The Tumbling Car

Posted on Wednesday 28th June 2017 in Drivers, Education and Training

Buckle up: the tumbling car is coming to the Festival of Speed

Sussex Safer Roads Partnership (SSRP) and GEM Motoring Assist are attending this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed – and they’re bringing a very unusual vehicle with them.

The ‘tumbling car’, which simulates the experience of overturning or entering a rollover collision, has been loaned by the Belgian authorities to GEM and will be making its UK debut at the Festival.

The car is positioned on a rig, and volunteers are invited to get in it, buckle up, and experience what it would be like in a vehicle that turns upside down, then rolls over and over in a collision.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth commented: “Whilst our tumbling car may not be as fast as its supercar cousins, it will be the only one at the Festival of Speed where you can perform several 360-degree loops and live to tell the tale!

“Being upside down in a car, or rolling over several times, is hopefully a situation most drivers are unlikely to have been in before, and the main purpose of this is to let them find out for themselves just how vital a standard three-point seatbelt is in providing them with effective protection in a collision.

“My first ride in the car last year was a real eye-opener. I was in the driver’s seat, hanging upside down, with nothing but the seatbelt to keep me in position, then the car started to spin. Several revolutions later I emerged, a little dizzy but otherwise unharmed. It certainly reminded me that seatbelts really do save lives.

“By putting visitors into this situation, where they can feel what it would be like if they were to roll a car, and to appreciate how a seatbelt looks after you, we can really start to get an understanding of why cars have these safety features, and why the law says you must wear a seatbelt.”

The standard three-point seatbelt that we know today was first introduced in Sweden in 1959. The design by Volvo innovatively spread the energy of an impact over more parts of the body to lessen the severity. It was never patented, and was subsequently offered to other manufacturers for free, so more lives could be saved. Since 1959, laws surrounding seatbelt use have been introduced into more and more countries, and it is estimated that 95% of UK drivers wear theirs.

However, this still leaves more than two million drivers and passengers who are disregarding the laws implemented to protect them.

To see the car in action for yourself, and test it out, visit the SSRP/GEM stand number 409 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this year, from 29 June to 2 July.