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Crumple Zones and Making Them More EffectiveTheodore GuoStoller Middle School AbstractCrumple Zones currently aren’t adequate enough, as many people die every day from fatal car crashes. We can stop this and make crumple zones more effective by improving the design and/or improving the materials used for crumple zones. Another solution is just to minimize crashes in all. Trying to reduce drunk driving, putting reflective material at cliffs, this is all part of trying to minimize crashes.Crumple Zones and Making Them More EffectiveTwo cars. One’s left side shattered. The other’s hood crumpled. Smoke rising from the hood. Flames start to lap hungrily at the devastated engine. The wail of sirens shatters the dark night. The number one prevention of fatalities is the crumple zone. located on the front and the back of all cars, the crumple zone is designed to crumple on impact and take force off the occupant. Still, more than 3,000 people die and 46,000 people are injured each day with crumple zones in place (Association For International Road Travel, 2002, Road Crash Statistics). Can the crumple zone be improved? Crumple zones are sometimes made into honeycomb shapes, as they can provide stiffness in usual conditions but crumple on impact. For example, the crumple zone can provide a shield during normal conditions (hail, sleet, etc.), but crumple when a direct force is applied to the front or aft longitudinal structure, in an attempt to transfer the force directed at the occupants of the automobile into the crumple zone, therefore helping to prevent injuries (Grabianowski, 2008, para. 5). Simple designs for crumple zones can include frame segments built in, their purpose to bend certain areas or collapse onto themselves, helping to redistribute the massive force involved in a crash. Complex crumple zones utilize a bevy of metals, composites, and plastics, all carefully engineered to absorb as much force as possible (Grabianowski, 2008, para. 5). However, keeping people safe isn’t that easy as making the whole vehicle crumple. Engineers and designers have to consider factors in designing safer cars such as vehicle size and weight, frame stiffness and the type of stresses the car is likely to be exposed to. For example, racing cars obviously experience far greater impacts than street cars, and SUVs crash harder than smaller cars, due to the mass of the car (Grabianowski, 2008, para. 5). Current crumple zones are in place, and may seem helpful when they are advertised, showing off all the materials and hard work designers undertook to make them, but if so, why do more than 3000 people lose their lives every day to car crashes? Preparing for a crash is one thing, but another thing is to prevent crashes entirely. Most fatal crash reasons are the failure to stay in your own lane. This can lead to overcorrection, skidding, and the eventual crash (Speiser, 2015, para.2).Another factor of crashes is weather. Weather includes sleet, hail, snow and other forms of precipitation that can affect driving. Snow and sleet can make the road slippery and perilous to go out in, but there is always the need to drive to work (Speiser, 2015, para. 12). Fog, however, is a different matter. Fog, especially low fog, can literally reduce your vision to zero. Then, the only thing you might see before you crash into another car is the blinding headlights or red tail lights. But along the coasts, snow is still deadlier than fog. This is in states like Oregon, California, and South Carolina (Speiser, 2015, para.13). Weather can have a drastic consequence on driving and crashes, as mentioned above. You can even die from crashing over the edge, as fog and other forms of low hanging clouds can disorient your sense of direction. A solution to this is have glowing fences along the side of the road bordering the sea or  a cliff or something dangerous that someone disoriented could fall down, and put the glowing fences there to warn drivers not to go that way. There are also other causes to dying in car crashes, weather aside. This ranges from road rage to driving intoxicated. However, deaths caused by crashes are steadily decreasing, which is a good thing. But every day means more families are torn apart. One reason  that needs prevention is driving intoxicated. Even with the raised drinking age, from 18 to 21, people are still dying because adults choose to drink alcohol, and then drive (Locke, 2014, para.2). Road rage usually happens when traffic is very bad and someone needs to get somewhere fast. Then, instinct usually takes over, banning fair judgement. Then, cars can go wild, and people can die or be severely injured (“Road Rage Causes, Effects and Facts”, n.d., para.5). Another cause is careless driving. This is based off of humanities’ belief of their expertise of multitasking. Someone might be checking their phones, and then the situational awareness drops. Then, someone may die just because a careless driver had to check is texts (Speiser, 2015,para.6). Causes for car crashes extends beyond weather. A solution to drunk driving may be an app to remind people not to drive when they have just consumed liquor. Restaurant waiters serving alcohol can remind people who are drinking not to drive after consuming. There are many solutions, but few, if any, are in place. Frontal crumple zones can be improved by making all crumple zones honeycomb structures, using strong materials so more force can be transferred, but not too much force so that the force just goes through the crumple zone unmolested (Grabianowski, 2008, para. 5). Chances are, in a car, any car,  unless it is equipped with a leather interior package, most of the gear is made of plastic. This can have positive effects for car safety, as it can minimize cabin intrusion, which is one of the major signs that car safety needs to be ramped up (“Automobile Safety Using Plastics”, 2015, para.4). Crumple zones can also incorporate an accordion design that folds up and absorbs some of the shock transmitted in a car crash(“Automobile Safety Using Plastics”, 2015, para.7). A solution to stop fatalities is to make the cabin essentially a box of lightweight but durable plastic. Lightweight plastic can minimize fatalities in a rollover crash with the center of gravity, and in addition making the crumple zones more effective. The crumple zone can be improved, with plastics and composites. but that’s only a small step in the long path to eliminating fatalities in cars. If you would rather eliminate the causes of car crashes to a bare minimum, that would probably be more cost effective and people would feel safer on the road. ReferencesBlanco, J. (n.d.). Road Rage: Definition, Causes, Effects & Facts. Retrieved January 23, 2018, from, S. (2017, November 21). The Six Main Causes of Car Crashes-and How to Avoid Them This Thanksgiving. Retrieved January 16, 2018, from Protection Features. (n.d.). Retrieved January 10, 2018, from, E. (2017, November 14). Why Cars Are Safer Than They’ve Ever Been. Retrieved January 21, 2018, from, E. (2008, August 11). How Crumple Zones Work. Retrieved January 12, 2018, from, S. (2014, April 02). Why are fewer people dying in car crashes? Retrieved January 15, 2018, from, M. (2015, May 28). This map shows what causes the most fatal car crashes in each US state. Retrieved January 15, 2018, from, 2. P. (2017, November 02). Plastic Innovations Make a Safer Car. Retrieved January 17, 2018, from, 2. P. (2017, May 08). Plastics Used in Cars to Protect Your Loved Ones. Retrieved January 19, 2018, from, 2. P. (2017, November 02). Use of Recycled Plastics in Cars is Shifting into Overdrive. Retrieved January 19, 2018, from

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