You can't do this in a lab.
Few automakers are as committed to vehicle safety as Volvo. In fact, the Swedish brand has even risked alienating prospective customers with some of its safety measures, including earlier this year when all its vehicles were limited to a top speed of 112 mph to reduce the chances of fatal car accidents.
In a new video shared by the carmaker, we were given more insight into Volvo's intense crash-testing program, and it's much more than your average barrier test. Designed to mimic more extreme crash scenarios, the Volvo Cars team used a crane to drop an XC40 SUV to the ground from a height of 30 meters (just under 100 feet).
The XC40 wasn't the only Volvo to undergo this test, with a shiny V60 wagon also destroyed and ten different Volvos in total involved in the test.
With extrication specialists close by, the test allowed these professionals to find the best tactics and tools to free occupants trapped in a severely damaged vehicle. Most of the time, ordinary crash tests allow the car's doors to be opened, but not every real-life crash unfolds this way, and this was the purpose of Volvo's dramatic test. Extrication specialists are often required in certain accidents such as high-speed collisions, when an accident involves a part of the vehicle where there are no energy-absorbing crumple zones, or when a car hits a truck.
Specialists said that in these worst-case crash scenarios, occupants are often severely injured and the so-called "golden hour" refers to the period of time between freeing them and getting them to the hospital to save their lives.
"We hope no one ever needs to experience the most severe accidents, but not all accidents can be avoided," explained Hakan Gustafson, senior investigator for the Volvo Cars Traffic Accident Research Team. "It is vital [that] there are methods to help save lives when the most severe accidents do happen."
Typically, these extrication specialists train on old vehicles from scrapyards, but since modern cars are constructed so differently, Volvo's test allowed them to analyze how a new vehicle behaves in a severe crash.
Along with the brand's efforts to minimize distractions for drivers, it's encouraging to see the bold steps taken to ensure that we're all better protected on the roads.