Time Warp (2008) s01e06 Episode Script

Human Crash Test Dummy

NARRATOR: What happens when a guy impersonates a crash dummy? That was awesome.
That's actually more than I expected.
NARRATOR: And puts his body in the middle of a catastrophic collision? "Don't do this at home" kind of thing is advised here.
NARRATOR: And what happens when arrow meets soda can? What happens? "Time Warp.
" Uh-oh.
[Laughter] NARRATOR: Take two guys whose slow-mo cameras can stop the world in its tracks It starts out pretty asymmetric.
It has to move the mass of this thing out of the way.
All right, Greg, I reset this camera.
We're gonna take a look at your takeoff this time.
NARRATOR: add a high-tech laboratory, where anything can and will happen Oh, boy.
NARRATOR: and toss in some of the world's wildest talents.
What happens? Consider the humble crash-test dummy.
They look kind of like people.
They often sit where people sit.
And they take the most extreme kind of abuse, all in the name of safety.
But never let a dummy do a man's job.
Jeff called you a dummy.
Does that bother you? No, not really.
I'm kind of used to it.
NARRATOR: Meet the director of San Diego's Collision Safety Institute, Rusty Haight, automotive expert and human crash-test dummy.
The only way I've survived You don't go out there and do this 'cause it sounds like fun.
NARRATOR: There are some things that a dummy just cannot do, which is where Rusty comes in.
He takes it on the chin and on the legs and on his torso by sitting behind the wheel of cars and, well, crashing them deliberately.
Rusty's motto, "You buy the cars.
I'll wreck 'em.
" We're gonna put gaffer tape up there, right? I just don't want crap flying around.
NARRATOR: In the name of safety research, the man has endured almost 900 crashes.
Give him another second of acceleration.
NARRATOR: You heard that right.
Rusty's no dummy, and he risks his life for a reason.
By enduring these crashes, he answers questions that are vital to preventing car accidents.
What really happens during a car crash? How does the impact shake up a human being? What kind of crashes are the most dangerous? Today, Rusty is demonstrating the impact of crash dynamics on the human body.
The audience -- police and district attorneys.
Add to this mix of scary authority figures two guys and some high-speed cameras tagging along for the ride.
Well, actually, for the crash.
Pretty great.
It's not often you get a chance to just kind of destroy a car.
Dismantle a car.
I'm looking forward to it.
Tell me what the chopper deal is.
NARRATOR: It's time for the latest in high-tech demolition derbies, all in the name of science.
HAIGHT: I'm gonna drive into the green car, and there will be much screaming and yelling.
LIEBERMAN: By you or by the audience? Usually it's me screaming like a little girl in the car.
NARRATOR: Rusty's first crash is set to take place at 40 miles per hour.
KEARNEY: If that goes near my camera, I'm going after the camera.
If you see someone sprinting in front of the car.
-Matt, you ready? -I'm ready.
NARRATOR: Rusty's car is cleared of extraneous objects that might injure him during impact.
The car door is removed so our cameras can see inside and is placed in the trunk to keep the weight the same.
If all goes well, Rusty will make a direct hit and T-bone the smaller car.
The whole thing is totally verifiably crazy.
NARRATOR: Our cameras are set to catch every millisecond in warp speed.
Now, Rusty may be crazy, but he's not completely insane.
He wears a chest protector to keep pressure from the seat belt from breaking his ribs.
He wears accelerometers on different parts of his body to measure changes in velocity.
He also sports kneepads, as leg injuries are the most common type in low-speed crashes.
The rest of the body doesn't take it like the knees do.
Knees into the underside of the dash is never good.
NARRATOR: His car is air-bag equipped, but he doesn't wear a helmet.
Adding weight to his head would only increase his chances of getting whiplash.
And finally, Rusty bases his speed on the relative mass of the vehicles.
Driving the bigger car, he's heading for 40 miles per hour.
Matt, you ready? Good to go.
You've done this almost 900 times.
So are you nervous right now? No, just trying to make my mark.
Make sure I hit the right spot at the right time.
It's just another job by now? Just another drive down the road into another car.
You're the only person in the world who can say that.
Good luck.
See you down there.
MAN: Do you copy? Do you copy? Loud and clear here.
Ready on the ground.
Stand by.
We're gonna be 5 feet from a 40-mile-per-hour car crash.
-And we're happy.
-We're happy.
Something very wrong with us.
-All right, he's going.
-All right, here he comes.
NARRATOR: You know, the great thing about this is that this the one time we really don't have to say, "Don't try this at home.
" KEARNEY: [Laughing] Oh, my God.
That was awesome.
-You okay? -I'm good.
Awesome, man.
That was great.
-Nicely done.
-Was that the best or what? It's Matt's turn.
NARRATOR: Let's see that again.
But this time in warp speed.
Our overhead shot is at 500 frames per second.
Let's look at it from another angle.
KEARNEY: All right.
Here we go.
HAIGHT: On this one, as the little station wagon is pulling the car I'm in around, well, in that shot there, you can see I'm twisted, even, as the car's coming around.
That's actually more surprising than -- more than I expected.
NARRATOR: And now here's the crash from Rusty's side at 2,000 frames per second.
LIEBERMAN: Oh! HAIGHT: Very nice.
Very nice.
NARRATOR: Every car crash actually involves three collisions.
The first is the car hitting another car.
LIEBERMAN: Holy moly.
NARRATOR: The second is the passenger's body hitting the dashboard or steering wheel.
The third is when internal organs hit something else, such as ribs or the skull, inside the body.
Rusty endures a bit over which for a brief instant makes a 200-pound body feel like 2,000 pounds.
They say it's not the speed that kills, it's the sudden stop during a crash.
Your face doesn't touch the air bag? Sometimes it does.
In this one, it didn't.
And I think when you look at it, I'm reared back a little bit.
So 90% of us driving our cars, or maybe 99% of us, wouldn't tense up like you do and lean back, so we probably would impact? More than likely.
I have a lot of times.
I would rather get closer so it's more realistic.
NARRATOR: Oh, I don't know.
It seems pretty realistic to us.
Let's watch that again.
What happens to a car full of people during a collision? No, we didn't get any volunteers, so we got some recruits.
Some dummies are belted in, others not.
As always, Rusty's safety is a function of precise planning and an understanding of the physical dynamics of a crash.
HAIGHT: Got the little copper-colored car.
I'm gonna run into it with this car at about 40.
There's a lot, obviously, that's gone into it.
It's planned out, and we know what we're gonna be doing, and it should work out pretty well.
NARRATOR: Rusty says he's not nervous.
What he is instead is thorough.
Still, there's got to be a place deep down inside that finds it hard to face this very real danger.
As Rusty reconsiders all of his planning, we hope he's got it all figured out.
After all, his life depends on it.
This is one of those "don't try this at home" moments.
NARRATOR: Ya think? Time to roll.
-You're good, you're good.
-All good.
Okay.
You got some blood.
You got some glass on you.
Oh, that's no big deal.
You see the back, that kid in there? KEARNEY: Holy smokes.
You all right, man? All good, man.
All good.
KEARNEY: Oh, my God.
NARRATOR: Among the most dangerous automobile collisions is the broadside.
Injuries to the shoulders, head, back, and pelvis are common.
The front-end impact Rusty sustained tells a different story.
Remember, seat belts only work if you use them.
Our belted-in human survived, but I can't say the same for our free-flying dummies.
This is why Rusty does what he does.
Have you ever gotten to see yourself like this before? Not quite in this detail.
This is pretty amazing.
NARRATOR: There is no substitute for direct experience, and his insights guide investigators in their crash analysis, ultimately making our roads safer.
LIEBERMAN: Now you can see that all the glass that scratched your arm was actually out the front door.
HAIGHT: Actually, yeah, it was.
That was surprising.
If you run that back a second, I actually saw where some of that tempered glass from the side windows on the little car was peppering my arm, and that's where I got those little bits embedded.
Freeze right in, just coming up.
-You can see right there.
-LIEBERMAN: This is the glass.
HAIGHT: Yeah, coming up.
LIEBERMAN: We can actually tell what window it was from.
Oh, absolutely.
That glass is hitting you at 40 miles an hour.
Oh, but there is something interesting I want to point out.
Go back just a second.
NARRATOR: Let's watch this at 4,000 frames per second.
Look next to Rusty's left ear.
See the smoke? That's called a seat-belt pretensioner, and a lot of cars have those.
It takes out slack in the belt at the beginning of the crash.
I've had a lot of those go off, and I've never noticed that.
That's pretty amazing.
NARRATOR: The simulated carnage inside the other car is shocking.
LIEBERMAN: You can see these two back passengers hitting each other, and that passenger's head was ripped right off by the other passenger's head.
So it wasn't even the car that did the damage to each of them.
NARRATOR: There is poetry in motion, and tragedy, as well.
How's it going, Cupid? Well, I hit the target this time.
-That's an improvement.
-That's pretty good.
This was supposed to be the easy part of my day.
Trying to just set up a bunch of objects to hit with an arrow, catch it on the high-speed camera.
You're not worried about hitting your high-speed camera? I aimed way left.
NARRATOR: Remember those crash-test dummies we saw earlier? Well, one of the survivors just volunteered for a little overtime.
Can you guys hit that apple? I have a spot on my scope, and I just put it right on the apple, and it should hit it.
-Definitely.
-Yeah.
NARRATOR: Stephany Small and Olivia Morin are training for the Junior Olympics in archery.
Unlike Matt, they actually know what they're doing.
Now you can try what they do from their end of things, but perhaps best to leave the receiving end to our little wooden friend.
So, a little scared? Clearly, I've just been humbled by two young girls who shoot way better than I do.
And almost exactly at the same time, too.
It's crazy it see the apple fly up like this.
This is maybe taking a fiftieth of a second for it to hit the head again and have the second arrow go all the way through.
All right, so you want to know how long in between? Yeah, we were filming this So that seems like it took a long time, but the apple is falling off the head that entire time.
If you were listening, it almost sounded like they hit at exactly the same time.
Clearly, it looks like there's a time distance here, but there really isn't.
NARRATOR: What's next? How about seeing a soda go pop? Stephany? And warped.
-KEARNEY: That's pretty cool.
-LIEBERMAN: That's great.
The fact that it rips open is really surprising, probably, to most people, but a soda can is almost like tinfoil.
It's constructed in that completely cylindrical way so that it can be stacked really high under a lot of compressive load and not break.
They're consistent about bottle to bottle, or can to can in your case, about how thick they are.
But right now, basically, these things are gonna rip themselves to shreds.
NARRATOR: How about trying something a little more festive, like water balloons? KEARNEY: Very exciting stuff.
-Yeah.
-My favorite balloons.
That's just unbelievable, period.
LIEBERMAN: There are so many things happening in this one clip, it's just amazing.
All right, the first thing is that before the tear makes its way around this yellow part, you see the shock wave go through the balloon, right? So you see this bump form, and you see it travel right in front of the tear.
-KEARNEY: Right.
-Just barely.
But both of those things are going at the speed of sound in that medium.
So it's roughly, you know, that this is tearing apart.
So we had to get this so fast to just see these different transitions happening.
You can see, especially when it starts to bunch up and there's not so much tension holding it flat, that those shock waves really ripple out, and this forms many layers of shock waves.
KEARNEY: That's pretty awesome.
It's like a cartoon.
The water is still sitting there.
The balloons are gone.
NARRATOR: When we last left Rusty Haight, he was brushing off the glass after an amazing crash test.
LIEBERMAN: All this glass is from the other car.
Right, exactly.
It looks bad, but it's totally no big deal.
-I've had lot worse.
-Just a flesh wound.
No, it's actually just itty-bitty bits of glass.
It'll wash off in a minute.
NARRATOR: But there is one last test left to do.
The rear-end collision.
It's kind of a rush.
You feel lifted in the car and kind of like you're moving backwards.
Really, you're not moving.
The car's moving forward, and you're catching up.
-Newton's laws.
-That's it.
The best way to do it is to let you experience it firsthand.
[Record scratches] NARRATOR: Excuse me, what was that? The best way to do it is to let you experience it firsthand.
NARRATOR: We just spent all this time building up Rusty as the only guy who risks life and limb as a human crash-test dummy, and he recruits another dummy? Hands on the steering wheel.
NARRATOR: That would be a "yes.
" You got the belt where you normally wear it.
Like I said, foot resting gently on the brake.
We'll have it in neutral and we'll have the engine off.
NARRATOR: It's tough to doubt Jeff's devotion to Newtonian physics at a time like this.
An impact, even at a little over 10 miles an hour, is, well, you notice it.
We've added a couple of small high-speed cameras inside the car to record Jeff up close during the crash.
Our boy seems calm, at least on the surface.
Meanwhile, Rusty is lining up the hit.
Geez.
KEARNEY: [Laughs] Hey, man.
Are you all right? How did that feel, man? -You all right? -What? How'd that feel, taking one for the team? I think it felt pretty good, but I definitely felt myself leave the chair.
-We should check that out.
-You okay? Yeah, let's look at it once I can get out of here.
HAIGHT: I was talking about the car moving away from you.
LIEBERMAN: That is a really clear demonstration.
HAIGHT: And look at the seat belt loosening up on your lap.
And that's why when we talk about seat belts being for frontal impacts, this is a rear-end impact, so that seat belt, hmm, not gonna do you so much.
Not doing much, which is why the air bag doesn't go off.
Exactly.
Exactly.
NARRATOR: Let's watch again.
Amazingly, rear-enders are frequently more injurious than front-end collisions.
This footage tells us why.
HAIGHT: Look at the muscles in your neck.
-How's your neck feeling, huh? -My next feels okay.
I didn't even realize that one of my earbuds flew right out.
HAIGHT: You had told me you didn't think it did.
I didn't think it did.
HAIGHT: At the end, the look of shock on your face.
-KEARNEY: What did you say? -What did I say? I don't know.
I don't think I can even translate.
NARRATOR: Rusty Haight endures these crashes so you don't have to.
And although you've heard this before in driver ed class, listen up one more time.
What can people do besides wear a seat belt and have an air bag to be safe? You have to drive defensively and then count on those safety systems in your car.
Seated properly, wear the safety system, you're good to go.
NARRATOR: Bad news, gas prices are insane.
Good news, there are advantages to staying off the road, hanging at home, and watching TV.
And if there's something you want to see warped, check us out on the Discovery Channel Website, dsc.
discovery.
com, and the warp you see just might be your own.
- [Glass breaking] -Whoops!