Derek Jones was sitting stationary in his Subaru XV when he was hit by a lorry travelling at 65mph. He survived to tell the story and is convinced that his Subaru saved his life. Read on for the full story and to see why we believe that Subaru cars really are the safest cars in the World.

"It was a freak accident"

Subaru recently revealed the following shocking and yet reassuring story of one of their customers who was hit by a lorry at high speed and lived to tell the tale.

But before share the story, we thought we'd give a quick overview of just some of the safety features across the Subaru range which highlight just how safe these cars are (you can read our full insight on the Subaru range here)

Eyesight Driver Assist

  • The Pre-collision Braking system warns the driver of a potential collision via a light on the dashboard and a sounded alert. If action isn’t taken, brakes are applied automatically.
  • The Pre-collision Throttle Management gives a visual and audible warning should drive be selected instead of reverse, when parked facing an obstacle. Adaptive Cruise Control allows you to set both vehicle speed and a distance from the vehicle in front. By constantly monitoring distance and speed, the system will adjust to the flow of traffic.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control allows you to set both vehicle speed and a distance from the vehicle in front. By constantly monitoring distance and speed, the system will adjust to the flow of traffic.
  • The Lane Sway Departure Warning alerts the driver should the car starts to sway or change lane without signalling. If you deviate from the lane, Lane Keep Assist will gently correct your steering. Lastly, Lead Vehicle Start Alert will alert the driver if the vehicle ahead has started moving from stationary traffic, but you haven’t.

Active Safety Systems

  • The Driver Monitoring System warns the driver should the system detect the driver’s eyes shutting or looking aside for extended periods of time.
  • The Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection uses sensors to alert you of vehicles in your blind spots, helping avoid potential collisions when changing lanes or reversing. When reversing, four sensors found in the rear bumper detect objects and obstructions behind you. Should something be detected, the Reverse Automatic Braking system will alert you and/or automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision or reduce damage.
  • Front, Rear and Side View Monitors display a feed from external cameras on your vehicle to assist in any manoeuvre, including parking. High Beam Assist and Automatic Steering Responsive Headlights ensure maximum visibility without dazzling oncoming traffic. Not only will the lights follow you into a corner, they will switch on automatically when darkness is detected.
  • Vehicle Dynamics Control System and Active Torque Vectoring keep you on the right track through an array of sensors, which monitor and analyses your vehicle and its intended course. Should your car approach the stability of your course, the AWD distribution, engine output and brakes at each wheel will be adjusted.

Passive Safety Systems

  • The Subaru Global Platform has an improved safety performance (Increasing the body strength by 40%) and can safely absorb and dissipate more energy in the event of a collision. The Cabin-Protecting Layout compromised of the low-mounted engine and gearbox are designed to absorb the impact safely, whilst the Ring-Shaped Reinforcement Frame strengthens the cabin from the roof to the doors, pillars and floors.
  • A series of front, front side, curtain and knee SRS Airbags give passengers a higher level of protection in the event of a collision.
  • Subaru cars feature Whiplash-Reducing Front Seats, Seatbelts with Pretensioners and ISOFIX Adapted Child Seat Anchors.

Back To The Story!

Derek and his wife had set out from their home in Monmouth, heading towards London, to return their two grandchildren to Derek’s son-in-law. They’d arranged to meet at the Chieveley service station on the M4 near Newbury.

Driving their 11-month-old Subaru XV, Derek was just half a mile away from the service station when he came across a long queue of standing traffic.

“It stretched as far ahead as I could see,” says Derek. “Because we were at the tail-end of this queue, my wife decided she was going to get out of the car with our 10- and 12-year-old grandchildren – so they got out and went to stand on the verge behind the barrier. And then the next second, this lorry came straight into the back of me!”

"“The police say the tachograph shows that he was doing about 65mph when he hit me. But I didn’t feel or hear anything at the time – I must have lost consciousness as soon as he hit me.”"

The collision catapulted Derek’s XV into the barrier at the edge of the hard shoulder and then out into the middle lane of the motorway. Again, incredibly fortunately, no other vehicles were involved – and a nearby motorist was able to immediately call for the emergency services.

Surrounded by several fire engines, police vehicles and an ambulance, with the air ambulance also on the scene, Derek recalls that the first thing he heard when he started to regain consciousness was the “awful crunch, crunch, crunch” of firefighters using their ‘jaws of life’ hydraulic equipment to cut and prise their way into the vehicle to gain access to him. “It was a pretty horrible noise,” he admits. “But I knew they had to do it. Mind you, they told me they even broke one set of equipment trying to get to me which just goes to show how incredibly strong Subaru cars are!

“I remember asking my son-in-law how he was, then I asked the fireman nearest me if he wanted me to get on the stretcher. And he said ‘Well, can you?!’ “And, actually, I could. I was probably in shock. But I just got out and got on the stretcher! I can remember one firefighter saying to other emergency responders: ‘Bloody hell! He just got out on his own!' They took me straight to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford – and I was on a trauma ward for a week. I had seven broken ribs, two broken bones in my neck and two broken bones in my back. I fractured my collarbone, my teeth were all knocked loose, and I had various cuts and bruises all over me. But it could have been a lot worse!”

Designed to absorb and dissipate energy

Derek is the first to admit that both he and his car suffered amazingly little damage – all things considered... And that’s largely due to the way his XV was designed and built.

Building the latest generation of Subaru vehicles on the Subaru Global Platform increases the body strength by 40%. In the event of a collision, the frame of each vehicle is designed to absorb and safely dissipate more energy, directing it away from occupants, beneath the seating compartment.

An integrated ring-shaped reinforcement frame also strengthens the passenger cabin from the roof to the doors, pillars and floor. This design feature again helps to divert and dissipate impact energy away from the car’s occupants in a collision. It also contributes to strengthening and lightening the chassis, leading to greater, reinforced protection. Which could explain why the firefighters had to work hard to get to Derek in the first place…

“We’d previously bought Citroën C3s for several years,” says Derek. “But I absolutely loved the Subaru van I had for work years ago and always wanted another Subaru. So when we changed the car last year, we went for this one. And we’re very impressed with it – especially now!”

"We’re so very glad we chose to buy a Subaru! The advanced safety features are incredible. The visibility, the driver monitoring system, the alerts you get and the way it’s built too. You can see from the photos of my accident that the XV actually still looks pretty much like a car, rather than just a crumpled lump of metal! I personally think that if I hadn’t been in a Subaru, I wouldn’t be here today. The protection it offered me saved my life. I absolutely believe that. It’s been a pretty horrific experience over the last few months. But we’re both so very glad we chose to buy a Subaru!"

Subaru began performing collision tests as far back as the early 1960s, long before industry-wide crash testing was required. Today, they make some of the safest cars on the road with their entire range of SUVs and Crossovers (Forester, Outback and XV) plus the Levorg have the maximum 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

Subaru And Colin Appleyard

As a company with family at the heart of it, we're proud to be associated with a brand who make no compromises on performance or safety. And when it comes to looking after you and your family, we'll be only too happy to guide you through the Subaru range to find the car that's right for you.

You can browse through our new and used Subaru ranges on our website but why not get in touch and see for yourself how good these cars really are by contacting your local Colin Appleyard Subaru dealer to arrange a viewing.