What are Crumple Zones?

Your car’s crumple zone may one day save your life, so it is valuable to know what it is. The earliest known example of an intentional crumple zone in a vehicle was in a late 1950’s Mercedes. These days of course a great many car makers claim to incorporate them into their car designs with various claims about the safety advantages they confer.
What are crumple zones?

Crumple zones in cars

Put simply, crumple zones are a design feature of an automobile. They have the primary function of absorbing the energy from a collision and the secondary role of slowing the actual force of a collision. They are part of the car’s design (physically, they are part of the body of a car) and are designed to ‘crumple’ under impact, rather than retain their structural integrity and therefore resist the force being applied to them. This means that only this smaller area crumples, keeping the passenger area intact.

How do crumple zones work?

Crumple zones keep you safer in several ways.

  • A crumple zone is designed to deform upon impact so that the energy from the crash is transferred into the body work, rather than being transmitted into the body of the occupants
  • It is also designed so that deformation of the cabin area will be limited. Put in very simple terms this is achieved by strengthening the inner cabin area of the design and making the outer body parts ‘softer’.
  • This sort of design helps the speed differential (ie the difference between the speed that you were traveling at before the impact compared to the sudden decrease in speed on collision) so that an occupant’s motion is arrested and they aren’t thrown through windows or smashed against the car’s interior
  • In a secondary sense it also helps slow down any accident, which in turns helps occupant safety and driver recovery

A common misconception about crumple zones is that it makes the car ‘weak’ because the body is seen to more easily deform, and they are therefore less safe. In actual fact this is far from true and you can look at the Nashville Auto Repair

Crumple zones and safety

You can think of crumple zones as being a part of the car which sacrifices itself for your safety! The crumple zone gets squashed so that the cabin which contains passengers does not have to. Cars with crumple zones position them around the engine bay and boot, whilst the cabin is made from stronger materials. Testing has shown that crumple zones have greatly added to the safety properties of modern cars, which should reassure you if your vehicle has one.