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That is certainly impressive. It reminds me of a Mercedes I saw a few years back. THe front was totally destroyed, but passenger area remained almost untouched.
 

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Hmm. Nav, cargo mat...some nice salvage items there for someone...

- ablank
 

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Roger, can you offer any more details on the wreck? Looks like the tree may have come into contact with the right front portion of the roof just in front of the sunroof. Maybe the force of the initial impact caused the rear of the 'X to lift and bring the right front portion of the roof into contact with the tree :confused: Also, do you think he was really doing just 55 mph or is it possible that the driver deliberately underestimated the speed of the crash in order to keep from getting in trouble with the police and his insurance company? Is 55mph the speed limit of the road where he wrecked? If so, my guess is he was probably doing more like 60-70 mph and doesn't want to admit to speeding. I'm not an accident investigator, but the damage looks a bit worse than I would have expected for 55mph. I myself (and seemingly everyone else on the road) usually drive at least 5-15 mph over whatever the posted limit is, but if I ever got in a wreck or pulleed over I would never admit to doing more than the posted limit. Of course the important thing is that the guy was able to walk away.
 

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I wouldn't be surprised if he was REALLY travelling 55. I have seen so many pictures of cars and trucks after hitting trees and I never cease to be amazed how much damage a seemingly bendable, fragile (as least as compared to a car!) thing like a tree can do to a car or truck.

Ain't we all glad we have a vehicle that can protect us....just in case what could happen happens.
 

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After 15 years in the fire service with many tree vs auto accidents I can say that this does not look like the usual incident. Now I must admit that most of my experiences have been with older cars and pickups.

Generally tree accidents have a very small impact zone (ie the diameter of the tree) and then spread from there. Also depending on how hard you hit it (55 mph is good enough) older cars will crump right back into the body area. This has caused many a driver to be killed or seriously injured.

The MDX in this case either hit a very large tree (ie wide as it was) or else does an extremly good job of spreading the impact across the destructable portions of the front end. Either way I would say this is a remarkable outcome even for a 55 mph accident.

I could detect no body cavity intrusion forward. An older car with a 55 mph accident to a tree could expect the area between the seat and the dash to be 12" or less. I have seen it 0.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'll try to get the details tomorrow, from what understood (second hand) the tree just fell right in front of him and he hit it across the front. The other damage to the top and rear would be by the limbs. I may have told you more than I know so I'll get the details and report back.
 

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Thanks Roger. I'll bet that he probably didn't impact the tree itself at 55mph. Perhaps he was cruising at around 55mph when he saw the tree, then slammed on the brakes, and hit the tree at a lower speed. I think if he had really hit it at 55mph the structure would be a lot more collapsed if he hit the tree cleanly.

Some fallen trees aren't flat on the ground, which might explain why there's comparatively a lot of damage above the bumper.

I'm not a forensic expert, but if you compare these photos to the shots of the MDX's IIHS crash test, you'll notice that the 40mph offset frontal crash test produced a lot more front-end compression. The test was offset but I'd think even a full-frontal impact would produce significant compression (which of course is what the vehicle is designed to do -- sacrifice the front end to absorb the energy and preserve the occupants behind it).

http://www.iihs.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/0113.htm
 

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WOW!!!!!!!

That is very impressive. But it's also depressing to see such a good looking vechicle go to waste. I have the nighthawk black just like that and to think if mine would ever be wrecked and look like that makes me want to cry. :( I'm glad to know that it would keep me and my kids safe as much as it could. I'm just going to pray that it never happens to me or anyone else.

Lmeans
 

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wmquan said:
I'm not a forensic expert, but if you compare these photos to the shots of the MDX's IIHS crash test, you'll notice that the 40mph offset frontal crash test produced a lot more front-end compression. The test was offset but I'd think even a full-frontal impact would produce significant compression (which of course is what the vehicle is designed to do -- sacrifice the front end to absorb the energy and preserve the occupants behind it).

http://www.iihs.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/0113.htm
Of course, that's a fixed concrete pillar, versus a tree of unknown size and flexibility/recoil. An interesting mystery for us sleuths...

- ablank
 

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RGWomack said:
I'll try to get the details tomorrow, from what understood (second hand) the tree just fell right in front of him and he hit it across the front. The other damage to the top and rear would be by the limbs. I may have told you more than I know so I'll get the details and report back.
Thanks, knowing that the tree was in the road makes the damage make a lot more sense.
 

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ablank said:


Of course, that's a fixed concrete pillar, versus a tree of unknown size and flexibility/recoil. An interesting mystery for us sleuths...

- ablank
No, it's not a concrete pillar. It is in fact a <b>deformable</b> aluminum honeycomb barrier which is designed to simulate the impact from another vehicle of approximately equal weight.
 

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I enjoyed reading the comments regarding the accident and damage to the vehicle. It is also interesting to read opinions of people who didn't witness the accident, weren't at the scene, nor have the specifics of what actually happened.

I am the driver of the "MDX totaled" posted by Roger. It was my wife's vehicle and we had it for exactly two weeks.

On December 13, 2001, I was on the way to pick up my wife from the airport when the accident occurred about 8:45 p.m.

I was traveling 55-60 mph as I came over a rise on a two lane road during a rain storm. The posted speed is 55 mph. It was also very windy (gusts to 45). Everything happened in a few short seconds. I saw something move at the top of my vision through the windshield as I topped the rise. A split second later I could see this large oak tree had fallen from the left side of the road (oncoming side), all the way across the road and 15+ feet onto the ground extending off the roadway to my right. I saw a fork in the tree slightly to the right of the center line and angled the vehicle towards it when I realized I had no chance of avoiding impact. I saw a lot of large branches sticking out towards the vehicle and was afraid they might come through the windshield and slid down in the seat as I pushed my left foot on the brake pedal just before the impact. I estimate my speed at impact between 45-50.

The man who lived in the house just off the road said he heard the first crash (the tree) and jumped off his couch when he heard the second crash less than 5 seconds later. He told me afterwards that upon hearing the second impact he was certain he would either be pulling out a body or performing CPR.

The Oregon Department of Transportation had to dispatch a crew to clear the tree from the road. The road was not cleared until after 1:00 a.m. They also had to cut the vehicle out of the tree before they could begin clearing the road. They reported the tree as 5 feet in diameter. I did not hit the trunk of the tree, rather wedged the vehicle into the fork of the tree. You can see the imprint of the upper fork branch in one of the pictures of the hood.

A member of the Fire Department who was on scene drove me a few miles back to my house (after we contacted State Police dispatch to ensure it was okay to leave the scene temporarily) to get my other car (also an Acura, but not an MDX). I returned to the scene and was interviewed by an Oregon State Trooper who told me it was pretty obvious what occurred. He had no concerns that I was at fault in any way. In fact, he didn't even file a report because no one was injured and no other vehicles were involved. He made a note in his log that he responded to the scene, wished me well, and told me drive carefully on the way to the airport.

I walked away without a scratch, much to everyone's surprise including my own.

We reordered another MDX just like the one in the pictures, minus the damage of course. I was informed today that it should be here next week.
 

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Thanks for posting your first hand account

Thanks so much for posting your first hand account on our little site. Obviously it is awful what happened to your car, but I am extremely happy with the result to you. Sounds like you were qble to quickly make the best impact reduction manuever (or whatever you call it) and combined with a safe car, you're ok.

Hopefully the insurance company just writes the check to Roger for the new one. Are you going to be able to get any of the existing accessories off of the old one, or not bother?

Glad to hear that Roger is able to get you into a new one so quickly, too.

Take care.
 

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Bill, we're glad you're okay and the only damage is a "thing" that can and will be replaced.

Thanks for the explanation, it helps a lot.

Question: did the seat-belt pretensioners fire as well? Did you hear a very loud bang? Did it hurt your ears? (Some folks report some hearing issues after a crash where the pretensioners go off.)

Again, glad that you're okay.
 

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Thanks for your explanation of the accident, and of some of the details in the pictures. I'm extremely glad that you didn't get hurt, but I'm also very glad to know that "our" MDXs are mighty safe machines.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I'm sure glad Bill posted his account of the accident, because second hand it seems the facts are not always correct. It's no wonder reporters never seem to get the facts completely right.
Actually, Bill is Sandy's customer. I really enjoyed talking with him this morning going over the details of the accident. Glad to have you on the org site Bill.
 
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