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Vehicle Safety and Steel

In the same time it takes to pop a balloon with a needle, your day can go from mundane to life changing. That’s how quickly a car crash can happen– in 67 milliseconds or less, about the length of time for a balloon pop. How your vehicle is designed to perform in a crash is crucial for your protection in split seconds.

The fact is, some cars fare better than others in a collision. Automakers are continually working to improve their vehicles’ crash performance because they want to deliver safe vehicles to you.  Over the past several years, the global steel industry has undertaken several projects whose purpose was to demonstrate the use of the newest generation of advanced high-strength steels to reduce vehicle mass, a key factor for fuel efficiency, and to improve crash and structural performances, at affordable costs for high volume production.  These projects, the UltraLight Steel Auto Body (ULSAB), the UltraLight Steel Auto Closures (ULSAC), Ultralight Steel Auto Suspensions (ULSAS), the UltraLight Steel Auto Body – Advanced Vehicle Concepts (ULSAB-AVC) and FutureSteelVehicle have all helped considerably in adding to the steel industry’s automotive customers’ effective use of steel in building safe vehicles. These concepts, designed by Porsche Engineering Services, Inc. (PES) and Lotus Engineering (ULSAS) took a quantum leap in steel design to produce safe vehicles that can be built affordably, and are more fuel efficient.

Nearly all vehicles on the road today are made of steel because it is the easiest and best material for designing safe vehicles. Steel is a material with a unique, inherent capacity to absorb an impact, and thus to diffuse crash energy. Steel can be engineered to collapse like an accordion. Most cars on the road today have a steel front end that performs like this. Steel also has the ability to become harder when it’s crushed, which means it will become stronger on impact, allowing the steel to absorb more energy. Most production vehicles launched to the market today use new generation, advanced high-strength steel and technologies, which will make a car not only safe, but also stronger and more fuel efficient.

One thing is certain: vehicle crashes happen. We all hope that we won’t ever be in one, accidents do happen. The best preparation to avoid serious injury is to demand and drive the safest vehicles designed with the best material for crash protection–advaned high-strength steel.