Old timers talk about how you could drive an old car into a brick wall, and the frame would still be straight, but you drive a new car into a snow bank, and it is totalled.
Those are called crumple zones - and I'd rather have the *car* absorb the energy and be totalled than have it transfer that energy into the occupants inside, who get turned into jello on the unpadded, sharp metal dash or impaled on the non-collapsing steering wheel tree.
By the way, when I was 4 or 5, my grandfather was at a stop light, and I was resting my head on the dash... he creeped forward until he hit the car in front of him at probably less than 5MPH. The impact launched my head back and then down onto the dash, splitting my forehead open. I still have the scar. Of course, seatbelts weren't mandatory and a 5 year old could be in the front seat with no booster back in those glorious days of deadly metal dashboards.
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