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Road safety model shows how humans might look if they'd evolved to survive car crashes

Meet Graham. He’s described as “the only person designed to survive on our roads”.

Designed by the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) in Victoria, Australia, Graham’s body has been designed to highlight some of the vulnerabilities of a human body in a car crash. For instance, his large head is there because, while our brains have fluid surrounding it to protect it from small knocks, in a car crash that’s not nearly enough. Our brains can hit the inside of our skulls, causing enormous amounts of damage. Graham doesn’t have that problem because his skull is bigger and he has a lot more protective fluid than we do.

Or take his rather different looking chest. No, those aren’t lots of extra pairs of saggy nipples. They’re effectively air bags. Normally, when a car crashes, the seat belt uses your rib cage to help take the impact. In Graham’s case, his natural ‘airbags’ will expel liquid when hit, helping to absorb the impact. Gross? Maybe a little. Safer? You bet. 

He may not be the most attractive man we’ve ever seen but we think he’s pretty cool. But don’t take our word for it. From his knees (they can bend in all directions) to his neck (he doesn’t have one), why not get to know Graham for yourself? He’ll be in a couple of locations around Victoria (the Australian one, not the London one unfortunately) but you can also visit him at his website.

Joe Calafiore, chief executive officer at the TAC said "People can survive running at full pace into a wall but when you’re talking about collisions involving vehicles, the speeds are faster, the forces are greater and the chances of survival are much slimmer... Cars have evolved a lot faster than humans and Graham helps us understand why we need to improve every aspect of our roads system to protect ourselves from our own mistakes.” 

It’s pretty easy to feel unbeatable on the roads and to forget that our steering wheel is controlling a large, dangerous metal machine but with 1,732 people killed in traffic accidents last year in the UK alone, perhaps it’s time we remember that, unlike Graham, we’re not designed to survive a car crash. Next time you’re in your car, expect the unexpected, take that corner a little slower and remember this. You’re not Graham (even if your name is actually Graham) and neither is anyone else on the roads. Let’s all try and drive a little safer. 


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