In the United States, we don’t crash test recreation vehicles to determine their safety, to learn how they can be improved. One reason is that RV manufacturers do not want to show consumers how badly their products fare in a serious accident. It also costs a lot of money.
In this video from the Swedish Transport Administration, you’ll see what happens when a small Class A motorhome slams head-on into a wall. The agency is responsible for long-term planning of the transport system for road, rail, maritime and air traffic.
As you will see, the crash not only totals the RV, but sends its occupants flying. The small “infant” crash dummy behind the driver seat would not likely survive a crash like this. In another, similar video, a crash dummy mimics someone sleeping in the bed over the cab of a Class C motorhome. When the RV hits the wall, the dummy is catapulted forward, through the glass window. Imagine if children were riding there, which you see every-so-often!
Did I miss something?
My 2014 Anthem does not have air bags
Airbags won’t save you in an American Class A motorhome.
Have been driving city transit buses for over three decades,the old GM,Nova bus,New Flyer to mention a few and like cab overs and class A it’s front accidents don’t end well for drivers.
We old truck drivers used to say when you drove a cabover tractor, you were the first one to the crash. Same would be for city bus drivers.
Wow. I never thought about all the loose stuff I have in my crew cab pickup. I now have a project this week. Any films of what happens in a travel trailer for wrecks and just bouncing down the road?
My Class-C is based on the Chevy Express van. I am reasonably confident that the Chevy Van offers some protection to the driver & passenger and probably more than in almost any Class-A.
This is one of many reasons why I’ve NEVER had the desire to own a “motorhome”. Bigger trucks and smaller TT’s make more sense to me.
Most “motor homes” are essentially popsicle sticks and aluminum foil construction. So, crash results are about what you would expect…. yard sale.
When you drive a motorhome whether it is a class A, C, or B, as we use to say in the trucking industry about cabover trucks, in the event of a head on collision you are the first one on the scene of the accident. Every time I get passed by a big DP doing 75 mph I just shake my head in disbelief. That’s a 50,000 lb behemoth hurtling down the road and if something suddenly stops traffic in front of you, you and your family are DEAD. That is a commercial truck frame designed to carry the weight not absorb the shock of a collision. Yes it is big and heavy and it will do a lot of damage to whatever it hits but while it’s doing damage on the outside there is also damage on the inside. Remember one of the basic laws of physics, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Drive Safe.
Like to see the crash test results on a Prevost.
They cost too much to crash!
The video actually makes me want to keep our ’96 Fleetwood Flair. We actually have a real thick steel bumper behind the front facia. Noticed that every new Class-A we saw, at the last RV show, had no bumpers behind the front fiberglass facia. The frame of these vehicles were 12-18 inches further away.
We also have steel tubing inside the walls and roof. The front seats are bolted to steel plates in the floor, and the seat belts are screwed into the side wall steel tubing.
Dennis, yes keep the Flair, but please don’t put that “real steel bumper” to the test. You and your passenger(s) likely will not survive the catastrophe, and if you did you might at times wished you hadn’t!
How do I know?. I spent over four decade in the collison repair indistry & believe me when I tell you what I didn’t see, and learn during that time related to drivier error and life changing events related to collisons – the consequences of these things – I can do without.
Slow down and drive safe.
Great ad for driveway camping.
One has to wonder: European RV’s have to meet rather restrictive weight limits that may affect their structural composition. While I have no faith in the ability of any Class A to withstand a frontal collision, I wonder what would happen with an E350/450, Sprinter or Transit North American Chassis. I suspect they would fare better.
Maybe, but I suspect they’ll have one grand time getting you out of the wreck then later fitting you for a wheelchair you’ll need for the rest of your life.You may not need the foot rest
Wow! You could be the safest driver in the world and have that happen to you with a single drunk driver. Especially when you consider drunk driving kills more people every year then gun homicides do. I would like to see that test done with something like a one ton truck towing a 35′ trailer. I would like to see how the truck holds up in the crumples zone as well as the cab when the trailer pushes forward
Matt: Only the extrememly fotunate (LUCKY) in a 100 foot circle are going to likely survive what you describe.
There is only one safety feature that counts, and that is the driver. All the airbags and crush zones and electronic doodads are just window dressing. They create the illusion of safety, but they only exist to reduce liability on the part of the manufacturer. The guy/gal behind the wheel is the only thing between you and the video you just saw. A Class A puts the driver right up where the action will be, so he is less likely to forget that.
Doesn’t help much if the driver hitting you face on is drunk. You can’t avoid every situation.
But Cindy you have control over being the one to blame for being dumb – Not saying you are, but many are. It is really scary out there. Ask me how I retired in my fifties after a long career in collision repair – eg – there probably never will be a shortage of crazy people behind the wheel of near everything coming at you, compound that by the fact that in almost every jurisdiction a 16 year old or a 99 year old can hit the road in a 35 footer (except air brake jobs) with a basic drivers license. That’s the first thing I’d change if i could – RV driver training, number one priority
A.H. – For larger RVs the crumple zones may be irrelevant because of the way the RV body is fashioned and attached to the chassis, but for class B the van construction of the front end should apply all of the safety features of the donor vehicle to all frontal crashes.
The auto industry has put significant resources into protecting humans in a crash. If you look at auto crash fatalities today the numbers are significantly lower (per capita) than before crumple zones and air bags. My brother did crash test engineering work for GM way back in 1980 and I can assure you it wasn’t just for kicks.
Looking at these crashes, a head-on collision in an RV is going to result in some significant harm to the occupants of said RV… tighter safety standards are probably needed. Yikes.
Kim, you make the same mistake as many. You only talk about “fatlities” because this is the only data easy to find, and is broadcast. I prefer to, based on my experience in collison repair, to count alongside fatalities as worthy those in traction, wheel chairs or brain dead for the remainder of their lives (some who probably wish they’d been “fatatlities”).
Dang, we don’t even have air bags in our class 2017 class A, diesel pusher. or the ’99 Winnebago Class “A” we had. Wonder why they are not required to have air bags for all passengers. Seems the auto industry has gone a LONG way in keeping passengers safe in autos & all other forms of transportation! With all the crush zones & air bags in every direction! Someone is lobbying the white house to keep that from happening!
It isn’t the White House’s responsibility. It’s Congress’. Bring it up with them.
When are they (crash test people) gonna start using REAL Human beings for these Crash Tests??
There are plenty of IDIOT RVers out there to fit the bill! Although, I don’t think it would pay real well! LMAO!
user name checks out.
Reminds me of how I visualized having a wreck in my first RV, a 1970 VW Westalia camper bus. If you had hit anything above 10 MPH, like normal road speed, you would never walk again IF you survived at all.
THIS is what happens when you are talking and texting and NOT paying attention!
The best driver in the world who IS attentive cannot avoid every situation. Don’t blame the driver unless they really are being stupid.
Doesn’t look like ANY class RV is really safe if you hit a stationary object at highway speed. But it sure is fun to watch, how do we get US to start crash testing our RVs? Kind of justified my comments to a dealer back when we were shopping for our first motor-home; Class A? Don’t think so, nothing between you and God but a little bit of cardboard!
I am wondering if the Class C’s are safer since they come with the truck.
Back when I was a truck driver, I hated driving “cabovers” because everyone said you’re the first one to the crash. I much preferred “hoods”, that seemed to offer a measure of safety with the engine in front of me.It might have been more psychological, but it made me feel safer.
Luckily, I never got to prove it one way or the other.
In that vein, I wonder how the “Super Cs” would do since they are built on a semi-truck chassis with the full truck cab intact? The Newmar Superstar for example, is built on a Freightliner M-2 106 chassis with that big hood you mentioned. Seems like it would be much safer than riding up in the windshield like you do in a Class A.