Back in 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration didn’t require manufacturers to test their car’s resistance to rollover crashes. They were a lot more forgiving back then. However, that didn’t stop certain manufacturers from checking their cars themselves, just to see how safe their customers would be in case of such an unfortunate incident. One of them was BMW that not only checked its cars but actually built an entire facility to put its vehicles to the test.
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The video below showcases the three separate tests a car is subjected to before being approved for production. The first test replicates the conditions that would ultimately lead to ramp-induced rollover. In the industry, this is called the ‘corkscrew’ test because of the car’s trajectory while rolling over. This could occur, for example, when a vehicle is pushed into a barrier.
The second type of test is the sand pit test. This simulates what can happen when a vehicle slides sideways off the road and ends up rolling on its side and eventually on the roof. Last but not least, we have the embankment test. This will try to replicate the car’s trajectory when going off the road into a ditch or a steep downhill. The video showcases the BMW X6 and its safety features. However, all the technology shown here is currently available on all models, not just the Sports Activity Coupe.
Cars these days come with rollover sensors that analyze angular rates and angular acceleration in order to deploy the head protection system that keeps the passengers safe and sound. If they detect a rollover is imminent, the seat belts are also automatically pre-tensioned to handle the accident even better. What should also be mentioned is that in the meantime – the video below was shot in 2011 – the NHTSA introduced rollover testing for all manufacturers as standard and some are still showing poor performance.