I do not envy automotive engineers tasked with designing safety features. Trying to calculate the various angles from which an impact can come, and what the specific disposition of that impact might do to the occupants, seems mind-boggling. Not to mention that for every airbag and crumple zone they develop, there's no way of predicting the exact body size of the occupants nor, more importantly, their behavior. Do they drive with one arm out the window, are they slouched to one side, do they not bother to put their seat belt on?
Did you ever wonder what happens in a crash when the airbags deploy but the driver is not wearing their seatbelt? This astonishing video was just posted three days ago and already has nearly 900,000 hits, for good reason. Entitled "Luckiest Truck Driver in Russia," it features the surprising results of what could have been a very nasty truck accident. (The squeamish need not worry, there is nothing gruesome in it.)
Obviously that is not representative of every accident where the driver isn't wearing a seatbelt; the myriad permutations are probably impossible to calculate. Speaking of which, here's another Russian video from five days ago featuring another completely unpredictable type of accident. (Again, fear not, there are no gruesome visuals.)
Although the driver can be seen walking away, the translated description does state that he sustained broken bones.
Now that an insanely deep archive of car accident footage has built up on YouTube—much of it from Russia, where dashboard cams are apparently common—I wonder if engineers find it useful as study material, or if the results are simply too random to parse. But one thing is for sure: As more Earthlings acquire cars—the worldwide total is currently over one billion—and cameras continue to proliferate, the number of these videos will only grow.