Even though driving has never been safer (thanks to things like seat belts and air bags), it still plays the field a bit in terms of transportation fatalities. Despite car accident deaths having plummeted since the 1970s, there is still a higher chance of someone being killed in a car accident than being killed while flying or taking the train (the jury is still out on cruise ships).
All joking aside, car accident fatalities are still frequent enough to warrant extensive study and campaigning to better promote road safety and public awareness of driving habits. I’m sure we’ve all, at one time or another, become so fed up with that guy ho-humming down the boulevard at fifteen under the speed limit that we put a foot on the gas and weaved around him. But it’s this kind of aggressiveness that often leads us to collide with other drivers, which is also likely what prompted Australia’s Transport Accident Commission to build Graham.
Graham is an interactive model indicating what the human body would have to look like in order to survive the worst car accidents.
Graham is also horrifying.
And another, for good measure.
The Transport Accident Commission in Victoria commissioned Melbourne sculptor
David Lynch Patricia Piccinini to create Graham, drawing primarily from the knowledge of trauma surgeon Christian Kenfield and road safety engineer David Logan. Graham is built to survive a high-speed car accident and is being called “the only person designed to survive on our roads.” While Graham’s appearance may be the stuff from which nightmares are made, it is purposeful. From Mic:
“To bolster the human body, Graham has a reinforced skull and more cerebrospinal fluid to cushion the skull in the instance of a car crash; a forehead to protect the brain like a helmet; a flat face with his nose and ears protected by the skull; ribs that extend up to the head, replacing his neck; a stronger ribcage and airbag-like torso; thick, tough skin; omnidirectional knees; and ‘spring-loaded,’ hoof-like legs.”
Graham highlights a reality that many of us do not consider: the human body isn’t built to handle the dangers of driving. Driving is the most common form of transportation in the United States, as well as many other parts of the world, but the existential threats that come with it are made worse by the fact we don’t (thankfully) look like Graham.
Dr. Kenfield spoke of the lack of physiology available to protect people from the effects of high-speed collisions.
“The dangers of even low speeds such as 25, 30, 35 kilometres an hour is quite great… The most significant part of the body for injury is the head. So as the head stops the brain actually keeps moving forward, smashing against the front part of the skull and then bouncing backwards and getting an injury on the back of the head as well.”
If we were all built like Graham, these kinds of accidents would be less of a problem. But, we don’t look like Graham, which means we should probably reconsider flying down the highway just because we’re late to work.
Featured image is in the public domain.