Your car’s way safer now—but best not to crash it in the first place, yes?

IIHS SMASHES ’59 CHEVY BEL AIR TO PROVE POINT

There isn’t any doubt that car crashes aren’t as fatal as they were in the 50s, when seatbelts weren’t mandatory and an airbag might refer to one’s employer or spouse.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety demonstrated this by conducting a test crash Sept. 9, using a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air and a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. In a real-world collision similar to this test, occupants of the new model would fare much better than in the vintage Chevy.  Watch the video by clicking here.

“It was night and day, the difference in occupant protection,” says Institute president Adrian Lund. “What this test shows is that automakers don’t build cars like they used to. They build them better.”

The crash test was conducted at an event to celebrate the contributions of auto insurers to highway safety progress over 50 years. Beginning with the Institute’s 1959 founding, insurers have maintained the resolve, articulated in the 1950s, to “conduct, sponsor, and encourage programs designed to aid in the conservation and preservation of life and property from the hazards of highway accidents.”

I think we could have absorbed this information without smashing the crap out of a sweet-looking vintage car, though.

And, as we’ve spewed in this column in the past, “Best not to hit s–t in the first place.”

“Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel.” J. Morrison

– Josh Max, Auto Gigolo

1959 Chevy Bel Air