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Model 3 potentially totaled by car running from the police, airbags didn't deploy...

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by gdwsk, Jul 31, 2018.

  1. gdwsk

    gdwsk Member

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    [​IMG]
    TLDR: I was struck by a driver running from the police. Tesla's recommended body shop didn't have capacity to take it in, but they did say that it looks to be totaled. I'm kind of worried that my airbags didn't deploy. Not sure what next steps to take.

    On July 11, less than a month after taking delivery of my Model 3, I was driving the <5 miles home from work. Approximately 0.5 miles from home, I was making a left-hand turn at a stop light from a single, dedicated left-turn lane. I had a green light and there was no oncoming traffic, so I began my turn. Halfway through the turn, I was struck on my front-left by a car that came from behind me and tried to pass me on my left. Next thing I knew, I was on the other side of the intersection, facing the opposite direction. My airbags didn't deploy, and I banged my head on the steering wheel a couple times. I was barely able to crack my door open enough to squeeze out. My front-left wheel came off entirely. Here's an attempted drawing of the situation.

    The other car, I found out, had been running from the police (LAPD) for quite a few miles, but had lost them in traffic. After hitting me, his car got slightly airborne and grazed a stoplight pole before losing a wheel and continuing down the street to hit another car and come to rest. The driver was immediately taken to the hospital (compound fracture in his leg). Turns out he doesn't have insurance (big surprise).

    My biggest concern is that my airbags didn't deploy in this situation. Had I been half a second quicker making the turn, he would have struck my door, potentially causing much more serious injuries than the whiplash and abrasions on my forehead. I've reached out to the three Tesla contacts I have from the ordering and delivery processes, but haven't heard a word from anyone. Would love to get advice from you guys.
     
    • Informative x 4
  2. hoang51

    hoang51 Member

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    It's probably because you were hit where sensor(s) weren't able to detect a significant risk of injury to deploy air bags. But it would be good to reach out to higher management contacts in Tesla, last resort Elon Musk to get a better understanding why the air bags didn't deploy. But I wouldn't be surprised if it's similar to my guess.
     
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  3. derekmw

    derekmw Member

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    Man, what a terrible situation. So sorry to hear but glad you're not seriously injured.
     
  4. ewoodrick

    ewoodrick Active Member

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    While I'm wondering why they didn't deploy as well...

    It may be advantageous that they didn't deploy. You didn't indicate any serious injury, which is an indication that they didn't need to deploy. If they had deployed, it would have been possible that you may have received worse injuries. Airbags deploy like a ton of bricks and can cause serious injuries, but still save you from life-threatening injuries.
     
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  5. Ejl80

    Ejl80 Supporting Member

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    Airbags are programmed to only deploy in circumstances that they would be needed. Example, if no one is in the passenger seat it won't deploy the passenger airbag. etc.
     
  6. C141medic

    C141medic Supporting Member

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    I would think the front (steering wheel) airbag should’ve at least deployed to prevent the driver from hitting his head on the steering wheel. Here’s a very informative article:
    Air Bags
     
    • Like x 2
  7. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

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    Did your seatbelt tighten up? When my airbags in my S deployed, my seatbelt sucked me against my seat too which would help prevent head hitting I would think.

    I know the seatbelts tightened because I was still stuck up against the seat after the accident and had to unbuckle to move.

    I would be concerned if your belt didnt perform the same.
     
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  8. mongo

    mongo Well-Known Member

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    First off, glad you are ok.

    You were in a highly atypical accident. The impact was in the forward direction and located at the front left corner.From a motion point of view, the impact straightened out the direction of travel. The SRS system would not be tuned for this situation.
    From the article @C141medic posted
    Air bags are not designed to help when you are rear-ended since the impact force pushes you into the seat. In those cases, their only benefit would be during the rebound event. (Or if you then collide with a vehicle in front, in which case you would not want them to deploy prematurely)
     
    • Informative x 4
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  9. Zidarich

    Zidarich Member

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    Glad you’re okay!

    If it makes you feel any better, my first real solo car purchase was a dark grey Mini Cooper S with a black roof just about 15 years ago when they were first coming out. My memory’s never been great, but I think I remember having to wait a while for that car as well. Finally got it and LOVED it.

    Not too long after getting it, I got it parked behind work, and a DHL delivery truck skids on the ice, hits it, and runs (someone got the plate).

    Finally gets fixed, and it’s sitting half out of the garage in front of the body shop in Paterson, NJ, when a dude running from the police drives up on the sidewalk, hits the car, knocks it into a car parked on the street, and comes close to totaling it.

    So your car my be ****ed, but at least it hasn’t gotten wrecked a second time by a police chase while AT the body shop (Well, at least not yet).
     
    • Funny x 9
  10. boiler81

    boiler81 Member

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    Glad you didn't get any serious injury. As stated above it maybe the impact angle didn't warrant air bag deployment. Did your glove box open, or otherwise did the car detect the accident?
     
    • Like x 1
  11. apacheguy

    apacheguy S Sig #255

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    ^this. If the crash was severe enough to cause the drivers head to bang into the steering wheel, then that air bag should definitely have deployed. Would be good to see Tesla release an official statement to explain why they did not deploy.
     
    • Disagree x 2
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  12. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Active Member

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    I flipped my father's '96 E34 BMW, and the airbag(s) didn't deploy, so I don't think the airbags not deploying is indicative of a failure of some sort (or maybe it was in my case?)

    Either way, sorry to see your Model 3 in such a state, and glad you're okay.
     
  13. John Beans

    John Beans Member

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    Airbags are timed to explode as you are knocked forward from a front collision.
    They don't stay inflated for bounce-arounds. They have big vents that quickly let the gases out.
    It's a finely-timed event.
     
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  14. mongo

    mongo Well-Known Member

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    The head hitting wheel was not from the initial impact, it was the rebound. Rear end collisions do not deploy airbags, however the belt should tighten to reduce the chance of such thing happening. I was rear ended with enough force to brake the seat back ratchet mechanism and destroyed my car's front suspension on the curb (was in the process of turning right into a shopping plaza) without airbag deployment...

    www.icbc.com/about-icbc/newsroom/Documents/airbags.pdf
     
    • Like x 1
  15. Quickstart88

    Quickstart88 Member

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    Glad you are okay and super sad that your ride is a mess up. I am sure you are barely had to chance to really enjoy it.
    Just curious how insurance paid out. If it's total lost, will they consider EAP cost (if you did purchase) and will they factor in EAP cost.
    Let us know. I am curious myself.
     
  16. Adm

    Adm Active Member

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    Airbags are not always supposed to deploy.

    Australian Autoexpert doesn't like Tesla, but he makes very interesting video's from time to time. The one below is about airbags.

     
    • Informative x 3
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  17. Fusion

    Fusion Member

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    Bright side, you could order the AWD or P version now.
     
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  18. NathanielHrnblwr

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    San Diego (Oceanside)
    Glad you’re ok.

    That car is definitely totalled.
     
  19. JeffK

    JeffK Well-Known Member

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    In looking at the crash, I have to agree with the car in that the airbags should not go off in that situation.
     
  20. clostridium

    clostridium Supporting Member

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    I don't know the specifics of the safety systems in the Model 3 but airbags are triggered by acceleration sensors. The nature of this crash didn't generate enough acceleration to set off the front or side airbags. It was a glancing blow that caused crumpling of the external portion of the car. There does not appear to be any significant passenger compartment intrusion. There wasn't enough perpendicular force on the left side of the car to setoff the lateral sensors and not enough force forward/backwards to trigger those sensors either.

    Furthermore, front airbags are primarily designed to protect people who are not wearing safety belts. Having them go off in crashes that don't involved enough front/back impact could cause harm or death in occupants. Side airbags are helpful whether restrained or not but are also primarily focused on unrestrained occupants.
     
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