Tesla vs Honda head on collision

Tesla vs Honda head on collision

This doesn't look good. Not sure that it is a model S. anyone have an update?

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Two people were killed and one person was injured in a head-on collision in Laguna Beach Tuesday.

Authorities say a Honda and a Tesla collided on Laguna Canyon Road at 6:43 a.m. Both fatal victims were in the Honda. The driver of the Tesla was rushed to a local hospital in unknown condition.

The cause of the accident has not yet been determined. Laguna Canyon Road was shut down between El Toro Road and State Route 73 due to the crash investigation.

DEVELOPING: We will add more details to this report as they become available.

GeekEV | April 5, 2013

@jat - Yeah, I don't buy that either. While the Roadster body was carbon fiber, the chassis was, IIRC, largely an unmodified Lotus Elise. It, unlike the Model S, was not designed to the same rigor of crashworthiness.

Earl and Nagin ... | April 5, 2013

I think you folks may be thinking about the 3-way accident between a Roadster, a Prius, and a Tourag as described here:
The good news is that no one was seriously injured in this accident.
The Roadster is quite safe for a small car too!

GeekEV | April 5, 2013

@Earl - That certainly sounds like the genesis of this urban legend. That picture is a far cry from what @ivosper describd where the hood snapped but everything else was fine...

cwarner | April 5, 2013

@shop and @noel.smyth,
The car was not damaged enough to be totaled so it is at a body shop recommended by Tesla. Insurance is happening per usual but I expect there may be some hassle given no secondary market for parts if the are unhappy with Tesla part prices. Well see. By the way I misspoke. Themotherncar was a Cacalier not a Chevette.

cwarner | April 5, 2013

I meant to say the other car was a Cavalier not a Chevette.

Hogfighter | April 6, 2013

My heart goes out to everyone in this terrible accident. The families of those killed, and the Tesla driver who will have this over him forever (regardless of what actually happened).

This story has made me slow down and drive more normally. The car is wicked fast and a blast to drive, however that type of driving isn't worth the potential consequences.

kback | April 6, 2013


shop | April 6, 2013

@cwarner - seems that we are getting a lot of anecdotal evidence that the S is an unusually safe car. Too bad the government won't release the official results until later this year ( Until then, we do have this video (audio hard to hear, of the S engineering crash tests, and evidence such as your crash.

Just one more great reason to own a Model S.

TikiMan | April 6, 2013

Oddly enough, the last time I was driving on Laguna Canyon Road (Laguna Beach, CA.) about a month ago at night, someone going the opposite direction, flashed their brights at me, and then swerved in my direction (deliberately). I think the HID headlights appear to some as though we have our brights on (especially if the other driver is right next to you heading the other direction, on a one lane highway).

Like I said earlier in this thread, that road has a really bad reputation and has for decades! In fact, the city will not give a full liquor-license to any establishment anywhere on that road, for the very reason that it is so dangerous.

willardb | April 6, 2013

This comment is from the Laguna Beach newspaper:

8:25 pm on Wednesday, April 3, 2013
My boyfriend was the only one at the time on the other side of the road just seconds before this all happened. He was at the light facing these 2 cars on the opposite side and said they were reving their engines and took off at high speeds racing. He said there was definitely a sporty mercedes involved because he saw them. Apparently after they took off racing he was watching them in his rear view mirror and said right when the lane merged he saw the tesla veer and then he couldnt see them anymore. Rifht away he said he had a bad feeling and hoped nothing happened. The scary part is that if he was just a few seconds later it would have been him that was hit. It is a very scary feeling. These 2 drivers should both be held responsible for these 2 innocent mens deaths. I could not imagine what these 2 mens families are going through. It makes me so horribly sad to see things like this happen.

Electron | April 6, 2013

The Tesla was revving?

Brian H | April 6, 2013

I wonder if the Merc will ever be identified. Wonder if the MS rear-view picked it up (w. lic#).

TheFlyer | April 7, 2013

You know what he meant. You can revv mentally too.

sancann | April 7, 2013

I am not sure I know what he meant and how he supposedly heard the Ses engine revv mentally. Sounds more like someone posting on a forum who did not realize the S was quiet, IMHO.

dstiavnicky | April 8, 2013

It seems that the MS wandered quite a bit as there is a 'no use' lane with double yellow lines separating the two opposing lanes. This stuff will always happen no matter what car. Humans make mistakes. Period.

scriptacus | April 8, 2013

@Brian H - Mercedes driver has been identified and interviewed by the police.

Bubba2000 | April 8, 2013

I used to drive Honda cars, had 3 of them. Well designed, fuel efficient cars, but I think structurally it is weak. I was rear ended by a full size car and my car was totaled. The other car barely got a fender bender. Have seen too many fatalities in these cars, especially when hit by a big auto.

It is a big tragedy and the clock can not be turned back. Just got to keep that in mind when driving. Autos can be deadly. Nothing wrong with being careful or even driving slow with traffic. Another temptation I avoid is using my cellphone while driving, even with Bluetooth, unless there is an emergency. Too distracting.

My prayers goes to the victims and their families.

JZ13 | April 8, 2013

Satellite images indicate the Mercedes did not force the Tesla into the Honda's lane. It appears as though the Tesla chose to continue to race the Mercedes and had time to change his mind. The curve in the road must have drifted him into the Honda.

Brian H | April 8, 2013

Yeah, for 6/7 of the population, navigating a conversation uses the same brain circuits as navigating traffic. Choose!

Vawlkus | April 10, 2013

Might want to re-read that link JZ, you've gotten it a little off.

jemartin | April 10, 2013

My heart goes out to the two victims, their families, and 7 young kids, as well as to the driver of the MS. As reported on TeslaMotorsClub and on many local newsfeeds, the Laguna Beach Police Employees Association set up a fund for the two families:

"Those in the community who wish to make a donation can mail a check made out to Alberto and Armando Memorial and sent to LBPEA, PO Box 4611, Laguna Beach, CA 92652."

Count me in.

JZ13 | April 10, 2013

@vawlkus - check out post #309 in that thread. I agree with that theory. Looks like Tesla driver drove illegally for 500 feet after the lanes merged into 1. Very sad.

Captain_Zap | April 10, 2013

note to self:

I shouldn't ever come back to this site if I am in an accident. (knock on dashboard)

Vawlkus | April 11, 2013

Keep reading JZ, that theory got debunked by the skid marks.

JZ13 | April 11, 2013

I've read it all. The skid marks don't debunk the theory. The skidmarks are after after the Honda leading towards the Tesla's final resting spot North of the Honda. They only tell the story of what the Tesla did after impact. Nothing regarding why the Tesla was 2 lanes away from his legal lane.

Vawlkus | April 12, 2013

Go re-read, the skid marks are from the Tesla, and they show he wasn't that far from his lane. They also show he was braking prior to impact and the other car wasn't. Raises a lotta questions in my mind, and spikes that 2 lane over guys theory in a dozen places.

Brian H | April 12, 2013

Maybe the Honda drivers were texting and never saw the MS coming.

jat | April 12, 2013

Between ABS and TC there shouldn't *be* any skid marks from the Tesla, right?

Vawlkus | April 12, 2013

In theory jat. Like I said, there's a lot that's not adding up here.

JZ13 | April 12, 2013

I didn't see that the Tesla laid tracks before impact. I tend to agree with jat on this one. The tracks that veer right after impact are likely the rear of the car spinning around after the front end collided. Unless you are an accident specialist, I don't think any of us can read those tread marks and conclude the cause. It still seems very fishy that the Tesla was 2 lanes over when he hit the Honda and that this was 500 feet after he was supposed to have merged.

danielccc | April 12, 2013

As far as I can see the impact was mostly in the no traffic lane, offset so each car got hit on its left front. It looks like the Honda was somewhat close to the no traffic lane upon impact, even as far as having the left wheels on the double yellow.

The Tesla was not two lanes over at point of impact, just one lane over.

Skid marks are probably a function of the front wheels locking due to impact. Certainly there is no way the left wheel could continue to rotate, and the right was probably blocked as well.

So two theories. One is that the Tesla was in the middle lane (where it should not have been), while the Honda was too close to that lane, or partially in it (where it should not have been either), due to driver distraction (cell phone and so on).

Second theory is that the Tesla went all the way to the Honda lane (two lanes away from where it belonged), and that the Honda driver tried to avoid impact by exiting through the middle lane at the same time the Tesla driver tried to return to that lane.

Obviously the first scenario is more favorable to the Tesla driver, while the second one is disastrous. My guess is that this is the more likely one, since you need an improbable coincidence (distracted Honda driver in just that spot) to explain the first.

There is a safety rule in these cases that says if you have a car coming opposite you in your lane, brake hard and always head to the right as much as you can, because the opposite driver is likely to do a last second attempt to return to his lane when he sees the probable impact.

fritzlan | April 18, 2013

I'm wondering if anyone has seen the police report.

JZ13 | April 19, 2013

Police are getting a warrant to examine Teslas black box. We should know facts in a few weeks.

gzebra1 | May 1, 2013

Here are the pictures of the Tesla Model S that hit the 1992 Honda Accord. I have got to give it to you guys for building great cars. No comment on the circumstances of the accident.

rdalcanto | May 1, 2013

I had no idea cars had a black box that could be used by the police, and lawyers, to determine what a driver was doing. Seems like we need to increase the size of our umbrella policies....

lph | May 4, 2013

Thanks for the better res pics of the MS.
Wow... that is some strong car. The doors are not even slightly wrinkled. My structural training tells me this the one to have if accident saftey is your top priority. Volvo move over!
However, my heart goes out for the relatives of the Honda, very sad indeed.

Jolinar | May 5, 2013

sorry but I think that are images of different crashed car...
just look at the shape of the deformed hood, look at A left pillar, look at the 19/21" wheels, look at the left dent/deformation of the front... I can't believe it is the same car...

Jolinar | May 5, 2013

and the color also look different (blue/black), but that can be just by lighting of the sceene... and on have pano roof and second... well, I am not sure...

f-tal | May 5, 2013

leather is a different color too, this isn't the car from the crash.

portia | May 6, 2013

the posts on facebook is from a guy living in North Carolina, so probably not the same car. the hood damage certainly looked different.

cerjor | May 26, 2013

Has anyone heard any followup on this accident?

nickjhowe | October 21, 2013

Latest update:

Still no news on accident details, pending police investigation.

DouglasR | October 21, 2013

Interesting that the victims' families have named a number of governmental entities as defendants, but the article does not state that they named the drivers of the Model S and the Mercedes. I suspect that is because the police have not yet released the names of those drivers pending a criminal investigation, and so the plaintiffs do not yet have that information.

TikiMan | November 15, 2013 | November 15, 2013

First rule of lawsuits: go after the deep pockets.

O | November 15, 2013

Going back and reading both news stories, it would seem the doc and the victims' families are both on the same side of the issue, blaming the accident on poorly maintained signage.


Gizmotoy | November 15, 2013

Seems pretty crappy that a merge sign was covered up, a guy seemingly got forced into oncoming traffic, and is now facing 9 years in prison for it... for a road that is 2 lanes, 1 lane for less than a mile, then 2 lanes again.

Pretty crazy circumstances, there.

JZ13 | November 15, 2013

The Tesla driver drove illegally in the closed center lane for over 500 feet before he collided with the Honda. The crazy thing is that he would have passed the Honda safely had he stayed in the illegal lane. But he drifted out of the closed lane and into the Honda's lane. My guess is because he was still racing the MB and was going too fast to handle the bend in the road. Probably over 100mph. We'll see what the black box told prosecutors as the facts unfold.

carlk | November 15, 2013

Not sure if your interpretation of what happened is necessarily correct. I've seen too many times people racing for the merged lane. Not saying he'll spend time in jail he just need to get a good lawyer. Anyway just be careful and don't overestimate your ability even when you're driving a fast car.

JZ13 | November 15, 2013

The Tesla can easily drift at speed. I have drifted Ferrari's at high speed unintentionally. Scared the you-know-what out of me.