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Model S Driver Fatality in Winnipeg (car hit by dump truck)

Dbitter1

Journeyman Member
Dec 12, 2014
203
7
Chicago, IL
A very sad incident, indeed. Condolences.

Does anyone have more details? The picture looks like he took a hard T-bone, one of the hardest crashes due to lack of crumple zone... but it looks like the roof support pillars are out in front, too. The science of exactly what failed here is certainly important... not only structural, but if EBS had any effect as well.

It is so very reassuring to see that the CEO of the company so boldly stands behind safety as a prime directive (e.g. at the MX launch event and interviews elsewhere) rather than profit margin. I hope we can make things even better.
 

RiverBrick

Active Member
Mar 23, 2014
2,513
1,721
Mount Washington Valley
...The picture looks like he took a hard T-bone, one of the hardest crashes due to lack of crumple zone... but it looks like the roof support pillars are out in front, too. The science of exactly what failed here is certainly important... not only structural, but if EBS had any effect as well...

It is possible rescue crews cut open parts of the car as well. Imagine the weight of the truck if it was full of sand and salt. Also, I wonder if the plow was one of those arrow-shaped ones.
 

Rockster

Active Member
Oct 22, 2013
3,010
4,614
McKinney, TX
Truly heartbreaking, especially this time of year. There's something especially saddening about losing a loved one during the holiday season.

- - - Updated - - -

Does the title of the article seem a bit biased to you ? "...after car collides with dump truck"? And even the second description, "crashed with a dump truck." It isn't until the third reference (by which time most readers have tuned out) that the events are described as the dump truck hitting the car.

I guess I should be happy that "Tesla" isn't in the headline. I guess that's an improvement over past media coverage.
 

green1

Active Member
Mar 25, 2014
4,548
1,121
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
My condolences to those who knew the driver or their family. The Tesla is an amazingly safe car, but it is not immune to the laws of physics, being t-boned by a dump truck at any significant speed is pretty close to unsurvivable.

Another sad reminder to keep our eyes open and drive defensively, especially in winter when both our, and other vehicles' stopping distances are increased.
 

Cyclone

Cyclonic Member ((.oO))
Jan 12, 2015
5,058
1,143
Charlotte, NC
Tesla T-Boned and driver killed in Winnipeg, Canada

My condolences to the family. Nobody should ever have to go through this.

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/manitoba/man-67-dies-after-car-collides-with-dump-truck-in-winnipeg-1.3375935

Other than the stolen Tesla changed by police in California and splitting in two, is this the only fatality in the S? The prior case was an understandable one-off case given the high speed chase and the brazenness of the criminal. This is much more likely to happen to the rest of us.
 

Cyclone

Cyclonic Member ((.oO))
Jan 12, 2015
5,058
1,143
Charlotte, NC
I think I have heard of couple of other people die from driving off of cliffs (not that the Tesla was to blame).

Oh yeah. I remember that highway in California with the unrailed curves. As you said, speeding there and going over the side is one of those one-off cases. Thanks!
 

Dbitter1

Journeyman Member
Dec 12, 2014
203
7
Chicago, IL
Unfortunately it's impossible to build a practical car strong enough to survive being t-boned by a dump truck.

I disagree, until we know the exact circumstances.

You can make a car out of a structure that just doesn't deform (e.g. less ductile than nearly anything else out there), like a Sherman tank. However, this means that on a head to head collision on something with as much mass (e.g. Tank vs fully loaded dump truck is probably pretty close) you are facing a VERY sudden deceleration- like 100G or so, which would cause concussions, etc, and kill you dead. So we add crumple zones, which try to greatly reduce that, by absorbing some of the forces; airbags to help cushion the impact of the body, etc.

I've always respected that the battery pack is a pretty solid mass, and probably doesn't deform very much with regards to protecting the passenger space from a T-bone, where the frunk would normally save you. My interest here is what ACTUALLY happened... lets go to an extreme, and say I welded an I-beam mad-max style onto the side, and then ran said dump truck at a moderate 20MPH directly into the side. Ignore the airbags and G force for a moment... the force would unlikely deform the cabin much beyond the depth of the plow (as the plow is about a car length wide, and the I beam would hypothetically catch the entire plow , so the force would be distributed over the 18' or so of the car), and likely knock the car out of the way, eventually pushing it aside or allowing the driver to slow. Some flying glass, possibly, but tempered for minimal damage beyond surface tissue. In THIS case the G force would be the largest probable hit, and at a moderate speed, would likely be whiplash and maybe a concussion if no airbags, but probably not enough for fatality.

Now we know that mad-max stuff is likely unlikely to be approved for public use, and isn't pretty to the majority of the populace... but it poses an interesting discussion that much like the torque on a MS blows the average ICE out of the water, we now can discuss something coming close to that with crash testing... as opposed to the average ICE, which folds like a cheap card table.

There are a LOT of fun reasons to have a Tesla, but one of the more priceless things is the safety factor... my family doesn't have a price tag, and even if money was irrelevant, I can't think of a car I'd rather be in (or have my family in) if this kind of horror was completely inevitable.

The computer assistance options, as we advance in science, can also help beyond that of the human response time. No blame to Tesla today, of course, but would a large dump truck NOT show up on a radar, with a collision vector to the MS? As we advance with this, with autonomous driving, we are going to be safer and safer on the road. I'm very proud to be a shareholder to a company advancing this end.

Again, condolences that where we are today, wasn't enough, today (er, yesterday).
 

Cyclone

Cyclonic Member ((.oO))
Jan 12, 2015
5,058
1,143
Charlotte, NC
Thank you to the mod who merged my thread in here. I searched for "Winnipeg crash" before creating the thread, but didn't search for "fatality" to find Kevin's.

The result of the investigation should be interesting. In the meantime, I'll say a prayer for the family.
 

Doug_G

Lead Moderator
Apr 2, 2010
17,881
3,351
Ottawa, Canada
I disagree, until we know the exact circumstances.

You can make a car out of a structure that just doesn't deform (e.g. less ductile than nearly anything else out there), like a Sherman tank. However, this means that on a head to head collision on something with as much mass (e.g. Tank vs fully loaded dump truck is probably pretty close) you are facing a VERY sudden deceleration- like 100G or so, which would cause concussions, etc, and kill you dead. So we add crumple zones, which try to greatly reduce that, by absorbing some of the forces; airbags to help cushion the impact of the body, etc.

I've always respected that the battery pack is a pretty solid mass, and probably doesn't deform very much with regards to protecting the passenger space from a T-bone, where the frunk would normally save you. My interest here is what ACTUALLY happened... lets go to an extreme, and say I welded an I-beam mad-max style onto the side, and then ran said dump truck at a moderate 20MPH directly into the side. Ignore the airbags and G force for a moment... the force would unlikely deform the cabin much beyond the depth of the plow (as the plow is about a car length wide, and the I beam would hypothetically catch the entire plow , so the force would be distributed over the 18' or so of the car), and likely knock the car out of the way, eventually pushing it aside or allowing the driver to slow. Some flying glass, possibly, but tempered for minimal damage beyond surface tissue. In THIS case the G force would be the largest probable hit, and at a moderate speed, would likely be whiplash and maybe a concussion if no airbags, but probably not enough for fatality.

Yes, of course we don't know the exact circumstances; however, the damage to the vehicle shown in that picture is significant.

There's an inherent limit to how much crumple zone you can put into the side of a passenger car; you can't make the sides of the car ridiculously thick. There's always much more room for crumple zones front/back. So the designers are faced with tradeoffs; the side needs to be rigid enough to prevent intrusion into the cockpit, while crumpling enough to absorb energy. That means they can't protect against all possible impacts; there will be a threshold impact level above which the crash will not be survivable. The speed required will be lower with a heavy truck, as most of the energy will be transferred into the car.

Given the Model S crash ratings, it must be among the best cars on the road for side impact collisions. Even so, there will be worst-case collisions that it cannot protect against.
 

DavidB

2010 Roadster Sport || 2013 S85 || 2017 X100D
Jul 8, 2013
764
796
Silver Spring, MD
So sad. I'm so sorry for the family.

----

This is actually the 5th death of a driver of a Tesla Model S that I know of. I am not aware of any passenger deaths. I am not aware of any Roadster deaths.

- Thief, unbuckled, sliding sideways at 100+ mph into a light pole.
- Two unrelated owners driving off cliffs. At least one of the owners was buckled in.
- Owner, unbuckled, driving into a culvert. Possibly asleep, possibly intoxicated.
- Owner broadsided by a dump truck.
 
Last edited:

Andyw2100

Well-Known Member
Oct 22, 2014
6,542
2,393
Ithaca, NY
Not to take this thread off-topic, but just to provide some perspective, for those who may have missed it...

Below is a thread started less than two weeks ago by a driver who was T-boned in a Tesla Model S at 45-50 MPH. He came away with only minor injuries, and wrote that he thought that were it not for the Model S, he may not have survived the crash. (I bolded some parts of parts of the first post.)

What a day ....

While driving my 8 week old Pearl White fully optioned P85D to work this morning I was T-boned at approximately 45-50 mph on the driver's side by a young lad who blew through a red light without any attempt at slowing down.

The brunt of the impact was taken by the driver's door which, along with the passenger door, are almost entirely crumpled in. The frame has been severely bent, all airbags deployed and the car was shifted laterally along the rode from the force of the impact. I'm not sure if I lost consciousness or not but have since been released from the ER with bruised ribs, a concussion and a severely sprained wrist. Otherwise I walked away unscathed.

I guess the only point I need to make , without sounding preachy, is to cherish what you have for every second...I can't imagine not having coming home to my two girls and think that might have been the case had I not been driving a Model S. I've treated severe MVA trauma and know how many T-bone accidents end and to say I was fortunate is the understatement of the year. I think that thought might linger in my mind for some time.

<Snip>

but thanks Elon for building a car that could well have saved my life today..
 

Cyclone

Cyclonic Member ((.oO))
Jan 12, 2015
5,058
1,143
Charlotte, NC
So sad. I'm so sorry for the family.

----

This is actually the 5th death of a driver of a Tesla that I know of. I am not aware of any passenger deaths.

- Thief, unbuckled, sliding sideways at 100+ mph into a light pole.
- Two unrelated owners driving off cliffs.
- Owner, unbuckled, driving into a culvert. Possibly asleep, possibly intoxicated.
- Owner hit by a dump truck.

That's good. Only the last one is something really "out of the driver's control". Thanks!
 

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