you actually paid attention in your high-school physics class, you’ll have a basic understanding of these principles. As such, automakers are committed to decreasing the impact of physics on our fragile bodies during a crash; focusing on mitigating the effects of the third law of motion among others.
It’s relatively common knowledge now that the main goal is to slow down the length of time associated with a crash. But what weapons are available to combat the laws of physics?
Safety systems have obviously evolved over time, but vehicles now utilize a joint strike force of crumple zones, seat belts, and airbags to keep occupants safe. Crumple zones serve to slow the speed of a crash, bending to a certain point but not completely collapsing. Seatbelts serve a very similar purpose of slowing you down before hitting the airbags – in a 30 mph crash, they can decrease the deceleration rate by over seven times.
While it seems like cars almost drive themselves now with driver aids like automatic braking and elementary levels of autonomy, it’s nice to know that we’re in good hands should we still unfortunately have an accident.