How Fast Can You Die?

A study from a research safety center shares what happens when a car traveling 55 miles an hour crashes into a solid immovable object (without a seat belt on):

1/10th of a second: The front bumper and chrome “frosting” of the grillwork collapse. Slivers of steel penetrate the object to a depth of 1 1/2 inches.

2/10ths of a second: The hood rises, crumples, smashes into the windshield. Spinning rear wheels leave the ground. The fenders come into contact with the object, forcing the rear parts out over the front doors. The driver’s body continues to move forward at the vehicle’s original speed. At 20 times the normal force of gravity his body weighs 3000 pounds. His legs ramrod straight and snap at the knee joints.

3/10ths of a second: The driver’s body is now off the seat, torso upright, broken knees pressed against the dashboard. The plastic and steel frame of the steering wheel begins to bend under his terrible death grip. His head is now near the sun visor, his chest above the steering column.

4/10ths of a second: The car’s front 24 inches have been demolished, but the rear end is still traveling about 35 miles per hour. The driver’s body is still traveling 55 miles per hour. The half-ton motor block crunches into the object hit.

5/10ths of a second: The driver’s fear-frozen hands bend the steering column into an almost vertical position. The force of gravity impales him on the steering shaft. Jagged steel punctures lung and intercostals arties. Blood spurts into his lungs.

6/10ths of a second: The driver’s feet are ripped from his tightly laced shoes. The brake pedal shears off the floor boards. The chassis bends in the middle, shearing body bolts. The driver’s head smashes into the windshield. The rear of the car begins its downward fall, spinning wheels digging into the ground.

7/10ths of a second: The entire writhing body of the car is forced out of shape. Hinges tear, doors spring open. In one last convulsion the seats ram forward pinning the driver against the cruel steel of the steering shaft. Blood leaps from his mouth; shock has frozen his heart. He is dead.

Total time elapsed: 7/10ths of a second!

The Worst Accident Investigated

I was awakened at 2:00 a.m. by a phone call telling me to hurry and get into uniform. There is a terrible accident on Highway 52S.

Half asleep I arrived at the accident scene only to find an automobile scattered all over the highway. Parts of the bodies were strewn over the entire vicinity.

I helped put parts of bodies onto sheets. In the dark of the night the essential parts could not be found. The undertakers had to return the next morning for the remaining missing parts.

During my investigation I learned that this family of seven had been to a church revival and was returning home when a tractor-trailer truck traveling in the opposite direction met the auto on a 15-degree curve head on, crumpling all passengers.

One small mistake of a single person ended the lives of seven people. He simply crossed the center line.

“There are two sides to every road — the right side and suicide.”

“A middle-of-the-road policy may succeed in politics, but it gets you into a lot of trouble on a highway.”

Lieutenant C.I. Coleman

Ten Little Drivers

Ten Little Drivers, cruising down the line. One had a heavy foot and then there were nine. (SPEED LIMITS ARE SET FOR YOUR SAFETY.)

Nine Little Drivers, the hour was getting late. One dozed a moment, and then were eight. (A TIRED DRIVER IS A DANGEORUS ONE.)

Eight Little Drivers and the evening seemed like heaven. One showed his driving skill, and then there were seven. (DRIVE SENSIBLY AND SANELY AT ALL TIMES. A VEHICLE IS NO PLACE FOR A CROWN.)

Seven Little Drivers and their lives were full of kicks. One bought a bottle and then there were six. (GASOLINE AND ALCOHOL ARE A DEADLY MIX. DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE.)

Six Little Drivers, impatient to arrive. One jumped a traffic light, and then there were five. (DON’T GAMBLE YEARS OF YOUR LIFE TO SAVE A FEW SECONDS.)

Five Little Drivers, wheeling near the shore. One viewed the scenery, and then there were four. (CAREFUL DRIVING DEMANDS ALERTNESS AT ALL TIMES. KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ROAD.)

Four Little Drivers, happy as could be. One passed a car on a hill, and then there were three. (NEVER PASS ANOTHER VEHICLE WHEN YOUR VISION IS OBSCURED.)

Three Little Drivers, busy it is true. One neglected car repairs, and then there were two. (FOR SAFETY’S SAKE, KEEP YOUR VEHICLE IN TOP CONDITION.)

Two Little Drivers and the day was nearly done. One didn’t beam his lights, and then there was one. (SLOW DOWN FOR DUSK OR DARKNESS. ADJUST YOUR DRIVING TO EXISTING CONDITIONS.)

One Little Driver, who’s still alive today. By following the safety rules, he hopes to stay that way.

Funny Seat Belt Sayings

  • Confucius say: Buckle up! Seat belts save face.
  • Buckle your belt – not your vehicle!
  • Seat belts keep you hanging in there.
  • Seat belts save lives – fasten yours!
  • A seat belt is a life belt.
  • No Belt. No brain.
  • Trust your captain but keep your seat belt securely fastened.
  • You may think seat belts are uncomfortable, but have you ever tried a stretcher?
  • Wear your seat belt. It’s much more comfortable than wearing a caste or bandages.
  • Don’t leave safety
    to mere chance
    That’s why
    Belts are sold with pants. —Burma-Shave roadside message.
  • A friend is like a seat-belt, you may not always need them, but they will be there just in case.
  • If you do not use seat belts, be sure and wear a soft-felt hat to protect your ears as your head goes through the windshield.

If Everyone

If everyone who drives a car
   Could lie a month in bed,
With broken bones and stitched up wounds,
   Or fractures of the head,
And there endure the agonies
   That many people do,
They’d never need preach safety
   Any more to me or you.

If everyone could stand beside
   The bed of some close friend
And hear the doctor say “No hope”
   Before the fatal end,
And see him there unconscious
   Never knowing what took place,
The laws and rules of traffic
   I’m sure we’d soon embrace.

If everyone could meet
   The wife and children left behind
And step into the darkened home
   Where once the sunlight shined,
And look upon “that vacant chair”,
   Where daddy used to sit
I’m sure each reckless driver
   Would be forced to think a bit.

If everyone who takes the wheel
   Would say a little prayer,
And keep in mind those in the car
   Depending upon his care
And make a vow and pledge himself
   To never take a chance,
This (our) great crusade for safety
   Would suddenly advance.

Interesting Facts

Good Vision in a Downpour

How do you achieve good vision while driving during a heavy downpour? Most of the motorists would turn on HIGH or FASTEST SPEED of the wipers during heavy downpour, yet the visibility in front of the vehicle is still bad….

In the event you face such a situation, just try your SUN GLASSES (any model will do), and miracle! All of a sudden, your visibility in front of your windshield is perfectly clear, as if there is no rain.

Make sure you always have a pair of SUN GLASSES in your vehicle, as you are not only helping yourself to drive safely with good vision, but also might save your friend’s life by giving him this idea.

Try it yourself and share it with your friends/students! Amazing, you still see the drops on the windshield, but not the sheet of rain falling.

You can see where the rain bounces off the road. It works to eliminate the “blindness” from passing semi’s spraying you too.

Teach this tip. It really does work!

Cruise Control

A 36 year old female had a crash several weeks ago and totaled her car. A resident of Kilgore, Texas, she was traveling between Gladewater & Kilgore. It was raining, though not excessively, when her car suddenly began to hydroplane and literally flew through the air. She was not seriously injured but very stunned at the sudden occurrence!

When she explained to the highway patrolman what had happened he told her something that every driver should know — NEVER DRIVE IN THE RAIN WITH YOUR CRUISE CONTROL ON. She thought she was being cautious by setting the cruise control and maintaining a safe consistent speed in the rain. But the highway patrolman told her that if the cruise control is on when your car begins to hydroplane and your tires lose contact with the pavement, your car will accelerate to a higher rate of speed making you take off like an airplane. She told the patrolman that was exactly what had occurred. The patrolman said this warning should be listed on the driver’s seat sun-visor:
NEVER USE THE CRUISE CONTROL WHEN THE PAVEMENT IS WET OR ICY, along with the airbag warning. Also NOTE that some vehicles (like the Toyota Sienna Limited XLE) will not allow you to set the cruise control when the windshield wipers are on.

Distracted Driving: Facts & Statistics

  • In 2010, 3,092 people were killed in crashes involving driver distractions, and an estimated 416,000 were injured (NHTSA).
  • 13% of fatalities caused by distracted-driving crashes in 2010 involved at least one driver using a cell phone (NHTSA).
  • 18% of injury crashes in 2010 involved reports of distracted driving (NHTSA).
  • In June 2012, more than 184 billion text messages were sent or received in the United States (CTIA).
  • Teen drivers are more likely than other age groups to be involved in fatal crashes where distraction is reported. In 2010, 11% of drivers under 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted. 19% were distracted by the use of cell phones (NHTSA).
  • 40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger (Pew).
  • Drivers who use handheld devices are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves (Pew).
  • Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times greater than driving while not distracted (VTTI).
  • Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent—at 55 mph—of driving the length of an entire football field blind (VTTI).
  • Headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than handheld use (VTTI).
  • Using a cell phone while driving—whether it’s handheld or hands-free—delays a drivers reaction as much as having a blood alcohol concentrate at the legal limit (University of Utah).
  • Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37% (Carnegie Mellon).

Note: NHTSA is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
CTIA is The Wireless Association
VTTI is Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
Carnegie Mellon is a university


Click here to download a PDF containing even more distracted driving facts and statistics.

Drivers Explain How They Saw Accidents

The following are explanations for various automobile accidents which were taken from insurance claim forms by Tilden Ltd., Canada’s for – most car rental agency:

  • Coming home, I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don’t have.
  • A truck backed through my windshield into my wife’s face.
  • The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.
  • In my attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole.
  • The gentleman behind me struck me on the backside. He then went to rest in the bush with just his rear end showing.
  • I told the police I was not injured, but on removing my hat I found I had a fractured skull.
  • I was sure the old fellow would never make it to the other side of the road when I struck him.
  • When I saw that I could not avoid a collision, I stepped on the gas and subsequently crashed into the other car.
  • I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law in the other seat and headed over the embankment.
  • I had been driving my car for 40 years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident.
  • To avoid hitting the bumper of the car in front, I struck the pedestrian.
  • I first saw the slow-moving, sad-faced old gentleman when he bounced off the hood of my car.
  • The accident happened when the right front door of a car came around the corner without giving any signal.
  • The telephone pole was approaching fast. I was attempting to swerve out of its way when it struck my front end.
  • A pedestrian I did not see, hit me then went sliding under my car.
  • The pedestrian had no idea which direction to go, so I ran over him.
  • The accident occurred when I was attempting to bring my car out of a skid by steering it into the other vehicle.
  • An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my vehicle, and then vanished.
  • I had been learning to drive with power steering. I turned the wheel to what I thought was enough and found myself in a different direction going in the opposite direction.

SCDTSEA Driver & Traffic Safety Teacher’s Creed

We, the Driver Educators Of South Carolina, Do Hereby Dedicate Our Personal and Professional Efforts as Teachers:

  • To effectively alert our students of the increasing hazards of operation of a motor vehicle
  • To increase the decision-making skills of our students, relative to the effects of alcohol, drugs, and the student’s individual value system
  • To instill the traits of character that should make one a safe driver and good traffic citizen, such as respect for the rights of other drivers, obedience to laws and maintaining self-control
  • To keep abreast of changes in the field of driver education and traffic safety
  • To be constantly aware of the physical, mental, and emotional health and growth of our students
  • To work as a team in respecting the rights, the integrity, and the dignity of our fellow educators
  • To keep ever in mind our common goal to reduce the accidents and fatalities in our cities, state, and nation.