So You Think Your Minivan Is Safe?

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Crash Tests Show Serious Defects in Popular Minivan Models

The minivan is a staple for many Texas families that need to tout several children around town. Parents are able to fit their kids, sports equipment, groceries and multitude other items into these convenient vehicles, which also have a reputation for being very safe.

But how safe is your minivan? Although popular minivan models performed well on older testing platforms, they exhibited serious flaws when subjected to the new small overlap front crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). In some cases, the researchers had to cut the test dummy out of the vehicle using a crowbar. Had the dummy been a human being, the driver would have suffered horrific leg injuries.

Small Overlap Front Crash Tests

The small overlap front crash test replicates a common accident scenario in which the driver strikes another car or s stationary object — such as a pole or tree — with the front corner of the vehicle. The new test was introduced because these types of frontend corner crashes account for one-fourth of fatal and severe automobile accident injuries in vehicles that had previously earned a Good rating in the IIHS’s older version of the front overlap test. In the new test, 25 percent of the front end of the vehicle on the driver’s side hits a solid barrier at a speed of 40 mph, mimicking a typical real-life situation.

Why Front Corner Collisions Can Cause More Damage

IIHS experts explain that a front corner collision bypasses the
front crash absorbing vehicle structure that protects occupants of a car involved in a direct frontend collision. The crumple zone does not
adequately absorb accident energy before it reaches the passenger
compartment, and so the compartment can collapse and put the occupants
in danger.

Although most cars do not do as well on the small overlap front crash test, minivans tend to fail at higher rates
because the much wider vehicles are built on car platforms, so that the front juts out beyond the main crash absorbing structure.

Watch the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conduct the small overlap front crash test.

Minivans Earn Poor Ratings on Front Corner Collision Tests

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates crash tests performances as Good, Acceptable, Marginal and Poor. The results of the small overlap
front crash test are:

  • Nissan Quest earned the lowest overall rating of Poor and exhibited the
    worst potential accident outcome, including severe driver leg injuries.
  • Chrysler Town & Country rated Poor.
  • Dodge Grand Caravan, with its almost identical design to Chrysler, earned a Poor rating.
  • Mazda 5 received a Poor grade.
  • Toyota Sienna was given an Acceptable rating.
  • Honda Odyssey was given the highest rating of any minivan on the small overlap front test, having scored a Good rating.
  • Kia Sedona has not yet been evaluated in the small overlap front crash
    test because the company has just issued a redesign of the vehicle meant to improve small overlap crash protection.

Get the help you need after a vehicle crash in Dallas-Fort Worth

Berenson Law Firm provides this information to the public and hopes that drivers use it to avoid unsafe vehicles and the injuries they can cause.

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