Owner Of Totaled Tesla Model 3 Says Vehicle Saved His Life

Tesla Model 3


totaled my Tesla Model 3

Despite a 60 mph direct collision in his Tesla Model 3, this driver and passenger step away relatively unscathed.

Take a compact sedan and run it squarely into a stopped vehicle at 60 mph and see what happens. The pictures are proof enough. The paramedics, tow truck driver, and others at the scene were shocked that the driver and passenger were okay. If this had been an ICE car, with an engine to make its way into the passenger compartment, the results would likely have been devastating. The driver shared on Reddit (via Teslarati):

“Everyone from the paramedics to the tow truck driver said that people don’t usually walk away from this. Had this been a regular ICE vehicle, I would be dead or in a lot worse condition.”

He’s certain that the Tesla Model 3 saved his life. This tends to be a recurring theme for Tesla vehicles. It turns out, crumple zones work a heck of a lot better when there’s a hollow “frunk” up front instead of a hefty engine. The car’s cabin was almost completely intact, even though the front end of the vehicle was obliterated. This was obviously an extremely serious accident, but the driver only injured his foot on the gas pedal.

Interestingly, the two most troubling issues related to the whole situation both involved the Model 3’s touch screen. The passenger suffered a gash from the screen shattering and the driver couldn’t access the glovebox to retrieve all of his necessary paperwork without the use of the touch screen. Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to announce that he’s already on top of taking care of these issues:

Needless to say, the car is totaled, but the driver has already put in another reservation to replace his Model 3. This article joins a long list of Tesla crashes that beat the odds and saved a life (or several).

Source: Reddit via Teslarati

Categories: Crashed EVs, Tesla


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89 Comments on "Owner Of Totaled Tesla Model 3 Says Vehicle Saved His Life"

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60 mph? Is that really verified?


Gas pedal?! I think I found the problem.




Gas Pedal, Buggie whip, same thing…


Running with 60mph in a stopped vehicle, is like running at 40mph against a wall. Then the Tesla might have been heavier than the opposite vehicle, which would reduce its share of energy to maybe 30-35mph, as well the back of the other vehicle might have been quite soft.

So i think this is plausible, but the outcome of the crash does not look better than what you would expect.
Compare with a crashtest at 50kph. https://youtu.be/PygtbOYVbTw?t=65
I think you should not make a commercial out of this.

But why did he crash into the stopped vehicle in the first place? It must have been a feature loaded Model 3 at this date.


because human error.


My question is what was the driver doing that he failed to see a stopped car in front of him while he was going 60 MPH?

Also, it seems the center display can be dangerous to occupants when involved in a high speed crash.


Just trying to compile some data points…How dangerous are other large screens?
What about the Model S/X?
What about the Bolt EV/CT6?
What about other vehicles with 10″+ screens?

I believe shatter resistant films will be the new normal…


Yeah, Dangerous! Dangerous!

They are fine after a crash that in any other non-tesla car would have them both hosed out of the car.

Energy equals mass times speed(squared).

Dirk Diggler

You don’t really know that, frankly.


“They are fine after a crash that in any other non-tesla car would have them both hosed out of the car.”

BS, you don’t know.

In a properly designed modern vehicle. Almost all vehicles are capable of handling 45mph head on collision without any major injuries.

That is 45mph into a fixed barrier. That is equivalent to 45mph head on collision between the same two vehicles going opposite of each other.

But if one is stopped and other vehicle is going at higher speed, then the equivalent collision energy is much lower due to the fact that stopped vehicle is also going to crumple (as opposed to fixed barrier). So, how much they are depending on the amount of crumpling in the other vehicle. But we know for sure that is higher speed than 45mph. It would be far more complex to figure to the equivalent energy without knowing the other vehicle’s size/weight/structure crumpling design…etc.


The difference between a 45mph and a 60mph crash is actually huge. Most modern cars will keep you alive and mostly uninjured in a 45mph crash. But a 60mph head-on crash in the same cars will most likely kill you.
As you say, the crash was probably not equivalent to a 60mph head-on collision but it is clearly visible that the empty front of the car did a great job!


I agree the speed makes a huge different but so is the collision type. A fixed barrier is far more difficult than a structure that can crumple.

Clément Scherpereel

Peuple here never crashed or never saw one in a metal barrier ? Those use to bend and absorbe rhe crashing vehicle’s energy way better than another car that has strucrural strength. A hard hit would be with a big tree or a thick stone wall.
Still I crashed once at 60 Km/h in the back of a corolla and not a single scratch, even my dad wgo was driving at the time with no seatbelt was left with no sratch


I can’t tell if you are being sarcastic or not, but any other non-Tesla probably would have performed similarly in the same weight and size class as the Tesla. Like any other modern midsize sedan.

I hate these crash stories as people claim that their Tesla somehow performed better than an ICE would have, mainly because they read about the magic crumple zones that Teslas have on some blog somewhere.

We can’t say for sure without crashing a different car in a similar situation, but since IIHS does that, we can say that an ICE probably would have done similarly in a similar crash. The hood isn’t crumpled in very far, so not even that argument is going to fly (that the engine would be pushed in).

A woman survived a 7 story fall from a parking garage in her ICE BMW, does that mean Tesla’s are unsafe? This is the quality of argument I get from these news stories.


Oh, you are arguing against fanbois… You better watch out. =)


OK Troll


exactly the kind of moronic comment i’d expect from you. Truth is, an ICE has less crumple zone, and an equivalent ICE likely lighter.


“…any other non-Tesla probably would have performed similarly in the same weight and size class as the Tesla. Like any other modern midsize sedan.”

Oh, so your armchair analysis is better than paramedics and a tow truck driver who were actually at the scene of the crash? What, you think your Tesla Hater bias gives you some sort of clairvoyance or “second sight” into what would have happened had this been any other car? /sarcasm

Dude… you need to turn down the gain on your Tesla Hater reality distortion goggles.

Yeah, the driver and his passenger are lucky to walk away from this horrible accident with only minor injuries. Thanks to Tesla and its superior automotive engineering!

Go Tesla!

Bill Howland

I have no doubt this Tesla saved the person’s life, as my 1987 Chysler Lebaron GTS (not a real ‘Lebaron’ – that was just the name they gave to their mid-sized product at the time) when I was hit head on at 50 mph by a larger truck.

My Collision was more violent than this and the insurance adjuster said an accident of my violence was the first he had seen where the driver lived, i.e. me.. I did black out for 1/2 hour, and had concussion problems for the next 1/2 year, but that car obviously ‘gave its life’ to save mine.

I’m glad that the driver was ok after this, but as with my own personal experience, it is far from exceptional. What WAS exceptional in my case is the car protected me even without air-bags. I got banged up instead and it took quite a while for the bones to heal.


Two words for ya “Recreational” “Marijuana”


What happened to the people in the other car?


No one, but them, cares because they weren’t in a Tesla.

With all of what a couple thousand on the streets these days there sure are a number of reports of them being totaled basically upon receipt. WTH is going on?

Big Solar

maybe we should do a proper percentage comparison?


Yes please do it! I would be very interested to see how the %’s compare, especially for cars like this that claim to have accident avoidance systems. It’s obvious that no AAS would ever prevent any and all accidents but there certainly seem to be more rear end collisions for a car that is barely on the market than I would expect. I actually just saw my 1st Model 3 yesterday yet they’ve been being delivered for the past 8 months. I saw another on my way home but up until then I’ve seen a lot more Ionics then I have them!

Do these AAS systems only work in stop and go traffic? While still helpful seems like they could make some improvements.


IIHS does tests and comparisons sometimes. It takes long years to gather statistically significant data to get real life comparisons.


Tesla Investors

Where are the IIHS and NHTSA safety ratings for Tesla Model 3?
I am also curious to see the roof strength of the glass roof of Model 3.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

My guess……. the main screen.

Distracted driving “by design”.

Maybe the DOT should do a full evaluation of it and it’s operation.


Everyone nowadays has a distracting screen in their pocket and the DOT has done multiple tests to show how distracting it is. Nobody seems to care either.


an evaluation? But if you can’t prove the screen is to blame then it’s inconclusive. Speaking of which, the screen CAN’T be to blame. Only the driver can!

David Murray

I’d be curious to know more details of the crash. Was this a simple case of rear-ending somebody? Or was there a collision in front of him and he ran into a pile of cars? Did somebody try to cross a rural highway without looking? so many possibilities.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Or was AP on? Or did the driver, like others do, disable collision avoidance?


It has to be aliens….


Autopilot was engaged but the owner of the vehicle wasn’t driving. From Cleantechnica, quoting the owner of the vehicle:

“The driver of the Tesla is my dad’s friend. He said that he was behind a pickup truck with AP engaged. The pickup truck suddenly swerved into the right lane because of the firetruck parked ahead. Because the pickup truck was too high to see over, he didn’t have enough time to react. He hit the firetruck at 65mph and the steering column was pushed 2 feet inwards toward him. Luckily, he wasn’t hurt. He fully acknowledges that he should’ve been paying more attention and isn’t blaming Tesla. The whole thing was pretty unfortunate considering he bought the car fairly recently (blacked it out too). Edit #1: He had some minor cuts and bruises, but nothing serious. As for the 65mph detail, the braking system could’ve intervened before the collision, but there’s no way he could tell.”



” the steering column was pushed 2 feet inwards toward him”

Seriously? He is lucky to be alive. 2feet?

What happened to steering column that collapse during crash? Did Tesla forgot to add that feature? Time for SW update. LOL.

Dirk Diggler

So, why is no one asking the “Where was this vaunted collision avoidance hardware?”

By being so quick to praise the car, it seems to be avoiding the obvious questions:
“Did you get a ticket for inattentive driving”?

“Were you looking at your phone or the screen”? Because you clearly weren’t looking at the road.

“Was “AP” on”?


Could have also been someone hitting him head on while he was stopped


No it clearly states he ran into a stopped car at 60mph


And it shows two things.

1. It isn’t a big deal since most crash tests are designed that any vehicle ran into a fixed barrier at 45mph should walk away without injuries. That is just expected now. With vehicle, it is actually better than fixed barrier with crumple zone from the other vehicle as well. In fact, if the other vehicle is similar in weight/size/design, then the equivalent collision energy is about 30mph into a fixed barrier (no crumple zones).

2. Was the speed recorded by onboard computer and verified or just what driver claimed?

This just shows that driver of Model 3 is a moron and nothing else.

The car is probably a great design but the bigger point is still that driver is moron.

Of course, we would probably make a bigger deal out of it because we like to argue over stupid stuff…


How is that the proof of anything?

Did anyone already forgot the news about a Chevy Tahoe piling into a Tesla Model S at > 65mph and killing the two kids in the 2nd row of Model S. The driver of the Chevy Tahoe was arrest on the spot and didn’t even need a hospital visit. (for anyone who doesn’t know about it, it was covered by inside ev here and it happened in LA).

To me, that says that Chevy Tahoe is safer. Does anyone see the false logic here by making a claim about an accident with evidence that aren’t scientific?


Ehm you certainly do see a difference between a Model 3 and a Tahoe. The Tahoe is a big fat ugly killer car and the Model 3 is a relatively small Sedan. The comparison is in any case total nonsense. Furthermore that’s the problem with SUVs. They should be forbidden because in many cases those shi**y things give the other person in a smaller car almost no chance of surviving. It’s like you get rear ended by a big fat truck. They just kill you in the back. Therefore they should be forbidden. Most of those cars are only lifestyle objects and nobody really needs them. Would that Model S been hit by a Camry or another Model S those kids could be still alive.


According to that logic, then 5,000lb Tesla Model S should be banned too since it was killing Honda Accord owners too.


It also happened years ago. Some moron driving Tesla killed whole family when he rear ended another car.


At that time automatic emergency braking was relatively new thing, Tesla didn’t had it yet. Now in 2018 every toyota econobox has it as standard. I would had expected all the fancy AI hardware on Model 3 should provide at least AEB functionality or is it non-functional as usual?


Physics always works against the stationary car. Figuring that the Chevy was stronger and safer due to less damage doesn’t take into account on very important factor: Physics.


Doesn’t that logic apply this crash too?


Isn’t it an oxymoron when a serious troll like yourself uses the word logic in anything?

Tim Kulogo

The engine of the Chevy Tahoe slid over the bumper of both vehicles and into the Tesla passenger compartment. This doesn’t make the Chevy Tahoe safer; it only makes it a better killing machine (which all vehicles are).


It is safer because Tahoe driver was fine and Tesla passenger wasn’t.

Sounds like a bad logic, except it is used here too.


Only safer if you don’t care about other people…


Exactly, these crash survivor stories hyping the brand are disturbing, and they come about from how referral bloggers promote them so heavily taking every positive example of a crash where a Tesla passenger/driver survive a crash and saying how they are somehow better vehicles because of that.

I am fine showing how a vehicle protected its passengers in a crash, but to make the false claim that it performed somehow better than an ICE with no proof of that is a problem.

By this standard, everyone should buy a BMW ICE that fell 7 stories from the top of a parking garage and protected its owner (Landed nose first at a very high rate of speed).


Free fall estimate would put the BMW moving at 73 kph given 21 m fall (guessing 3 m per floor). This is pretty comparable to your Tesla collision above.


“To me, that says that Chevy Tahoe is safer. Does anyone see the false logic here…”

I certainly see your false logic in trying to equivalate a heavier vehicle (Chevy Tahoe) hitting the back of a Model S, with a Model 3 hitting a parked car at high speed.

All else being equal, the heavier vehicle is going to “win” in a collision. The pickup (Tahoe) presumably is built with a heavier frame, and has more mass. It hit the Model S from behind, where there is far less crumple zone engineered into any car. So of course the Tahoe is going to come off “better” in a collision.

Maybe you live in some Bizarro Tesla Hater world where vehicles are designed for better crash protection at the back than at the front?


“It hit the Model S from behind, where there is far less crumple zone engineered into any car.”

Making excuses for Tesla? Does Tesla Model S offer rear facing jump seats? If it does, it should have better crumple zone back there.

For a fact, even if does, it wouldn’t have mattered since most of its crumple zone are at bumper level where it doesn’t match up with Tahoe’s frame. That is the main problem. Of course, if you had any technical knowledge, you would have said that first rather than making some excuses about lack of crumple zone being “normal” somehow, especially with a car that has rear facing jump seats!


“Making excuses for Tesla?”

No, citing actual facts and practical engineering decisions found in the design of all modern cars, not just Tesla cars.

Only a Tesla Hater cultist like you would call reality an “excuse”.

Apparently you would have been happier if the two people in the Tesla Model 3 had died to “protect” the parked car, which presumably had no one inside?


“Needless to say, the car is totaled, but the driver has already put in another reservation to replace his Model 3. This article joins a long list of Tesla crashes that beat the odds and saved a life (or several).”

How soon did we all forget about this one?



So, in response to an article expressing relief that two people involved in a horrible accident were able to walk away with only minor injuries, your response — rather than agree it’s great they escaped relatively unscathed — is to cite a report of another horrible accident, in which two people died?

So what’s your point here, dude? Do you wish the accident under discussion here had also resulted in two people in the car dying? What is it that has you so upset anytime anyone says something good about Tesla Motors? Did you join the ranks of Tesla short-sellers, or are you just trolling?


Looks like the photo is gone at the current time.


It’s clearly the safest car on the road.


declared by an usual Tesla fan boi cheerleaders who doesn’t know any facts or science in general.

But that is expected! Your cult membership has been renewed for 2018!




Your fanboi insults are irritating which I guess is your point – please leave.


You are certainly working hard to renew your Tesla Hater cult membership. In fact, given the no less than 14 posts you’ve made just in this one discussion thread, 13 of which were Tesla Hater FUD posts, I’d say you’re well on your way to making your quota of hater posts.

What an empty life you must have, if you can’t find anything better to do than write dozens of hater posts attacking a company which is trying hard to make the world a better place.

A cult? Yeah, as obsessed as you and other serial anti-Tesla FUDsters are with trying to damage Tesla’s reputation, you certainly look and act like a cult!


Nobody is working hard as a cult member than you. I wrote this many posts because cults like you who tries to suppress any and all criticism against Tesla.

Of course, cult members like you often give other fan boi bad names because you don’t even own a Tesla or an EV and often are clueless about any technical or engineering details. So, yes, I am posting a lot just to show how stupid some of your cult posts are.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

“The passenger suffered a gash from the screen shattering and the driver couldn’t access the glovebox to retrieve all of his necessary paperwork without the use of the touch screen.”

What a dubmbphuk design.
Yet another over engineered worthless item of the TM3.


I agree that should be improved. The glove box design is stupid and screen should be protected.

That is an oversight on Tesla.

I am just surprised that AEB didn’t take over.

Maybe it did, the owner was probably going much faster and AEB actually slowed it down enough or AEB already reduced speed from 60mph at the time of collision.

“Everyone from the paramedics to the tow truck driver said that people don’t usually walk away from this. Had this been a regular ICE vehicle, I would be dead or in a lot worse condition” Seriously, I am really tired stupid and unscientific claims such as this. Didn’t Subaru commercials said the same thing? I have had many other owners in various accident made similar claims. One of coworkers swear on Saturns because she walked away from a T-bone accident from a semi. The semi driver thought he killed the owner. Another Acura TL owner at my work made the similar claim. Previously, we have heard BMW i3 owners, Volt owners, even LEAF owners all made similar claims. At the end of the day, neither the paramedic nor the tow drivers are the accident evaluation experts nor the owners. I am glad that owners lived and are fine. I am glad that shows the Model 3 is safe and it will help me to feel better when my Model 3 arrives. But let us not to rush judgement until we have the official crash results from both NHTSA and IIHS as well as real world documented crash statistics (such as… Read more »

I don’t believe you ordered a 3 – nice try


So, would you show your real name and show what a troll you are if I post my reservation number?

Or do you prefer my referral links?

BTW, here is another shocker for you. I have Solar City panels on my roof too and as most older poster here know that I have been highly critical of them as well. Will your head explode now with that logic? LOL.

I also owned Solar Bond from them. Yeah, another kicker for you. LOL.

The interesting part is that I can keep my feeling toward a fan base and a product separate in making my decisions, especially something that involves a large amount of cash.


“So, would you show your real name and show what a troll you are if I post my reservation number?

“Or do you prefer my referral links?”

Good grief, just how gullible do you think people are who read your Tesla bashing FUD posts? Do you actually think people are going to believe any fake evidence you give for a pretended Model 3 referral? You can easily find reservation numbers online at ebay if not elsewhere, and referral links are even easier to find.

You can join the ranks of “Six Electrics” and other serial Tesla bashers who pretend to own Tesla cars.

“…I can keep my feeling toward a fan base and a product separate…”

Gosh yes, you have certainly demonstrated with the no less than 13 anti-Tesla FUD posts you’ve made in this one discussion thread alone, how objective and rational you are.



Whether you believe it or not doesn’t change the fact I have reservation.

Would you rather go to a 3rd party verification? If I am shown the fact I do have reservation, would you admit that you are moron and stop make accusation on thing you often have no clue of?


I don’t believe you ordered a 3 you are clearly a hater nice try. The reasons there are “fanbois” as you derogatorily proclaim, is the Tesla is making the best stuff out there – sorry to frustrate you with that fact.

Bill Howland

MMF: I’ll say this – the GEN 1 volt (can’t speak for the GEN 2) is the safest car around as far as I’m concerned. No rolling deaths as of yet (supposedly someone dropped a steel coil on one unfortunate stopped driver and he died, but that’s catching a fluke). which is amazing considering the length of time and numbers of cars out there.

This particular collision, doesn’t look totally horrible on an absolute scale. In my 1987 chrysler midsize case, absolutely ALL of the sheet metal was crumpled like an accordian on top of the windshield.

This collision was – if the picture is to be believed – far less violent. Maybe it was a good thing the large engine compartment of my car only contained the smallest 4 cyl available for the car.

Courtney vegan

I wonder if car guru can fix this Tesla??


Is “Automatic Emergency Braking” a feature on the Model 3?

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

That’s a damn good question.

Anyone know?
One would think with this higher trim model it would, but I could be wrong.


AEB does not stop cars from crashing into stationary objects. It uses dopplar radar to detect objects moving at a different rate of speed than the car, but ignores stationary things — such as the parked car this Model 3 crashed into.

I suppose it’s a back-handed compliment to Tesla that people seem to think Tesla’s ABS should work so much better than the ABS found in other cars, but it doesn’t… at least not yet!


The very first sentence of the article says: “Take a compact sedan and run it squarely into a stopped vehicle at 60 mph and see what happens.”

…as in, .. you’re driving down the road, not paying attention. Traffic in front of you has stopped.

That IS EXACTLY what automatic emergency braking is designed for.



Kind of surprising, with all the “Tesla experts” here, nobody linked this article:

Tesla Autopilot 2.5 Activates High-Speed Automatic Emergency Braking


I’m curious what the current accident rate is looking like for Model 3 owners. Not a comment about the vehicle, but the driving habits of those who buy them.

We’ve seen reports of least 3 totals so far for the M3 (two single-vehicle and one that the M3 driver likely was at-fault) and there are only about 4,000 on the road, most of them delivered in just the last 2 months.

IIRC, It took a year’s long time to get the first report of a Gen 1 Volt in any sort of serious accident. There were about 6,500 Volts on the road at the time. It was a 2011 Volt that was first clipped by an at-fault Taurus, then pushed into the right lane to be rear-ended by a BUS. No one was significantly hurt. Eric wrote the story!



This is exactly what I’m saying. I don’t necessarily know if it’s a problem with the car or the driver, although I suspect the latter, but certainly seems like there is a lot.

I remember a long time ago when the Integra Type R was released somebody picked one up the first day they weer available and totaled it on the way home. So it obviously happens but again you expect stuff like that from the Type R demographic 😀


Heh, seems to not just be restricted to the Integra Type R but also the Civic Type R


And yes I know it was likely not the Civics fault, it was meant as a joke so relax!


As you say, demographics. My guess is the Volt owners tended to be more mature and responsible drivers, the Model 3 likely will draw the more performance oriented crowd and will be driven accordingly.


I’ve wondered how Tesla could justify the production capacity of 500,000 Model 3’s per year for multiple years. The performance-sedan market did not appear to be that big. But now we know. The attrition rate is pretty high:)

Ford Prefect

So based on this article: https://insideevs.com/want-tesla-model-3-just-weeks-heres-make-happen/, does the Model 3 owner jump to the front of the queue to get a replacement Model 3?


Really? … this is all you take from this particular article???

Christine A.

I thought Tesla got a ding on uts rating (for the Model S?) from Consumer Reports because the Automatic Emergency Braking was nonfunctional. This crash seems like AEB should have engaged but not (they don’t mention AEB and you’d think if it had engaged, it’d hit a less than the reported 65 m.p.h.). I’m a little perplexed why AEB does not seem functional/engaged for Model 3 in this accident. This crash maybe should not have happened at all. Anyone know anything about the AEB in this crash and on 3 in general. It’s 2018, the AEB should be working in all Teslas, right? It is meant to be standard in all U.S. cars by 2020, but Tesla should be ahead of that curve, as a tech-driven brand, even on 3.


All cars with AEB have an upper limit (some as low as 38mph) to the speed they can detect and avoid a crash. This is by design to avoid false positives. Do you want your car to slam on the brakes every time there is a curve near a concrete barrier? If the other car had been moving even at 1mph, the result would have been very different. Collision detection works way better with moving vehicles.

At 60mph the driver needs to detect and avoid the collision. Not depend on a stupid robot.


Safety is one of the selling points of BEVs to me. Not only do they have a more favorable crumple zone but they are also heavy for their size which works in their favor in multi-car crashes. I *like* the fact that the Model 3 and Bolt weight about the same as 1 size larger ICE vehicles.

Mister G