This story isn’t necessarily about BMWs, but rather about modern cars in general. Safety has come a long way in recent decades, what with the advancements made in crumple zones. More complex passive safety features along with improvements in structural integrity have saved millions of lives. You can add Adrian Lund to that list as he lived to tell the story of how he survived a head-on collision.

If his name doesn’t ring a bell, he is a former president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute. For the better part of his career, his job was to make vehicles safer in the event of a crash. There’s more to car safety than airbags and seatbelts as a great number of factors can make the difference between life and death.

To say he survived out of pure luck would be wrong because a lot of research went into engineering his 2020 BMW 540i. Last August, while he was on his way to Savannah in Georgia, a car traveling the wrong way on the Interstate 95 caused a frontal impact. Lund was doing about 60-65 mph while the other vehicle was traveling at approximately 50 mph.

Had the accident occurred 10 years ago, the former IIHS president believes he wouldn’t have made it out alive. His BMW was a 2020 IIHS Top Safety Pick after getting good ratings in all six crashworthiness tests. Lund doesn’t remember the whole incident, but he explains there was more to the crash than just that head-on collision.

After two subsequent impacts, he remembers sitting in his car hanging upside down. Emergency rescue teams rushed over to the scene of the accident to cut the seatbelt and B-pillars and extract Lund from the wrecked 5 Series. You can tell by the frightening extent of the damage at the front the head-on collision was brutal.

Nevertheless, the former IIHS chief still had room to move his legs after the 540i came to a full stop. While he didn’t escape uninjured, here he is, telling how it happened. He suffered a leg contusion, a scratched arm, and a minor concussion. In addition, his neck is still troubling him from time to time. However, it could have ended a lot worse had he been in an older car. Since the head-on collision was followed by a rollover, the roof’s strength played a crucial role.

As for the other driver, she died after being ejected from her car. Coincidentally, that one too was a BMW, specifically a 2016 228i. However, she wasn’t wearing a seatbelt at the moment of impact.

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety