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Alive and married bc a Model X saved my life

Discussion in 'Model X' started by QwiksilverA4, May 15, 2017.

  1. QwiksilverA4

    QwiksilverA4 Member

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    Hey TMC,

    I created this account on here to just let everyone know the story of how I am alive and well because a Model X I rented for my wedding. I am now happily married to my wife on 5/6/17. I want to share with you, Tesla, and Mr. Elon Musk my experience with Tesla Motors. Through my testimony, I can truly say that Tesla’s cars are well-built, perfectly designed, and extremely safe.

    I have been interested in Tesla’s innovative and dynamic technology since its founding in 2003. Being an automation controls consultant for Tesla in the stamping, body, and paint lines, I have been able to see first-hand how well these vehicles are designed. I work directly with the engineers leading the Model S, X, and 3 lines and regularly visit headquarters in Fremont, CA. Little did I know that one of these vehicles would end up saving my life in a potentially deadly auto accident.



    Here’s my story:

    I have always known that the Tesla Model X was a great vehicle, but I was able to confirm this the night before my wedding on Friday, May 5. Nancy and I had just finished up our rehearsal dinner with our friends and family. Upon leaving the restaurant to walk to our cars, we heard police sirens nearby. Not thinking anything of this, I dropped off Nancy at her car and we prepared to go our separate ways until the big day.



    When I made my way out of the parking lot, I began to take a left turn on to the main street. Mid-turn, I noticed a silver car quickly approaching the driver’s side of the vehicle (I later learned that they were going over 65mph on a private road). I had no time to react, since the driver came from a blind spot on my left. At this point, it looked like the driver had no intention of slowing down, and I immediately thought that I was either going to get badly hurt or potentially die.



    I quickly braced and gripped the steering wheel as I was pounded by the silver car, sending me over 20 feet away from my starting point. With the impact, all of the airbags deployed, instantly leaving me in shock. The outgassing of the airbags caused the car to smoke, making it difficult to see. I reached for the door handle with my right hand, but was not able to open it. Seeing no other option, I kicked open the door and was able to escape the vehicle. As I walked outside, I immediately saw the police chasing after the culprits driving the silver car. I looked around, dazed, and ended up falling to the ground. I am unsure of what happened next, but all I can remember is hearing voices from the people nearby, and Nancy screaming my name. When I came to consciousness, I was being helped by the police, paramedics, and fire department. The silver car was a mess, but the Model X only suffered a broken axel and bent wheel.



    It turns out that the silver car was a stolen vehicle, driven by a young couple hiding from the police. They were in the midst of a police chase, already having been pursued for several miles, and I (along with the Model X) just happened to be the collateral damage. Eventually one officer reported that they had caught the female passenger, but the male driver was still on the loose. (Luckily, authorities have identified the male driver and are looking out for him).



    After taking care of all the onsite paperwork, I was driven to the ER. I was fortunate enough to have walked away with nothing more than a torn ligament in my right hand and a few bruises on my left thigh. At the end of the night, I made it home in time to rewrite my vows to Nancy, get some rest, and be at my wedding the following day on 5/6. I can happily say that the wedding went (mostly) as planned!



    I wanted to write this to you in hopes that this raises visibility to the management chain at Tesla. I can't thank Elon Musk, Tesla, and the team enough for what they do and want them to know that their car saved my life. While I also believe that I am still alive because of divine intervention, being in that car was definitely my shield and protector. I have made it a short term goal of mine to sell my cars and buy a Tesla as my next vehicle. That car saved my life. Thank you for your time and I hope this message gets passed through to everyone, especially Elon.


    John
     

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  2. cranker2k

    cranker2k Member

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    Sorry to have this happened to you..or happened at all. Glad your injury is minor and are able to get get married. Surviving like this can just mean bigger and better things coming to you in life!
     
  3. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for sharing the story and happy to hear your wedding was otherwise unaffected. That's a double blessing in this.

    The silver car seems to have the the Model X squarely (or is it circle-ly) on the left front tire. An interesting indentation on the car. Had it hit the driver's door, it would have met with the protections for the battery and it might have been worse for the crashing car and still be survivable in the Model X.
     
  4. MXWing

    MXWing Active Member

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    Thank you for sharing. Cannot put a price on your life.

    I'm not expert on crash physics but I assume its far worse typically for the nail than the hammer right? I can't fathom the energy you had to go up against.
     
  5. outie

    outie Member

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    Thank you for sharing. Glad you are alright.

    When I read these stories I always wonder what would have happened if you were in another car though. I guess we will never find out.
     
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  6. MXWing

    MXWing Active Member

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    #6 MXWing, May 15, 2017
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
    It's pretty morbid and inappropriate to speculate how "much more" injured, crippled or dead the original poster would be if they were in a different car.

    I can't find safety ratings on the Model X but since the S was five star for everything tested, one can logically deduce the X would be the same ballpark when compared to the S. And the margin of safety would be even greater compared to other SUVs because of the lower chance of rollover on the X.

    Once the ratings are released and if another car has worse side impact ratings, than with 100% certainty, the original poster would be in a worse condition. Tough to beat the protection of a heavy battery on the bottom however.
     
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  7. outie

    outie Member

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    That's actually not what I was thinking about, but more like it might not have to do with the particular vehicle, in this case the Model X, that saved their lives.
     
  8. wdolson

    wdolson Supporting Member

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    Wow! Quite the story and I'm glad to hear you're OK!
     
  9. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Well-Known Member

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    You are probably right that the hit on the front axle was more important in this case than the type of the car. Hitting the front axle is often more survivable than hitting the doors for example. I have a friend who survived this type of crash in an old airbagless 1980s car, because the other party hit the front axle instead of the passenger compartment.

    That said, I think the OP's point as it related to the battery compartment protecting Model S/X drivers from side impacts is still valid. Assuming the battery protection holds (fire hazard exempted), it is mighty protection indeed for the passengers inside. Even more so in the case of a sedan hitting a Model X where the battery and thus the passengers above it sit a little higher compared to the other car.

    I can see this type of crash being more survivable in the Model X than in your average car.
     
  10. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    Crash survival is counter intuitive for most people - they look at a solid steel structure that survives a crash without a mark and think it's a very safe car, while they think the one next to it with the whole front end in pieces is dangerous. If the car were the important part, they'd be right.

    The challenge has never been designing a car that holds up to a crash well - it's designing a car that keeps people alive and safe during the crash. No matter how well you restrain the outside of a person, at around 100g the insides start tearing apart.

    That's why modern, "softer" cars are more survivable - the car's structure gives progressively under load allowing a lower peak acceleration to the occupants.

    The X is indeed a very safe car, in part because it has a deep, soft front crumple zone with no ICE in it - but the stiff protection around the pack, while necessary to prevent secondary threats during an accident, is actually a liability in terms of direct survivability for the primary collision.
     
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  11. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Well-Known Member

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    Fair point about crumple zones and softer cars being more survivable to an extent. You are right about that.

    However, I am not sure the rest follows?

    In a side impact - as long as cars are not made with large side crumple zones - the only part that can really crumple is the part right next to the people on that side of the car and it can crumple only into them. And that probably, in most cases, is inherently more dangerous of these options. Are you suggesting the side crumple zones of other modern cars are significantly better (for an occupant on that side of the car) compared to what a Tesla has?

    My thinking is: What very stiff protection in this area - in a perpendicular impact such as this one - allows, is transferring the energy of the crash into the crumple zone of the crashing car instead, because there is very little space to crash into inside. I'm no expect, but I also expect it also turns (much of) the rest into movement, limited by the gripping wheels. Part of the "crumple zone", so to speak, in this case were the 20 ft the Model X traveled on impact, while being slowed down by the wheels dragged over tarmac, turning some of that energy into heat...

    In a way it would seem to me the best perpendicular crash scenario is a Tesla crashing into another, because the battery on the car being crashed into would help keep the passenger compartment intact, while the crumple zone of the crashing car would be maximal (assuming no chunks of lonsdaleite in the frunk)...
     
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  12. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    There's certainly a balance to find there.

    A car that allows a deep penetration into the cabin that physically crushes someone fails just as badly as a rigid structure that pushes the occupants too hard.

    Note that converting crash energy into acceleration of your car doesn't help any with decreasing the acceleration to the occupants.

    Also note that while stiffening up your structure can make the other car's problem worse, it doesn't help yours at all;you can't reduce the acceleration for your occupants by shifting load to the other car as you seemed to be suggesting - at least not by making a stiffer structure.

    Adding mass does reduce the severity of your impact in terms of acceleration if and only if you are striking a mobile object of lesser mass - at the cost of making the other car's problem worse if that object is a car.

    According to Elon's presentation at the X launch, the typical SUV allows about 8 inches of penetration on the pole test, and the X only 4.

    You certainly don't want the pole inside the cabin hurting people, but the more distance you have to slow the pole in, the lower the imparted acceleration - in a largish SUV I don't see any possible benefit to the four inch penetration compared to the eight inch (provided the other design always stops at near that eight inch mark,) and it will be harder on the occupants.
     
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  13. Just a Reader

    Just a Reader Member

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    #13 Just a Reader, May 15, 2017
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
    Looks as if both cars did quite well what they were supposed to do: the front of the sedan crumpled and the side of the X held. I'm almost more impressed by the fact that the occupants of that old bucket were able to run away from the scene after the impact. This makes me slightly doubt that 65 mp/h figure. Still, all people involved were quite lucky to walk away from this accident.
     
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  14. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Well-Known Member

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    #14 AnxietyRanger, May 15, 2017
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
    Very good thinking and educational, thanks @Saghost. I get your main point: both acceleration and penetration kills (no pun intended) - crumple zones are good at reducing both.

    A few thoughts/questions:

    I get that, mostly it helps in avoiding penetration. So, it goes to the balance you mention. However, couldn't it also help by converting a part of that into heat when your tires drag the surface and, equally, slow the acceleration by that much? I do get your point that the moving itself mostly helps with avoiding cabin penetration, perhaps not such much in avoiding stresses to the occupants otherwise... But as a theoretical point, friction can help lessen acceleration...

    Fair enough to some extent, but the part that I'm still having difficulty reconciling is: shouldn't that work at least up to the amount of energy the other car is capable of absorbing? I mean, my car is stationary and something hits it from the side. Shouldn't at least the amount of energy absorbed by the crumpling of that other car (assuming my car stays intact) be deducted from any energy affecting the occupants in my car? After all, my occupants were stationary, so there are no stresses related to stopping any movement of my car first (unlike in a head-on collission), and there was no penetration and perhaps even no acceleration if all was absorbed by the other car...

    If my car would stay immobile and withstand the crash without moving an inch, wouldn't that be best for the occupants of my car? Or secondarily, if the car must move, if some of the energy of the force moving the car is directed in something other than movement (e.g. heat), couldn't that at least in theory help maintain the sudden acceleration within a survivable range?

    Or am I missing something?

    That's a good bit of data. Thanks.

    Yes, I get you point. How I read Tesla's PR on this at the time of the Model X launch, though, was that the battery protection allows for better penetration protection than the average SUV. So I didn't take it only as a matter of 4 vs. 8 inches, but as a matter of the design being more certain to keep it there as well. But who knows, Tesla certainly knows how to spin their stuff, maybe I was a victim of that...

    In summary, @Saghost, are you suggesting Model X is less safe than your average SUV in a side-collision?
     
  15. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    The problem with this thought is the timing. The primary risk to the occupants is the initial crash acceleration - from the time the other car contacts yours until your velocity equals theirs.

    The tire friction heating you're describing comes after that, slowing your car down from the velocity imparted in the primary crash.

    Yes, the other car crumpling will reduce the energy you have to deal with and vice versa. The point I was trying to make was that making your car ultimately stiff won't solve your problem, unless it's also immovable - it just passes more energy on to the occupants of both cars.

    Yes, if your car stays immobile, you would have no effects from the crash on the occupants. That's why more mass helps in car on car crashes.

    As above, you need to look at the timing of the acceleration pulse and the heating to decide if it would help.

    I don't have nearly enough information to make that assessment, even after you define what an average SUV is - and the particulars of the crash case probably matter as well, with a dozen or so variables.

    I will say that I don't think the advertised lower cabin penetration on pole testing indicates it'll be better in a side collision.
     
  16. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    @QwiksilverA4 glad you are okay and congratulations on your marriage! I see your accident occurred on the Eastridge Loop road at the Eastridge Mall in east San Jose. I can easily envision the silver car attaining a high rate of speed on that wide open gently curving 4-lane road.

    I'm curious: how did you rent an X? From a rental car agency or a private party?

    And what model Tesla have you now decided to buy?
     
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  17. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    So glad you're okay, @QwiksilverA4! I tweeted a link to your message to both Tesla Motors & Elon. I'm sure they'll appreciate your words. And I look forward to seeing you on the forum telling us about the Tesla you buy :). Welcome!
     
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  18. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Well-Known Member

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    Thanks @Saghost, fair points and some well needed thought exercise on the matter performed. :)

    Understood. The only friction that would help there is whatever that might help lower the initial crash acceleration - not anything that slows later on.

    I wonder if it would help to fit cars with high-friction spikes or poles that would drop to the tarmac under a stationary car a second before a detected impact to maximize initial friction...
     
  19. vandacca

    vandacca ReActive Member

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    I'll get Q working on that right away...
    Someone has been watching too many James Bond easter eggs in his X...;)
     
  20. AnxietyRanger

    AnxietyRanger Well-Known Member

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    Oh why did they cancel the Mythbusters!

    Maybe White Rabbit Project could pick this one up...
     

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