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November 7 , 2005 - Side Impact Crash Tests of Mini Vans
A leading cause of deaths and injuries is side impact crashes. Side impact crashes are common in intersections when one car broadsides another. So the question is how will the side of your car or mini van hold up to a side impact. For the answer we look to test results from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Crashing an SUV into a Mini Van
To test what might happen in a side impact crash in a mini van the Insurance Institute designed a test that crashes an SUV into the side of a mini van at 31 miles per hour. The results measure how a woman is affected. The primary focus is on the impact to the person's head, which causes the most serious injuries. About 10,000 passengers die every year in side impact crashes and head injuries are the leading cause.
Nine Mini Vans Tested
Nine vehicles were tested and rated from Good to Poor. The vehicles that performed the best - protecting the passenger's heads- had side curtain airbags. In addition to air bags which helped tremendously the construction of the vehicle - the side structure - also made a noticeable difference.
Honda, Nissan, and Toyota now include head-protecting air bags as standard equipment, which is considered a critical. The Mazda MPV and the Ford Freestar without air bags did a poor job of protecting the passenger's heads.
Best Protection in an Accident
The Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, and Nissan Quest scored the best in the tests. The Honda and Toyota received best ratings. Close behind the leaders was the Ford Freestar with optional side impact airbags. See the complete results from the Insurance Institute.
Intersections are Dangerous
These tests illustrate how dangerous it is driving through intersections. A driver running a red light is typically the cause of a side impact crash. As you drive it is critical that you way alert - don't day dream. If you are sitting at a red light and the light turns green don't just gun it into the intersection. Pause and look in both directions to make sure that a car is not about to run the red light. This alone can save your life.
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