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Model 3 Accident, Is this car really safe to drive?

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by bigroccrek, Dec 22, 2018.

  1. bigroccrek

    bigroccrek Member

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    I was in an accident on Tuesday 18 December at approximately 12:30 pm while driving my Model 3. I experienced a medical emergency which caused me to completely black out while driving. I am seriously concerned about what did and did not happen as a result of the accident. First my Model 3 left the roadway after I became unconscious and struck a telephone pole. I do not know how fast I was traveling at the time of the collision with the pole but I do know the car was crumpled half way to the firewall.

    None of the airbags deployed, not one. How can a front end collision of this magnitude not result in any airbags deploying. The car also never alerted Tesla that an accident had occurred?? I confirmed this by speaking to the Tesla Service Center and they reviewed the data pulled from the car. They said all they were getting is that some “secondary systems” were reported malfunctions.

    Now I need to determine if the car is repairable or not and then decide if I even want the car. I purchased the Tesla for several reasons, one of the biggest being it’s safety rating but I have serious concerns about the “real” safety.

    I am really uncomfortable driving the Tesla in the future with my family inside if the safety systems do not function.

    I would like to escalate this accident to someone who can provide answers. Both people I spoke to at the Service Center after seeing the pictures said that absolutely the airbags should have deployed and absolutely an accident message should have been transmitted to Tesla.

    I would also think that Tesla would be very interested in finding out why they car did not function properly.
     

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  2. run-the-joules

    run-the-joules Active Member

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    "None of the airbags deployed, not one. How can a front end collision of this magnitude not result in any airbags deploying. "

    You're posting about it here. That means the airbags weren't needed.

    Airbag deployments aren't cute little pillows of joy that give you a comfortable hug. They are violent events that sometimes kill people. You do not want them unless they are absolutely needed.
     
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  3. SDRick

    SDRick Active Member

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    I hope you are okay, did you sustain any injuries?
     
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  4. devilmountain

    devilmountain Member

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    #4 devilmountain, Dec 22, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018
    The damage to your car is significant and I think the car saved your life. Many people that hit trees or telephone poles die, there is no give when struck. Airbags don't always deploy because it depends on angles and impact. I am by far no expert on this. I saw a Model S hit a pole last winter, it slid into it and hit the rear door, estimated speed was 55mph. No damage to the passenger compartment and only the side air bags deployed. If I remember correctly the drivers air bag did not deploy. That very same pole has taken multiple victims over the years.
     
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  5. Tim Alguire

    Tim Alguire Member

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    Did you suffer any serious injuries as a result of the collision? Looks like from the crumple zone, the car did its job to absorb the impact. Sorry you feel unsafe. I presume you were not on Autopilot?
     
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  6. bigroccrek

    bigroccrek Member

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    Just a sore chest and then the ride to the hospital for surgery for a burst appendicts, that has been no fun and the pain was incredible. Enough that I passed out. And it went from an annoying stomach pain to full blown incapacitating pain in under a minute
     
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  7. bigroccrek

    bigroccrek Member

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    No EAP.
     
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  8. devilmountain

    devilmountain Member

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    I am glad you are okay.
     
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  9. bigroccrek

    bigroccrek Member

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    Thanks. I will admit the crumple zones worked pretty well.
     
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  10. Cycle11111

    Cycle11111 Member

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    Glad you are not seriously injured. I would agree with many of the other posters in that it looked like the car did exactly its job and likely saved your life. Airbag deployments are very complex and looking at you driver compartment it appears in good shape. I got hit at a similar angle to you by an offset headon from a drunk driver while I was driving a Prius Gen 3 I owned. No airbags deployed and crumple zones took most of the damage just like I see in your pictures. I actually had Toyota look at the data recorder and they confirmed none of the force vectors warranted airbag deployment.
     
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  11. devilmountain

    devilmountain Member

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    I have seen some significant accidents. Out of the bad ones only the Tesla driver was able to walk away on his own. The last one I saw was a Lexus LS350. The driver had significant facial injuries and was unconscious, the airbag went off and she was wearing her seatbelt. I still believe Tesla makes the safest cars through my own experience.
     
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  12. SDRick

    SDRick Active Member

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    So to be clear, the surgery you endured was the result of the burst appendix (which caused your medical emergency that caused you to pass out and hit the pole) and not a result of the accident itself?
     
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  13. Uncle Paul

    Uncle Paul Active Member

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    Don't be too harsh on your Tesla. The fact that you were not killed or severly injured in that horrible crash is testamony to the well designed crush zones it provided you. Having your seat belts on also kept you alive.

    The air bags might not have deployed due your unique crash not setting off it's sensors.

    Glad that you were able to walk away and get your burst appendix taken care of. Understand the pain must have been unbearable.

    Over all, Tesla are some of the safest vehicles on the planet. The airbags are only one part of it's defenses.

    What car are you considering to replace your Tesla?
     
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  14. ucmndd

    ucmndd Active Member

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    This looks like the absolute best possible outcome in such an event. I admit to being a little confused as to why you think the car is potentially unsafe.

    The front end crumpled, as designed, and absorbed the impact without intruding into the passenger cabin. The deceleration seems to have been gradual enough to not require airbag deployment. Your walking away from the accident with no serious injury supports that decision on the car’s part (as someone mentioned above airbags are no joke and can cause plenty of moderate injury themselves, so you only want them to pop when the moderate injury is worth the avoidance of major injury).

    Scary stuff, glad you’re ok. But if that was me I’d be looking at that car with amazement vs. skepticism.
     
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  15. EVSteve

    EVSteve 110% Solar Powered

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    If the deceleration rate is not high enough to activate the air bags then they will not deploy. Judging by the large crumple zone and soft object strike (the pole moved) the deceleration was gradual enough that the airbags were not necessary. How exactly do you feel qualified to question the safety of a vehicle without basic knowledge of how safety systems function?
     
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  16. CCIE

    CCIE Member

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    Glad to hear you’re ok.

    Odds are you let off the throttle when you passed out and the car wasn’t going very fast when you hit the pole. The whole front of the car is a crumple zone, and it doesn’t really look like the pole intruded very far into it. So, airbags probably didn’t deploy because you didn’t hard enough to trigger them. Tesla only gets a message when airbags deploy.

    I would try to escalate with Tesla and have them investigate to confirm the airbags acted as expected.

    Although the damage doesn’t look too bad, Teslas are expensive to repair, so it’s probably totaled.
     
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  17. bigroccrek

    bigroccrek Member

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    Thanks. That is exactly what I would like to see from Tesla, some data that can explain the non-deployment. I assume they use accelerometers of some type to instantaneously measure the deceleration it would be nice to examine the data (i'm and engineer so I am curious)
     
  18. suwaneedad

    suwaneedad Member

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    OP, this is what I'd ask Tesla to pull for you...the car logs will tell you what your speeds were just before your car stopped thanks to that telephone pole. You may find that you hit it at a relatively modest speed. This knowledge may help you decide whether you trust Model 3 safety or do not trust Model 3 safety. Ideally you could learn this before 12/31 so as soon as you're discharged from your surgery you could go pick up a replacement 3 and grab the full $7500 tax credit in the process (assuming your insurer has by then declared your car totaled).

    Good luck, and welcome back among the living!
     
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  19. SDRick

    SDRick Active Member

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    #19 SDRick, Dec 22, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018
    While actual data is always helpful, the best and clearest "data" on hand at the moment is the fact you are uninjured! That in itself is strong and perhaps the only evidence you need to feel that the car is safe and the airbags should not have deployed!
     
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  20. bigroccrek

    bigroccrek Member

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    Thanks for the kind words and advice. I love my Model 3. Unfortunately with the holidays and the fact that I was in the hospital until last night I doubt I be able to get a clarification on repair of total from the insurance company in time to get the full $7500 credit but hey I still get teh credit for buying this car......don't I? Even if the insurance company totals it?
     
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