The car accident video below is from the IIHS rated SUV in the institute’s small overlap test. Generally, you can expect to be well protected in a head on car accident on the left side, but what if the crash is on the right side and there’s a right front passenger?
The Institute recently conducted a series of tests on the passenger side to find out which cars are the safest when getting in an auto accident as a passenger. They ran passenger side small overlap crash test on 7 small SUVs that received a good rating in the driver side test. However this small overlap front crash test represents when the left front corner of a vehicle strikes either another vehicle, or a fixed object such as a tree or utility pole.
Small overlap head on car accidents are pretty challenging to vehicle structures, the main problem appears to be that some of the structural improvements made to reduce occupant compartment intrusion on the driver side, have not been implemented on the passenger side. In the short-term it was better for manufacturers to make quick fixes to driver side structures rather than delay improvements entirely, but in the long-term manufacturers will need to make the same improvements to the passenger side.
The 2016 Hyundai Tucson received a good rating on the passenger side in the head on car accident test. The structure held up well, allowing the airbags and safety belts to do their jobs effectively. A passenger riding in his vehicle would get the same level of protection in a small overlap crash on the right side as a driver would in a car crash involving the left side.
The 2015 Toyota RAV4 was the worst performing vehicle for passenger side protection in the head on car accident test. There was Major collapse of the occupant compartment and the structures moved an additional 13 inches rearward compared with the driver side test if we issued ratings for passenger side protection for the RAV4 it would get a poor car crash test rating.
1 in every 1600 right front passenger were killed in frontal crashes in 2014, so it’s important that we provide equal protection for drivers and passengers on both sides of the vehicle.