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New Head Restraints – Safety, Torture, or Both?



  • morin2morin2 Posts: 399
    Ran over them on purpose or in hindsight "I meant to do that"? :)
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,907
    Headrests are for wimps :shades:

  • morin2morin2 Posts: 399
    My 09 subaru outback head restraints saved me tonight. I was stopped at a long red light and got slammed from behind. The kid driving an Impala said he was "going at least 60" when he hit me. I always keep a good distance between me and the car ahead of me at red lights, like 15', but this impact was so severe, it drove me into the jeep ahead of me and peeled back my hood to the windshield. It was so sudden I don't remember hitting the head restraint but I must have. The car is a no-doubt, easy-call total, but I was able to open my door and get out by myself. The car crumpled and sacrificed itself as designed to save me. It was too dark for pictures.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,947
    Oh jeeze, that's terrible. Bet you're still going to be sore even with the restraints. Hope you got checked out by a doc too. Dang, hate to hear that. :sick:
  • morin2morin2 Posts: 399
    edited November 2010
    Thanks Steve,
    Yeah, I'm a bit sore and stiff with moving the head & neck, but will get checked out tomorrow just to be on the safe side. I hate to lose my beloved '09 subaru because I don't like the new ones, but I also felt sorry for the 22 year old kid who admitted it was entirely his fault. His dad came & wasn't happy with the kid, but accidents happen and nobody tries to do this, so I spoke to the dad and asked him to be gentle with his son because he already knows he made a mistake. I've got a son a few months older than this kid and I hope if he does something like this, somebody won't go off on him.

    I don't think the insurance company will want to rebuild this one. About the only things undamaged are the stereo and the roof racks.

    So now the question is to either replace it with something new & safe or some old depreciated junker that I won't love so much as my sweet subaru. I see accidents every day on my 110 mile commute and fatalities about once every 2-3 weeks, so its not a matter of "if" there's another wreck so much as "when" and "how bad". So far, my plan to win the lottery and quit the commute of carnage hasn't worked out.
  • acdiiacdii Posts: 753
    Glad to hear you are OK. Cars have made major leaps forward in safety, if that car was 10 years older, chances are you would have had to be cut out of the car, and would be laid up in the hospital now. I know a lot of people complain about the head restraints, but as you experienced last night, a little discomfort can go a long way after seeing just what they can do for you. If the car was crushed front and rear, and glass was broken, then its a good chance it will be totaled, but in some cases cars can be rebuilt after a crash like that, all depends on what got bent.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,947
    With that commute, I'd want all the airbags I could get.
  • morin2morin2 Posts: 399
    It could have been much worse. The kid admitted to 60mph+ but I see much higher speeds there, and I was completely stopped. About a mile from my wreck site is the only place where I have ever seen a severed head in the road from an accident about two years ago. Talk about your nightmare commute. So, yes, I am very grateful for modern car - subaru design.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,907
    Wow, what a nightmare, glad nobody was apparently very hurt. The fact that you were posting here so soon after is a testament to modern cars. An old car might have exploded or something from such an impact.

    Thinking of head restraints, the new style 5er I drove in Germany had the new style large somewhat forward oriented units - so just normally sitting, my head would rest on the headrest. It maybe made me a little too relaxed - it seemed I got drowsy on long drives as I was so supported by the seat - maybe not the best thing for 100+ mph driving.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,947
    edited November 2010
    Whatever happened to those "active" headrests that went forward when you got hit? Like an airbag, they stay out of the way until you need them.

    btw, any idea if the kid was texting, talking on a cell, spacing out to some tunes or just oblivious?
  • morin2morin2 Posts: 399
    I just got back from my doc and he asked the same thing. I don't do any of those things while driving so it never even occurred to me. And I kept my distance when the police interviewed the kid. Actually, fintails' mention of an explosion is more like the experience as the car quickly compressed ahead and behind me in a cloud of smoke and steam as fluids spilled on the exhaust. It was very surreal and seemed to happen in slow motion. I got out quickly because the smoke from oil on the exhaust was so thick I thought it might be on fire and found the ground covered in oil, coolant and transmission fluid, but not gasoline.

    It was about 1/4 mile of backed up cars behind a red light and it was very dark with low clouds. The kid didn't know how he did it, but I was thinking he might have focused on the traffic light 1/4 mile ahead rather than the line of cars backed up before the light. Its possible that when the light turned green, he kept at speed. He never touched his brakes. At least he was honest and admitted that it was all his fault, so his insurance should easily determine liability.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 13,584
    Back in 2005, we were shopping for a new family (aka wife mobile) vehicle. I wanted a Volvo XC90 (had a killer lease deal worked out), but ended up with an Odyssey. Size was a factor, but the head rests came into play too. I loved them, it was like a catchers mitt cradling my head (and I like to lean my head back when I can), but they hit my wife (8" shorter than me) wrong, and pushed her head forward I think.

    Might not have been a big deal once she got used to it, but we never did have to find out.

    One thing that does get annoying is the size. I was driving someone elses car recently (must have been a new MDX) and it was impossible to check anything over your shoulder (either one).

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,663
    edited November 2010
    I'm so glad nobody was hurt worse. Sounds like your Subaru Outback saved your bacon, man. Great testimony to the Subaru build product!

    With that commute, I'd want all the airbags I could get.

    Yeah, Kia puts a driver's knee airbag in their Sportage model and yet another reason why I may one day trade for a new Ford Fiesta is because Ford also installs driver's knee airbags in their new little subcompact. I don't know, haven't test-driven a Fiesta yet, but the size of our '08 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS might just be about as small as I would want to go (compact sze), especially after hearing about wrecks like morin's here.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • This is why all cars' headrests are terribly uncomforatble:

    Headrests are now designed to accomodate a male who is 50th percentile in height. Short people like myself suffer. Headrests no longer adjust back and forward, they just crank your neck down. Every car I have test driven and rented since 2007 has this problem.

    Thanks, but I'll keep my 06 Subaru until there is a better option.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    I've experienced the same problem with some newer models. Reclining the seat back, or a combination of tilting the seat back and reclining the seat back can mitigate the headrest problem. I suggest you try it.
  • . . . it didn't work. Otherwise I wouldn't mind the issue. I travel frequently for work and leisure and usually rent a car. GM's, Ford's, Hyundai's, even a Volvo S40 had the issue to some extent. What a pain in the neck! Another member mentioned reshaping the headrests and having them reupholstered -- that is what I'll have to do.
  • shorty43shorty43 Posts: 1
    I am 5'3" and my husband is 6'3". He has a much easier time with the new head restraints than I do, but still finds them uncomfortable unless the seat is reclined. At best, a telescoping steering wheel helps with the reclining seat, but you still feel like you are driving from the back seat. I, on the other hand, have found very few newer vehicles that accommodate my short stature. Even highly adjustable seats are not really able to get me in the prime driving position. I typically sit up straight and slightly rest my head against the head rest/restraint due to past neck surgery and fusions in 3 vertebrae, and since I curently drive a 2002 VW Jetta, I am able to do so.
    I have been looking for over a year at newer model vehicles with very little luck finding one that is comfortable enough to commute in without laying me almost flat on my back to avoid the head restraint nightmare. Comfort is imperative because I commute. I have had several salesmen try to switch out and turn head rests around but then you end up with nothing to protect your head at all. It seems to me that if they insist on building a head restraint that forces your head forward and down that they could at least build up the top of the seat so that you aren't sunk in at the shoulders. Sounds like we are either forced to be uncomfortable or pay extra on top of the vehicle cost to modify the interior. I realize that almost everything is manufactured for a set height range, but a few little added adjustments to the head restraints like I have seen on one Focus and Kia Sorento would solve this issue in it's entirety.
  • The 2012 Impreza has a tilting headrest, too.
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