Feeling lucky? I'm guessing the drivers of this Jeep Liberty and Chevrolet Camaro would say no. I began to question the safety of some modern automobiles after witnessing the carnage at Weil Wrecker's storage lot in Birmingham, Alabama. Steel door beams and airbags seem over matched as a last line of defense when energy absorbing crush zones are compromised. My sympathies go out to the occupants of these heavily damaged vehicles. I hope they walked away.
Is your car safe?
For starters you can research your vehicle's crash worthiness on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's website. They just released their 2010 Top Safety Picks. New vehicles are rated by evaluating how well they protect its occupants in front, side, rear and rollover collisions. A Jeep Liberty, similar to the one I photographed, received a Marginal rating overall on 2002-2007 models (view complete IIHS data at this link.) Compare the IIHS tests to the damage inflicted on the Jeep Liberty in a real-world crash.
Seeing is believing
"Do I want to die in this car?" That's a good question to ask yourself the next time you sit behind the wheel. Visit a local wrecker company's storage lot or go to a junkyard to get a first-hand look at crash results under real-world conditions. If your like me, you buy used cars out of necessity. But that's not a bad thing. Used cars are cheaper AND you can find more of them at salvage yards to evaluate their crash safety. Older models also offer more wrecked vehicles and cheaper parts when you inevitably bust up your 'new-to-you' ride. Do your homework and be safe. Who says you can't learn anything at the junkyard?
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