Tesla vs Honda head on collision

This doesn't look good. Not sure that it is a model S. anyone have an update?

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Two people were killed and one person was injured in a head-on collision in Laguna Beach Tuesday.

Authorities say a Honda and a Tesla collided on Laguna Canyon Road at 6:43 a.m. Both fatal victims were in the Honda. The driver of the Tesla was rushed to a local hospital in unknown condition.

The cause of the accident has not yet been determined. Laguna Canyon Road was shut down between El Toro Road and State Route 73 due to the crash investigation.

DEVELOPING: We will add more details to this report as they become available.

Speculation and rumor is not good.

There are several victims out there and this could just make it more difficult for them.

Prayers to the 2 people who died.

I used to drive a '97 Honda Accord for 13 years before I switched to Camry and then to my Model S.

Very sorry to hear of this loss of life, and our prayers go out to their families in the wake of this tragedy.

Sadly, accidents do occur, but as this case demonstrates, people will in time come to realize just how much safer the Model S architecture truly is.

The Accord is an excellent car, but 3X the crumple zone in the Model S means 1/3 the G-force in a head-on collision. That was literally the difference between life and death.

The more people that drive this new architecture, the fewer traffic deaths we will experience as a society.

This is the most compelling reason I bought one for my wife.

Very sad. Makes me more careful now, esp since my last crash 5 years back due to
Gazing down at stock quotes on my iPhone and colliding at 15 mph into the back of an SUV.

Amazing how much damage can result even at 15 mph. I almost cried when I saw the damage I had caused.
Luckily, no serious injuries to anyone that time.

That is why I tend to use the black screen web page on main screen as much as I can.

Also, on a related note, I plan to put small hot glue 'dots' on the bezel at the bottom of the main screen.
Sort of 'Braille-esque' ergonomic assistance to an important safety button: the front window defogger.

When returning from a skiing trip to Tahoe recently, the weather was treacherous and I needed frequent use of the button when with family in fast traffic on a hilly, slippery road. I was in my Acura though.

With the above fix, I hope to be able to feel for the defogger button position along the bezel at the bottom, then hit the button without taking my eyes off the road.

Rumors elsewhere seem to indicate the Mercedes driver threw a cup at the Tesla causing it to swerve...

Not to sound morbid, but I do hope we can get a better look at the damage to the MS. As we can plainly see the horrific damage done to the Honda, this would at least seem to back Elons safety claims.

there is a pic here

a lot of damage in the frontm, but the driver is supposed to have opened the door and walked out with minor injuries

@Vawlkus - Don't feel bad. You're not alone.

@psirnes - Thanks! That was very informative. Specifically, the pics are on this post:

Folks, I was personally involved in a road rage a few days ago. I had passed this Audi driver with plenty of room to spare (I had not cut him off or anything like that). As a matter of fact, I got stopped at a red light up ahead and made sure to keep to the left part of my lane as it appeared to me in my rear view mirror that he might be wanting to make a right turn at the light. What happened after was shocking to me and a friend I had in the car with me. He raced from behind to my right and swerved left in front of me to block me, opened his door and started going postal. I did not engage so as not to escalate.

My friend was just as shocked as i was and remarked that it I had not done anything to enrage him but that he was obviously a Tesla hater.

So folks, be careful out there. You will find people who are envious in a bad way, people who wants to race, etc. just be careful.

That makes me wonder if other cars are misinterpreting our brake lights when regen kicks in.

Captain_Zap, I worry about the same thing. When passing and merging back I try not to let up too hard for just that reason. But you can only go so far with managing this before it would distract us from the actual business of driving safely.

gimp_dad - For that reason I usually set regen to low when going on the freeway. Unless I'm mistaken (I have watched the car's icon that shows what lights illuminate), with regen in low the max regen is 30Kw, which does not activate brake lights. I also like the feel for coasting better.

I have also been in a major head on collision in a model S although no where near as bad or tragic as this. In my case a Chevy chevette lost control and crossed double yellow lines and hit me head on. It was a nasty snowy day on a 50 mph stretch of road. Due top conditions everyone was driving cautiously and my speed was somewhere between 30 and 40. Both our airbags fired. My knee airbag also fired. Both I and the guy who hit me were taken to the hospital but in my case it was purely precautionary. I have not been in touch with the other driver but Inthink he is ok although probably not totally uninjured. He seemed pretty banged up at the scene (conscious and talking but not moving much). I was totally uninjured and not even sore the next day as the dr suggested I might be. This is an amazing car. It completely did it's job in keeping me totally safe.

@cwarner, glad to hear you're ok. What happen to the Tesla?

@Cattledog - the brake lights are based on how fast you decelerate, and 30kW of braking is going to slow you down more in mph at lower speeds than at higher speeds since there is so much more kinetic energy at high speeds.

If you don't mean to decelerate much, don't lift completely off the throttle -- no need to dial regen back.

@cwarner - glad you and the other driver are ok. Any chance you can tell the story on the fixing of the Tesla, who does it, how long does it take, how did the insurance handle, etc.. As there is only one place for parts and I limited venues for service its not clear as to what this path is.

What a tragedy. My prayers go out to the victims of this crash and their families.

I heard a fascinating story from a Tesla salesman back in 2010. This was before the S was out, and they were only selling carbon fiber roadsters. Note, carbon fiber is ten times as strong as steel!

I asked if any Roadsters had been in accidents yet. He said there had been no fatalities in a Roadster up to that point. One sales person was driving a Roadster after work one day, slammed into a guard rail and broke his arm in the incident.

The other big accident that had happened was a head-on collision of a Roadster (again, carbon fiber), and a Volkswagon Tourag (a large, aluminum and steel SUV). It occured at around 60mph.

All 4 passengers in the Tourag died on impact. The two passengers in the Tesla walked away with no injuries at all. The Tourag was crumpled like the Honda in the pics above. The Roadster's hood panel had sustained so much force that it snapped in one spot. It was replaced, and the car was otherwise fine.

This is an important lesson about these cars that the public probably won't be aware of for a long time! They are not only faster than ICE's, they're structurally superior as well.

Obviously the Model S is not made out of carbon fiber, but it's battery design makes the car way stronger than any ICE on the road.

"The Roadster's hood panel had sustained so much force that it snapped in one spot. It was replaced, and the car was otherwise fine."

Hood damage only while the other car was totaled? Doesn't add up...

@ivosper - that has a bogus story. The issue is that you have to dissipate an enormous amount of kinetic energy, and you do that by deforming materials, or ejecting them at high speed. Back in the 60s, they kept making racing cars sturdier and sturdier, to the point that the only deformable object was the driver himself. Unsurprisingly, with all of the energy of a collision focused on the driver, many drivers died. Then they figured out how to dissipate the energy, and now you have drivers involved in very high speed accidents walking away with minor injuries.

Carbon fiber is extremely strong, but only in its design axis. You give it force from a direction it wasn't designed for, then it shatters into tiny carbon fiber shards. That part is good, as you are dissipating some of the energy. But there is no way snapping the hood in one place would dissipate the amount of energy it would take to total a Touareg. The primary way you dissipate that energy is by deforming the metal structure of the car, and the fact that the Model S has no engine means you have more room to do that for frontal impacts.

@jat - Yeah, I don't buy that either. While the Roadster body was carbon fiber, the chassis was, IIRC, largely an unmodified Lotus Elise. It, unlike the Model S, was not designed to the same rigor of crashworthiness.

I think you folks may be thinking about the 3-way accident between a Roadster, a Prius, and a Tourag as described here:
The good news is that no one was seriously injured in this accident.
The Roadster is quite safe for a small car too!

@Earl - That certainly sounds like the genesis of this urban legend. That picture is a far cry from what @ivosper describd where the hood snapped but everything else was fine...

@shop and @noel.smyth,
The car was not damaged enough to be totaled so it is at a body shop recommended by Tesla. Insurance is happening per usual but I expect there may be some hassle given no secondary market for parts if the are unhappy with Tesla part prices. Well see. By the way I misspoke. Themotherncar was a Cacalier not a Chevette.

I meant to say the other car was a Cavalier not a Chevette.

My heart goes out to everyone in this terrible accident. The families of those killed, and the Tesla driver who will have this over him forever (regardless of what actually happened).

This story has made me slow down and drive more normally. The car is wicked fast and a blast to drive, however that type of driving isn't worth the potential consequences.


@cwarner - seems that we are getting a lot of anecdotal evidence that the S is an unusually safe car. Too bad the government won't release the official results until later this year ( Until then, we do have this video (audio hard to hear, of the S engineering crash tests, and evidence such as your crash.

Just one more great reason to own a Model S.

Oddly enough, the last time I was driving on Laguna Canyon Road (Laguna Beach, CA.) about a month ago at night, someone going the opposite direction, flashed their brights at me, and then swerved in my direction (deliberately). I think the HID headlights appear to some as though we have our brights on (especially if the other driver is right next to you heading the other direction, on a one lane highway).

Like I said earlier in this thread, that road has a really bad reputation and has for decades! In fact, the city will not give a full liquor-license to any establishment anywhere on that road, for the very reason that it is so dangerous.

This comment is from the Laguna Beach newspaper:

8:25 pm on Wednesday, April 3, 2013
My boyfriend was the only one at the time on the other side of the road just seconds before this all happened. He was at the light facing these 2 cars on the opposite side and said they were reving their engines and took off at high speeds racing. He said there was definitely a sporty mercedes involved because he saw them. Apparently after they took off racing he was watching them in his rear view mirror and said right when the lane merged he saw the tesla veer and then he couldnt see them anymore. Rifht away he said he had a bad feeling and hoped nothing happened. The scary part is that if he was just a few seconds later it would have been him that was hit. It is a very scary feeling. These 2 drivers should both be held responsible for these 2 innocent mens deaths. I could not imagine what these 2 mens families are going through. It makes me so horribly sad to see things like this happen.

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