Basilar skull fractures: Cars without airbags

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by PeterS, Jun 13, 2004.

  1. PeterS

    PeterS Three Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 24, 2003
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    The only thing that concerns me while driving my 308 is the fact that it does not have an airbag. Getting in a head-on and receving a basilar skull fracture (the type of injury that Dale Earhart suffered) is always on my mind. It just seems that if some yak swerves in my lane, this will be my fate. Does this bother you?
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  3. Auraraptor

    Auraraptor F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Sep 25, 2002
    It did intially, as did the fear of buring alive if it caught fire or being squished if it got side-swipped.

    That is why I never have driven the car 8/10 let alone 9/10 on public roads, and always tread cautiously.

    What can one do if their fav. fcars lack airbags? Live with it really. :shrugs shoulders"

    Also one of the reasons I rarely let other family members drive with me, as well as young kids.
  4. spike308

    spike308 F1 Rookie
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    Nov 8, 2003
    Austin TX!
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    Mike Z
    Lack of an airbag will not necessarily cause a basilar skull fracture... An enourmous impact will.
    I guarantee you that there are no statistics that show a decrease in this type of skull fracture since airbags have been mandated. Besides, it is not necessarily a life threatening injury. Sounds bad, but given a lack of other injuries, you have a very good chance of surviving, and surviving well.

    Dale probably had massive "shearing" of the neurons in the brain.... can't see that kind of stuff on CAT scans. Massive deceleration can.... kind of like shaken baby syndrome.

    I'd be WAY more concerned about the friggin' moron driving the Expedition who is busy smoking, talking on the phone, eating, and hitting his/her kids all at the same time.... it is amazing how that bumper lines up directly with your skull. No airbag will protect you from that!
  5. UroTrash

    UroTrash Three Time F1 World Champ
    Consultant Owner

    Jan 20, 2004
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    Internet Poseur
    Well, its like this. Since I ride fast sportbikes, I no longer have to worry about my cholesterol...

    Seriously, Yes, there is some risk, but even considering the small amount of time in a non-airbag car, your life is still much safer overall that perhaps the average life 10 or 15 years ago.

    I think the constant striving to eliminate all risk from life is actually

    Enjoy the car. Drive fast. Be careful. Don't drink.
  6. PeterS

    PeterS Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Jan 24, 2003
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    What is: "That is why I never have driven the car 8/10 let alone 9/10 on public roads, and always tread cautiously". ???
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  8. Auraraptor

    Auraraptor F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Sep 25, 2002
    I dont push the car as hard as I could. I don't drive it as I drove my NSX. Do not take turns as fast, put myself in situations where I need to stomp the breaks, do not speed as much, etc. Then again maybe I am just getting older too..

    Driving aggressively will lead to more close calls...more close calls lead to more...
  9. Michael B

    Michael B F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Apr 28, 2004
    US of A
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    Are you serious?

    Your worried about driving your car because it does not have an airbag?

    I am a fan of airbags, but heck... Did you fear this before cars commonly had airbags? Or did you walk (i.e. too young to recall those days before airbags)?

    Not being a smart ass, just wondering.

    I see my young sons, tied into these baby/booster seats for five or six hour road-trips - and I think of how good I had it when my parents just let me sit back on the package shelf of the Jaguar XKE when I was a kid in the '70's (free to roam the back of the car @ will). I know our safety measures are better for us today... But damn man. Its just a airbag, its not a guarantee you will be fine because you have one, and there is no certainty that you will die without one.

    I hope you have a Volvo for everyday use.

    Now. I have to go (in my non-airbag Ferrari) & get my Teflon pan (not good I hear) to make some swordfish (high mercury), and have a side of Oreos (trans fats), then wash it down with diet soda (with Nutra-sweet).

    Wish me luck.
  10. johnw

    johnw Formula Junior

    Jun 19, 2002
    Full Name:
    generally speaking you would not get that type of injury with a 3 point seat belt. the 6 point race harness holds your body so tight you can barely move.

    also, you have to be going fairly fast and strike an object that has virtually no give. on the streets nearly all collisions with stationary objects will result in energy dispersion.
  11. Auraraptor

    Auraraptor F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Sep 25, 2002
    Yes, I would be too young to remember those I did not even start driving until after airbags were forced standard equipment.

    Its not the airbag that gets me, it is the brakes that leave something to be desired. (Soon to be upgraded though to fix that problem.) They do not inspire the same confidence as my NSX or BMWs do.

    Hell no, thats what BMWs are for. Their brakes are better...and in emergencies thats what you need most.
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  13. evansp60

    evansp60 Formula Junior

    Nov 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ont. CANADA
    You'd love my '62 MGA.
    No roof, no airbags and no seatbelts!
  14. Steve King

    Steve King F1 Rookie

    Feb 15, 2001
    Pie ChartsPeople over 35(or there abouts) should be dead.

    Here's why .
    According to today's regulators
    and bureaucrats, those of us
    who were kids in the 40's,
    50's, 60's, or even maybe
    the early 70's probably
    shouldn't have survived.

    Our baby cribs were covered
    with bright colored lead-based

    We had no childproof lids
    on medicine bottles, doors
    or cabinets, ... and when we
    rode our bikes, we had no
    (Not to mention the risks
    we took hitchhiking.)

    As children, we would ride
    in cars with no seatbelts
    or air bags.

    Riding in the back of a pickup
    truck on a warm day was
    always a special treat.

    We drank water from the
    garden hose and not from
    a bottle.


    We ate cupcakes, bread and
    butter, and drank soda pop
    with sugar in it, but we were
    never overweight because
    we were always outside

    We shared one soft drink
    with four friends, from one
    bottle, and no one actually
    died from this.

    We would spend hours building
    our go-carts out of scraps
    and then rode down the hill,
    only to find out we forgot
    the brakes.

    After running into the bushes
    a few times, we learned to
    solve the problem.

    We would leave home in the
    morning and play all day,
    as long as we were back
    when the street lights
    came on.

    No one was able to
    reach us all day.



    We did not have Playstations,
    Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, no
    video games at all, no 99
    channels on cable, video
    tape movies, surround
    sound, personal cell phones,
    personal computers, or Internet
    chat rooms.

    We had friends!

    We went outside and found

    We played dodge ball, and
    sometimes, the ball would
    really hurt.

    We fell out of trees, got
    cut and broke bones and
    teeth, and there were no
    lawsuits from these accidents.

    They were accidents.

    No one was to blame but us.

    Remember accidents?

    We had fights and punched
    each other and got black
    and blue and learned to get
    over it.

    We made up games with
    sticks and tennis balls and
    ate worms, and although we
    were told it would happen,we did not put out very many
    eyes, nor did the worms
    live inside us forever.

    We rode bikes or walked to
    a friend's home and knocked
    on the door, or rang the
    bell or just walked in and
    talked to them.

    Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team.

    Those who didn't had to
    learn to deal with disappointment.

    Some students weren't as
    smart as others, so they
    failed a grade and were
    held back to repeat the
    same grade.


    Tests were not adjusted
    for any reason.

    Our actions were our own.

    Consequences were expected.

    The idea of a parent bailing
    us out if we broke a law
    was unheard of.

    They actually sided
    with the law.

    Imagine that!

    This generation has produced
    some of the best risk-takers
    and problem solvers and
    inventors, ever.

    The past 50 years have
    been an explosion of
    innovation and new
    We had freedom, failure,
    success and responsibility,
    and we learned how to deal
    with it all.

    And you're one of them!


    Please pass this on to others
    who have had the luck to grow
    up as kids, before lawyers
    and government regulated our
    lives, for our own good !!!!!

    People under 35(or there abouts) are WIMPS
  15. PeterS

    PeterS Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Jan 24, 2003
    Full Name:
    When I was 5-7 years old, my parents had an old Dodge ('47-'52??) sedan. I use to lay in the back, under the rear window....I am pretty lucky my parents never got in wreck!
  16. Ferrari0324

    Ferrari0324 F1 Rookie

    Mar 20, 2004
    Full Name:
    I am no doctor, so I may be incorrect in saying this. But Dale Earnhardt was completely strapped into the seat except for his head and neck. So the force of the impact made his head and neck fly forward causing the basilar fracture to occur, this was in a 5 point harness I believe. However, in a 3 point harness your entire body is going to be slung forward so it isn't just your head and neck moving but everything so they shouldn't separate. I would worry more about hitting my head on the steering wheel and/or whiplash. Remember I am no doctor, so don't take my word for it but it sounds logical enough. It was actually talked about on The History Channel or Discovery Channel (not quite sure which) the other night.
  17. Gladiator

    Gladiator Rookie

    May 21, 2004
    I miss the good ol' days. (except for worm eating)

    I think the basilar fracture was also due to the added weight of the helmet.
  18. alanhenson

    alanhenson Formula 3

    Dec 2, 2003
    I treat lots of auto accidents and I have never ever seen one. Nor has anyone I know.
  19. enjoythemusic

    enjoythemusic F1 World Champ

    Apr 20, 2002
    Full Name:
    Sell the car ASAP. Obviously you are not happy with the car and please allow someone else the opportunity to enjoy it and feel totally relaxed while driving it.

    As for myself, does it bother me? What bothers me is people who are always worried, second guessing themselves, and never seem to be able to make solid decisions. Seriously, sell the car as you seem to feel you MUST have an airbag. Buy a car with as many air bags as possible and be happy in life.
  20. Admiral Thrawn

    Admiral Thrawn F1 Rookie

    Jul 2, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Full Name:
    If you're really worried about safety, you shouldn't be driving an old 308 / 328 / Testarossa at all! Same goes for almost any other cars from the early 80's and before.

    The 348 was the first Ferrari to comply with international safety regulations.

    The most important things to consider with car safety:

    Seat design, full headrest support and modern pre-tensioning seatbelts.
    Front and side impact protection from airbags.
    Safety cell design, resistance in a rollover, chassis crumpling.

    Also there are the preventative considerations like traction control, brakes, tyres, etc.

    One thing you should always do before buying a car is find out how it has held up in various crashes; also real-world examples, not just sterile crash tests.

    Current manufacturers which produce cars of acceptable safety IMO: Mercedes-Benz/Maybach, BMW, Audi, Volvo, Porsche, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Land Rover/Range Rover, Peugeot.

    Even still there are a few examples of fairly recent cars from the above manufacturers which are considerably unsafe. One is the BMW 3 series from the early to mid 1990's. Especially the hatchback version. Very poor safety cell retention and significant cabin intrusion experienced in crashes. The Mercedes C-class from the same period is also not too good, although still better than the old 3 series.
    Peugeot has only really picked up their game in the last half decade or so. Now they're top class when it comes to safety; They make probably the safest small cars (e.g 306, 307) in the world.
  21. atheyg

    atheyg Guest

    The biggest safety device is between your ears, keep alert and pay attention using periphrial(sp)? vision, no car made can protect you from all risks, IMO a sports car is safer with quick evasive capabilities, speed and brakes vs a normal vehicle.
  22. darth550

    darth550 Five Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa

    Jul 14, 2003
    In front of you
    Full Name:
    Answer: How accidents happen.(fingers crossed/knocking wood)

    Stay loose!

  23. AR!

    AR! Formula Junior

    Apr 8, 2004
    Berlin, Germany
    I have this figures for Germany: In the seventies the death toll on public roads was something like 15.000 people dead per year - compared to a population of approx. 60 Mio. people.

    Today reunified Germany has approx. 80 Mio. people while the death toll fell to approx. 7.000 deads p.a. The portion of people severely injured or crippled fell as well considerably.

    My opinion was always that active safety of a car (ride, brakes, responsiveness of steering) is more important than passive safety. But I had to learn that the massive fall of the death toll in public roads is mostly related to better passive safety equipment.

    So the facts are: When driving a car like a classic Ferrari without A/B and with a frame that wasn´t optimized for passenger protection you run a higher risk. For this reason Auraraptor´s position makes pretty much sense to me.

    I also adopt my driving style in the Ferrari, especially on wet roads (as the driving stability when exceeding the limit is rather delicate ...). That doesn´t mean that you can´t push it on open reads with low traffic.

    Anybody here knows the no. of traffic victims in the US?
  24. DGS

    DGS Four Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    May 27, 2003
    Full Name:
    ... in "fresh air and sunshine" -- without filter masks or SPF50 UV protection! Horrors!

    On a recent trip, I had a chance to do some people watching in the airports. Several well padded individuals were spending their waiting time emptying a large bag of munchies. Others were on "the Motorola diet" -- too busy gabbing on the cell phone to put food in their mouths.

    From this, I conclude that (a) Americans eat too much, and (b) Americans have learned to converse without having anything to say. ;)

    Our new "engineering" center has over 100 conference rooms, not counting the "telephone rooms" -- little closets for cell phone/PDA/laptop use.

    I keep remembering a phrase by Kelly Johnson of the "Skunk Works": "Pick the right man for the job, and get everyone else out of his way". And the Skunk Works turned out planes that others didn't consider even possible.

    Today, nobody can change a lightbulb without "design teams", a "market survey", a "six-sigma project", a "gate review", et cetera ad psychotic neurosis. This is what used to be known as "spreading the blame". Heinlein once called a committee "the only known lifeform with at least seven stomachs, and no brain".

    I see traffic on multilane highways sitting two or three across, in a static formation. Even on single lane roads, your rarely see just one car; mostly you see three or four at a time, nose to tail.

    We're raising generations too busy looking over each others' shoulders and worrying about everyone else's decisions to get a life of their own.

    There's a difference between "egalitarianism" and being too neurotic to stand up on your own.

    I'm beginning to have more respect for the ancient concept of the "rite of passage": a process that forces a child to overcome a challenge before being deemed an adult. How many "adults" today have no confidence in their own ability to overcome a challenge, and live in fear of encountering one?

    There was a news story a while back, that a community was horrified to find that a father had paid a local bully to beat up his kid. I understand this, actually. Once you get into a fight, you find that you can survive it. If you stand up to a bully, you win, whether you win the fight or not. It's "knuckling under" because you're afraid of a fight that makes you lose. I'll leave as an exercise for the student to draw the parallel to today's culture.

    But regarding the safety of classic Ferraris: I repositioned the targa top storage so my forehead wasn't three inches from the windscreen frame, but otherwise I don't worry about it.

    (a) How many of those crashed Ferrari web sites show mutilated Ferraris ... with the cabins intact?
    (b) I still drive an old Alfa spider that doesn't even have a shoulder harness -- and no place to put one. Which is just as well, as it has no roll bar, either.
    (c) I'd rather drive around an accident than ride one out. A number of years ago, a car stopped in the left lane on rt128 for no reason at all. A dozen cars accordioned from lack of following distance. I pulled over in my lane (in the Alfa), and the beemer behind me wound up next to me in the same lane. Three cars behind him also collided. We were the only two out of a dozen or so cars to pull out intact. Be alert. Lerts have far fewer accidents.

    But ultimately: The death rate among Test Pilots is the same as for everyone else: one each. We are "mortals" because we're going to die some day. Live with it.
    On the bright side, the world the younger generation is building is one I'll have fewer regrets leaving, when my time comes. ;)

    People who don't eat fun foods, who don't drink tap water, much less scotch, who don't fool around with loose women, who are afraid of the sun, and the water and the air...
    ... these people don't live forever.

    It just seems like it, ... because they're so bored! ;)
  25. normhuff

    normhuff Formula Junior

    Dec 14, 2003
    Peoria, IL
    Full Name:
    J. Norman Huff, Esq.
    Call me a fatalist, since I tend not to worry about such things. A local woman was killed last week while riding her bicycle to work. It was a sad story with no offense intended here, but she didn't have an airbag either. I also enjoy riding my bicycle, and I like driving my airbag-less TR. When it's your time to check out, there's nothing you can do about it to prevent it. In the meantime my sentiment is don't worry, be happy...
  26. scuderia47

    scuderia47 Karting

    Nov 5, 2003
    Full Name:

    well, im not seeing how a fracture would occur if it was just a severe case of whiplash. also, when this accident occurred, i recall them saying that there was a malfunction with his seatbelt, and that one point of it broke. they believed that this caused his head to hit a soid part of the car hence causing the fracture. this is my understanding of the incident.
  27. Ferrari0324

    Ferrari0324 F1 Rookie

    Mar 20, 2004
    Full Name:
    Oh, I'm not saying the whiplash would cause the fracture, I'm just saying i would be more worried about having serious whiplash in a car than worrying about a basilar fracture, b/c they really don't have much to do with one another.
  28. shelbee

    shelbee Guest

    Depends on how fast your drive and how you drive the car

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