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Status Report, Vol. 47, No. 6 | August 14, 2012 Subscribe

Real-world small overlap crash results in driver facial injuries

Hollyn Mangione knows first hand the risks of a small overlap frontal crash. Driving her 2012 Kia Soul to a friend’s house on a clear evening last November, Mangione, 48, encountered an oncoming 1999 GMC Yukon that had veered into her lane on a rural road in Hanover County, Virginia.

"I looked up and saw the other vehicle coming toward me, and I remember thinking, is there someplace I can go? Can I get off the road? I took my foot off the accelerator trying to buy myself some time to make a decision. There wasn’t anywhere to go on this narrow road because it was tree-lined, and there was a big ditch.

Facial injuries in small overlap crash

"I remember thinking, please just stay in your lane," she recalls. "Once I heard the boom and felt it, I was unconscious."Afterward, she says "I remember the EMT holding my head and my telling her, 'That really hurts.' And saying to them, 'But I’m stuck over here where my knee is pinned in the car.' And then I don’t remember anything until they were putting IVs in, in the ambulance."

Mangione, who was using her safety belt, sustained facial injuries from contact with the Kia's door frame. She had a left facial fracture and laceration, concussion, whiplash, left eye injury and dental injuries. Crash damage to Mangione's small car was similar to damage patterns in the Institute's small overlap crash test. The driver's space was compromised by intruding structure. The A-pillar, hinge pillar and forward portion of the window frame were driven rearward and inboard as the wheel and tire were forced rearward. The side curtain and torso airbags didn't deploy.

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IIHS raises the bar with new crash test

Only 3 of 11 midsize luxury and near-luxury cars tested earn good or acceptable ratings in the Institute’s new small overlap frontal crash test. The test involves 25 percent of a vehicle's front end.

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