It's a miracle there were no fatalities.
Whether on the race track or normal roads, 2023 saw its fair share of harrowing car crashes, many of which were caught on video.
Authorities are pushing hard for the widespread use of technologies like speed-limiting devices to reduce the severity of crashes. Still, as some of these incidents prove, high speeds alone aren't always responsible for things unraveling. Driver error, unreliable or misused driver-assist technologies, and freak occurrences like a rogue truck tire flying across a highway also cause accidents.
Of course, speed is still a major factor in several crashes. It's worth noting that there were no known fatalities in any of these incidents, so with that said, let's recap some of the most heart-stopping moments this year in chronological order.
On January 3, a Tesla Model Y crashed and fell 250 feet off a cliff located at Devil's Slide on Highway 1 in California in what must have been a terrifying few moments for the family of four on board.
The mangled remains of the electric crossover make it hard to believe that the adults only suffered non-life-threatening injuries while the two children were unharmed. How the driver ended up leaving the road is unclear, but the Tesla's safety structure miraculously kept everyone safe.
"Got me seriously wanting to buy a Tesla," said rescue worker Brock Sommerset at the time. Like us, he was stunned at this unplanned and traumatic showcase for modern vehicle safety.
A destroyed example of the Toyota GR Corolla appeared online shortly after its launch.
The details surrounding this crash are a mystery, but a rollover seems likely based on the extensive damage to the hot hatchback's roof. Pictures of the car in a desert suggest the driver of this GR Corolla wanted a taste of life as a Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team driver.
Damage extends to the car's windscreen, hood, and front fender. It's a disappointingly premature end to the Corolla's life, one of the best-driving hot hatchbacks you can buy.
In what appears to be a clear case of reckless driving, two holidaymakers in Italy crashed a pair of Ferraris through a wall.
The road just before the impact has a sharp turn, and in video footage, we can see a few drivers navigate the bend at responsibly slower speeds. The 296 GTB and F12berlinetta drivers appeared not to slow down as both continued straight into a residential property mere seconds apart.
The F12berlinetta burst into flames moments after the impact, but despite the high speeds, both drivers escaped without significant injuries.
High speeds contributed to most incidents on this list, but the laws of physics had more to do with the minuscule Citroen Ami rolling after attempting to navigate the famous Monaco hairpin.
The Ami has a top speed of just 28 mph. Still, several factors counted against it here, including its high center of gravity, the acute angle of the curve, and the fact that the gravitational forces were working against the little car since it was going downhill, increasing the cornering Gs.
The Ami slammed into bollards on the sidewalk, which may have saved the lives of a few people standing/walking nearby. All that being said, there are quite a few people who believe this crash was a carefully orchestrated stunt.
In what must be one of the most shocking crash videos of the year, an older Chevrolet Silverado's left front wheel detached on the highway, and the wheel then rolled directly into the path of a Kia Soul. The Soul was flung 15 feet into the air, flipped, and landed hood-first onto the road. After rolling, the dreadfully unlucky Soul stops on its wheels, but the damage was considerable.
The incident was recorded by a Tesla driver's dashcam. The Tesla's Autopilot system kicked into gear automatically to avoid the tire that struck the Kia. The truck's wheels are to blame for the cause of this crash, with spacers possibly being installed, messing with the pickup's standard geometry and leading to the failure of one or more components. Remarkably, everyone walked away from this crash without serious injuries.
At Belgium's Spa-Francorchamps circuit earlier this year, things did not go well for Cadillac Racing.
Competing in the Hypercar class, Renger van der Zande ended up crashing into the barrier after trying to navigate Eau Rouge, two tricky corners along the circuit. The resultant crash ripped off the bodywork on one side, completely exposing the driver, but he still managed to walk away from the collision mostly unscathed.
According to a social media post from the FIA World Endurance Championship, the Cadillac lost power steering, leading to the crash.
We didn't immediately know what led to the monstrous BMW XM crashing at Pikes Peak, but the manufacturer released video evidence a few months later.
Stunt driver Matt Mullins was piloting the SUV when he lost control after running too wide through a corner, with the XM appearing to understeer. The hybrid SUV - which weighs over 6,000 lbs - left the road, hit a tree at high speed, and rolled. The vehicle was significantly damaged, and BMW's hopes of setting a new record were ruined, but at least Mullins was okay.
BMW later returned to Pikes Peak; this time, it set a new record for the fastest hybrid SUV to reach the top.
In August, a transporter traveling in Kent, England, overturned and sent nine supercars flying across the road. Only the driver was injured, and only minimally, in what could have been a much bigger disaster if there were other cars or people in the vicinity at the time.
The supercars are estimated to be worth over $1 million collectively, and the group includes a Lamborghini Aventador, Mercedes-AMG GT, Aston Martin DB11, and Bentley Continental.
This is probably the most violent of all the crashes on the list. During NASCAR's Coke Zero Sugar 400 regular season finale, Ryan Preece was behind the wheel of the No. 41 Ford when everything went horribly wrong.
After being struck from behind by another car, the Mustang went sideways before flipping 10 times. Despite rolling so many times and a fire breaking out when the car finally came to a rest, Preece was able to walk away from the incident without any major injuries.
Reports suggest that Preece was driving at around 190 mph when the crash started.
The most recent crash also occurred on a racing circuit, this time at Irwindale Speedway. James Deane was behind the wheel (talk about an ominous name for a racing driver), and the three-time Formula D champion ended up in a bit of a mess when drifting a Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5-FD. Deane was drifting alongside Matte Fields in a Corvette C6, and all initially appeared to be going well.
The C6 struck the S650 Mustang, pushing it into the side wall. However, the speed at which the Mustang was driven sent it onto its side, and it continued scraping along the fence on its side. Extensive damage to the body occurred, and we're sure some suspension components were finished, too.
There were several other crashes this year, but the damage either wasn't as severe as our top 10, or they made headlines for the specific cars involved rather than the crash itself. There was the one-of-330 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 wrecked by a pensioner, for instance, a vehicle that was not only rare but valued at over $3 million. Another rarity, a Pagani Zonda once owned by Lewis Hamilton, crashed in a tunnel in Wales, significantly damaging the carbon fiber body.
A "General Lee" 1969 Dodge Charger made famous in the TV show Dukes of Hazzard crashed in March after the driver lost control. These cars are popular with collectors, not to mention rare.
Finally, at least one Mustang S650 GT was totaled, and a Cruise robotaxi did no favors for the safety reputation of autonomous vehicles when it failed to yield to an approaching fire truck, crashing into it.