By on November 22, 2009

Ford illustrates the ugly side of social media-based advertising: exploiting and promoting baseless prejudices by reprinting ignorant opinions. Like this misguided and misleading “thank you” posted at

I am here today because 5 years ago, I was driving my 1993 Ford Ranger XL. Thats a midsize truck, but not midsize in saving my life. I have not ever written about this before, but I thought Ford (and all its engineers) would benefit in knowing that they have been instrumental in saving my life. The reason I can say this with certainty, is because of the nature of my car crash. I ask you, if you were broadsided at 60+ ( I was on a highway in Ca) and all that saved you was your vehicles chasis..if you were driving say, a Honda..would you be here reading this?? Maybe, but not likely. All that happened to me was, I had a heck of a bent truck frame (rear suspension) and a minor seat belt bruise! I almost tipped the truck over on its side, I was hit that hard..but luckily, she righted herself in time! (I know its silly, but you got to name your trucks) This was my first Ford, and god willing not my last. I may have lost traction, due to the road being wet..but I tell you I would not be soo lucky driving anything other than a Ford. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication. I just thought it would be nice to tell someone. Thanks..I could never be more grateful for your company, God bless you.

Your friend,


[Note: the Ranger pictured above is not the one from the wreck]

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59 Comments on “Last Night A Ranger Saved My Life...”

  • avatar

    Ah yes, the “Japanese cars are unsafe” straw-man, so often put forth by the “Buy American or else; you shouldn’t have a choice” crowd that screams about the importance of “Freedom” as long as it suits them.
    Something tells me this person would have an existential crisis if someone explained to them how antiquated the design of that truck is. I’d rather get hit in almost anything else  sold in the US today than a Ranger.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    If she was really broadsided at 60+, the odds of her ever writing anything again would not be good. Her judgment of the speed is as suspect as the rest of her letter.

    • 0 avatar

      Just look at what’s left of the car. You think that acccident happened at any less than 60 mph?

      What about videos of crash tests at 40, 50 and 60?  This looks about right to me – but, I’ll take into account the driver who hit this car was probably in the act of decelerating when they realized a collission was immenent.

      As for the safety of Ford Cars… my entire family has been in Ford for over 40 years.

      I was hit in the driver’s door of a Mercury Cougar XR7  at near 20 mph by a Taxi – the car was totalled and I walked away fine.

      My mom was in a Cougar LS and it was struck and spun out and totalled on a highway – and she’s fine to this day.

      My uncles have been in multiple car accidents with Crown Victorias and Mercury Sables/ ford Tauruses, and they are ALL FINE.

      I got hit by a Ford Van while I was driving my Ford Expedition 2002 and it damaged the entire side of the car (passenger) and the mirror exploded sending shards of glass into my hand and arm… and now.. that same truck is in near perfect condition after body work and I still drive it along side my S550  to  haul equiptment back and forth. I put 105,000 miles on it thus far and IT STILL RUNS DAMN NEAR PERFECTLY since I maintain it well.

      So Although I’m not happy with the interior space of the Taurus SHO, what I can say is that all that extra padding and door protection makes that car safe enough to withstand impacts from SUV’s.  I appreciate Ford’s focus on safety and I see it in all their vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      There is no indication that picture is of the one she was in. The link to the story does not have a picture. I suspect Ed just Googled for a wrecked Ranger picture.

  • avatar

    While I won’t say that a ’93 Ranger was definitively safer than anything Honda made in ’93, just the higher seating position could have been enough to save her life vs being in a Civic or something of that nature, depending on what kind of vehicle slammed into her.
    Bad accident survivors are a very special kind of loyal for life customers.  We recently had an elderly couple whose MKS was totaled when a driver running a red light slammed into them.  The car did exactly as it should have and folded up, but kept it all out of the passenger compartment, letting them out of the accident with nothing more than a couple minor scrapes from the airbags.
    When they came back to the dealership with their insurance check to pick up a new MKS to replace the totaled one they ended up talking to other customers, and I believe they were personally responsible for two other Lincoln sales that day.
    As far as if the poster in question is right or wrong, it’s good publicity for Ford.  Whenever you have consumer based (as in non-expert) reviews or testimonials you are bound to get some misinformation thrown around.  There are plenty of people who post about their Toyotas running for over 200K miles and saying that it would have been impossible for a domestic car to achieve that, which we all know is patently false, but they believe it, and there are plenty of people who will read it and be willing to believe it.

    • 0 avatar

      If only the MKS was bigger… I’d consider it over a  Mercedes Benz. Even the E-class is larger inside than the MKS (regardless what the specs say).

      I will say I do trust Lincoln for safety. I see it in all of their cars both new and old that I encounter.

  • avatar

    “. . . exploiting and promoting baseless prejudices by reprinting ignorant opinions.”
    Not to worry, TTAC, no one will ever do it as well as you.

  • avatar

    “I may have lost traction, due to the road being wet…”
    That’s why they have invented decent, road-holding cars. (Civics, for example).

  • avatar

    isn’t the Ranger some kind of Mazda anyway?

    Ford don’t have any involvement in sub F150 sized vehicles.

  • avatar

                Early 90’s pickup cabs were basically a tincan perched atop a ladder frame. As this impact were obviously from non drivers’ side, that frame acted as an extremely heavy duty version of the steel door reinforcements now put in all cars to prevent cabin intrusion. No unibody car will accept the weight and space penalty of steel bars that thick, so in this particular instance, with a crash coming from the non occupied side of the car, driving a pickup possibly did save his life versus a civic. If your sole concern in life is being tboned from the right, a pickup may not be such a bad choice safety wise, as long as the vehicle doing the tboning has a bumper low enough to engage the pickup’s frame.
                Somewhat related, I really think crash testing should be done car against car, car against pedestrian / cyclist / motorcyclist etc. (dolls, not real ones) with a levy charged on cars depending on the risk they pose to others. Focusing solely on occupant safety of individual cars crashing into walls, have had the unfortunate consequence of making the entire fleet heavier, thus more dangerous to other road occupants.

  • avatar

    Tend to agree with Stuki – the right accident to have with this trucklet.
    Engineering can count, although neither Rose’s anecdote or the one linked below can count as enough data to make a conclusion. Look at the accident photos in entry #10 of the thread. Interestingly enough, both vehicles are about the same weight….

  • avatar

    What would happen if ‘god forbid’ two Fords were in an accident with each other?!
    Would one person get to write a complimentary letter and the other a negative one?
    It’s not funny.  It could happen.

  • avatar

    And don’t forget the nickname for the passenger side front… suicide seat.  More cars get t-boned on that side anyway.  Weird statistic.

    • 0 avatar
      Brendon from Canada

      Doesn’t sound like a weird statistic at all – it’s likely to do with a number of factors like time for avoidance based on where the vehicles are situated on the road (to hit the driver’s side, you’d need to cross an intersection – not so with a passenger side hit), the visibility of the driver (presumably it is easier to see out the driver’s side window without distraction), and the relative reaction of a driver to a vehicle bearing down on their side of the vehicle (I’m assuming the tendency is to allways put as much space between yourself and danger)…. 

      While this is a bit of supposition, some may be fact – I had actually read the rationale for all of this at some point but don’t a reference handy (thus I’m not sure about the accuracy of my recollection vs. some sort of potentially incorrect deduction); as I recall, the driver’s seat is typically the safest of the “corners” (rear-middle being overall safest), followed by the rear behind the driver, then the front passenger, then the rear passenger.

    • 0 avatar

      From a geometry standpoint, the impacting vehicle has more reaction time prior to hitting the driver’s side than the passenger side, since it has to go across the other lane of cross traffic to hit a driver’s side.  Someone hitting the passenger side has the vehicle much closer to them in the intersection.
      Additionally, if we assume that most t-bone crashes happen at signalized intersections, then the reasoning may be that the passenger side crash is given time to develop by the signal timing, where the driver’s side crash has distances against it.  Someone who goes through a very old yellow, or just turned red, light will clear the impacting vehicles on the driver’s side during the all-red time that’s present at almost all intersections.  Even if the impacting vehicle is at some speed and anticipating the light, the all-red time will allow clearance.  However, the same person anticipating the light from the passenger side will have the impacted vehicle cross in front of them at the same time, or even after their light turns green.

  • avatar

    If a Prius can save the planet, why can’t a Ranger save an individual?

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    NOTE: The Ranger pictured above was not the one from the story. There is no doubt in my mind that the person who wrote the story would have sustained much more serious injuries from being hit at 60+ mph broadside. I will try to find a video of what that would entail. I’m sorry if the picture was misleading.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Here’s a crash test at 60 mph: note the tremendous recoil action and destruction. This is head on: a t-bone would have been even worse. The odds of surviving a 60 broadside in a Ranger are slim, in my mind.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Sorry here is the video:
    Must get edit function restored!

  • avatar
    Daniel J. Stern

    Oy vey. Baseless testimonials like this really put me up a wall, whether they come from cops who make ignorant assertions based on what they think they understand of what they see (“The airbag saved his life, no doubt about it!”) or from wide-eyed True Believers like Ms. Rose here.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Here’s a Ranger in an IIHS side impact test at 30 mph. Please note that at 60 mph, the impact force would be four times as great.

    • 0 avatar

      If 25y out of engineering school I can remember it correctly…
      It is not exactly Impact Force, because that is a F=m*a calculation, the derivative of that dv/dt = K.E. = 1/2*m*v**2,
      where K.E.: Kinetic Energy, m: mass, v: velocity
      v1 = 30, then K.E.1 is proportional to 900, and
      v2 = 60, then K.E.2 is proportional to 3600
      this means that the Impact Energy related to v1 is, and you pointed-out above, 3600/900 = greater by a factor of 4.
      p.s. I should also point-out, relative to my earlier post, the UPN150/1 was launched for the 1998MY, and the 1993 Ranger referred to in the post was based on an earlier platform (I think it was U/PN105.)

    • 0 avatar

      There is another equation that the chassis engineers wrestle with – the impact and momentum equation. This is force times delta time = change in mass times velocity. The  force is the force of impact – usually a sharp spike over a matter of milliseconds of time duration of the collision. That force is the change in vehicle velocity times its mass, but complicated by interaction with the other vehicle or object, if any. The momentum – the  vehicles mass times its velocity, is what it is. It all has to be dissipated. But if the engineers can lower the peak of the force spike and increase the amount of time it takes the collision to travel through the crush zones, then it will be a better outcome for the vehicle’s occupants.   Vehicles today fold up like cheap umbrellas for a reason, hopefully excepting their passenger compartment.

  • avatar

    Fords might have better overall safety, but Hondas have an incredible “safety/L” number.

  • avatar

    Friend’s parents were on the JFX in Bal’mer when they tangled with a Ford pickup, I don’t know if it was a Ranger or a 150.  They were in a Volvo, walked away.  The passengers of the Ford died on the scene, despite the fact that the Volvo they hit was occupied by two doctors (my friend’s parents) who upon walking away from said Volvo immediately began administering first aid.

  • avatar

    Ford Ranger side impact ratings:

    Honda Fit side impact ratings:

    In both tests the vehicle was hit in the side by a 3306 pound cart:

    Honda’s smallest car easily outperforms the Ranger in a side impact.  In 1993 the ranger might have been safer than a Civic, but we don’t live in 1993.
    A brief browsing of IIHS side impact tests shows that the, among modern platforms, side impact airbags are the definitive factor in how safe a car will be in a side impact.  The Ranger still cannot be had with them. 

    If the MKS and Taurus are safe that has nothing to do with Ford, both are built on a Swedish engineered platform that Ford acquired when it purchased Volvo.

    All of Ford’s safest designs come from Ford of Europe.  With its US designs Ford has had everything from the Explorer/Firestone debacle to cop killing exploding gas tank Crown Vics. 

    There is also this somewhat famous comparison that made the rounds a couple years ago:

    It must be said that the front impact tests reflect what would happen if the car hit another car of the same weight, unlike the side impact tests, in which all tested vehicles are hit with the an equal weight.  But still.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s the old 1997-2003  F150 in that report. The 2004 and up do considerably better.

    • 0 avatar

      The Taurus and MKS have been considerably reengineered by Ford. They are not merely rebodied Volvos.

      The Crown Victorias sustained a direct hit – while sitting still – from vehicles traveling at 75+ mph. Very few vehicles can sustain that level of impact.

    • 0 avatar

      Geeber, Ohio spent more than a million retro-fitting the State Patrol’s Crown Vics after a couple of deaths from rear end collisions where the person hitting the cruiser was doing less than 75 MPH. This happened more than twice, hence why they spent the money on something Ford sold as an option that should have been standard equipment. I believe they figured one was traveling at 65, the other at 60 mph. There was also an account of someone hitting a Crown Vic that killed a model that was traveling 50 to 55MPh, so this was an issue at normal highway speeds, not just high speed scenarios.

    • 0 avatar

      The Crown Victoria is the only vehicle crash tested to withstand a 75 mph rear-end collision. Also note that the average speed of the vehicle hitting the Crown Victoria in these collisions was well over 70 mph.
      The reason the fire-supression system wasn’t standard was because of cost; municipalities and state governments weren’t willing to pay for it, and it also costs more money to maintain.

      I doubt there are many vehicles that can sustain a direct hit at those speeds.

  • avatar

    I’ve noticed that a great deal of Ford advertising is being propagated by viral campaigns and ‘word of mouth’ campaigns; more than any other manufacturer has ever put forth, to the best of my recollection.
    Many of the claims made are highly specious while others are extreme puffery.

  • avatar

    NHSTA didn’t do side crash ratings until 1996, and the oldest data I could find on the Ranger was 2000.  Which is OK since it hasn’t changed much since the stone age.  And sure enough, at that time, it compared very well to other small trucks.  As anecdotal as this story is there may be an element of truth to it.
    2000 NHSTA side impact ratings:
    Ranger – 5 stars
    S-10 pickup – 3 stars
    Dakota – 5 stars
    Tacoma – 1 star (!)
    Frontier – 4 star

  • avatar

    This is nothing but a case of observational bias. Person survives accident in Brand X car. Therefore, it must be the car’s doing. Therefore, all Brand X cars are safe & all others are death traps. For every person who survived a crash in a Ranger, I can probably find you another who knows somebody who knows somebody who died in one and would never buy one.
    I survived an accident in an ’80 Datsun 310, but you don’t see me trying to buy another, because I know anything built in the last 20 years is safer.

    • 0 avatar

      Ditto. I got t-boned in a 1980 Mustang, albeit at slow speeds on a side street by a woman who ran the stop sign. I still think that car is a POS.

      So what about Rose claiming the Ranger saved her life. It is no different than every newspaper article or TV report about somebody being killed on the roads and it’s always some variation of: A)they were speeding; B) they weren’t wearing seatbelts; or C) the motorcycle rider wasn’t wearing a helmet. It’s all propaganda by any other name.

  • avatar

    The side impact videos have me tempted to start wearing a helmet when I drive. Thanks, Paul, for providing them.
    +10  Stuki:  Somewhat related, I really think crash testing should be done car against car, car against pedestrian / cyclist / motorcyclist etc. (dolls, not real ones) with a levy charged on cars depending on the risk they pose to others. Focusing solely on occupant safety of individual cars crashing into walls, have had the unfortunate consequence of making the entire fleet heavier, thus more dangerous to other road occupants.

  • avatar

    And very useful blog

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    All of Ford’s safest designs come from Ford of Europe.  With its US designs Ford has had everything from the Explorer/Firestone debacle to cop killing exploding gas tank Crown Vics. 

    Safety has been a priority for Ford since the 1950’s (Pinto excepted; Explorer/Firestone episdode is a whole other argument, mostly because of driver control error).  Meanwhile, the Volvo-sourced chassis under the Taurus was developed under Ford ownership. 

    As far as the cop-killing gas tanks, a drunk/distracted driver slamming into the back of any car is going to set off the fireworks.  With Crown Victorias having been bought as a majority of patrol cars for the last 3 decades, and officers parked on the side of the highway during a traffic stop naturally will have higher Ford statistics.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel J. Stern

      Uh, no, absolutely not. Ford’s having marketed an optional safety package in 1956 does not mean “safety has been a priority for Ford since the 1950s”, much though Ford’s PR team would love us to believe it. In actual fact, Ford has a long and terrible safety record in North America. The Pinto’s a big, obvious example, but we’ll tie one hand behind my back by disregarding it for the moment. Instead, we’ll look at the engine fans that flew apart and killed or grievously injured mechanics and bystanders, the automatic transmissions that jumped out of Park (for which the “fix” was a dash sticker reminding drivers to set the parking brake firmly), wheels that fell off the Focus, the Explorers that rolled not because of “driver error”—which would’ve shown up in other-brand vehicles comparable to the Explorer—but because Ford specified inadequate tires, ignition switches and alternator connectors and cruise control switches that cause Ford products to catch on fire while turned off and unattended…and yes, let’s take a look at the Clown Victoria’s incendiary tendency when struck from behind, shall we? Your dismissal (and apparent difficulty with basic statistical principles) notwithstanding, Ford’s own statistics showed the 1992-97 Crown Victoria has a fatal rear crash fire rate 3.6 to 4.8 times higher than the comparable 1985-96 Chevrolet Impala/Caprice.
      Let’s be realistic and have a little less cheering for Ford’s (un)safety history,  thanks.

    • 0 avatar

      The Panther cars (Crown Vic/Grand Marquis/Town Car) are the ONLY cars built today with the gas tank in the crumple zone.
      Ever wonder why that is?
      “If the MKS and Taurus are safe that has nothing to do with Ford, both are built on a Swedish engineered platform that Ford acquired when it purchased Volvo.”
      Nail on the head.  A lot of “Ford’s” safety advances were ripped off from Volvo.  It’s no surprise that the D3 platform cars are safe…Volvo did all of the hard work…Ford just slapped on a (bland) body and a Ford sticker on the front.

  • avatar

    Rangers do have side airbags now, as of the 2010 model year. However just side airbags are not enough, it really depends how strong the side structure is. Korean engineered vehicles (Accent, Aveo, Rio, etc) tend to have struggled up to now even with side airbags. Even something like a Silverado has a poor side impact rating, with or without side airbags.
    As far as Ford goes, it really depends on the individual vehicles. F150’s before 2004 had poor crash safety ratings as the frame folded up like an accordion, they are good now.

  • avatar

    Not a chance she survived a 60MPH t-bone in a 1993 Ranger.
    Ford is really getting bad with what their PR spin machine spits out as truth.

  • avatar

    Jupiter survived several direst asteroid hits.

  • avatar

    Daniel Stern:
    Don’t forget the Mercury Mountaineers and Ford counterparts that spontaneously combust after being driven and parked, often burning homes down.

  • avatar

    I remember seeing a news report years ago about trucks (Ford or GM I think) with gas tanks behind the seats that would rupture and ignite in the unfortunate event of a side impact. I believe the trucks were 70’s or 80’s full size models. Does anyone know who the manufacturer might be? Just curious as this article jogged my memory. Thanks!

    • 0 avatar

      My memory is hazy, but I’m pretty sure the gas tank placement on my 84 F-150 was a recipe for disaster in any rear or side accident.  It had two gas tanks too, for double the fun.

  • avatar

    Shucks, NBC paid a big fine for that report on GM pickups. Turned out they used some explosives in their side impact fireball demonstration.

  • avatar
    also Tom

    Nice that it saved her, but I will never understand why they couldn’t finally perfect an almost 25 year old design. My re-badged Mazda B4000 has been plagued with one stupid problem after another.

    • 0 avatar

      …and my (non-rebadged?) Ranger with the 2.3 Duratec mill has been flawless for four years now, with only regular maintenance.
      The point stands, same as above: Anecdotal evidence does not a trend make. I’m sure there are plenty of happy Ranger owners and fleet managers who would provide anecdotal evidence that their Rangers have been perfectly satisfactory.

  • avatar

    Did I miss something here?  Over 50 posts, but no one seems to have caught on to the driver’s statement that the impact to her truck occurred behind the occupant compartment?   This will make a big difference on the outcome, even if you take at face value the claimed 60 mph impact speed of the other vehicle.

  • avatar

    I use to drive the 4 cylinder mazda version years back – probably slower than a yugo and 15/16 mpg to boot.  No wonder she couldn’t get out of the way of the T-boning car.

  • avatar

    Most of you are missing the fundamental math difference between Canada and the US.

    The original quote says the survivor’s Ranger was broadsided at “60+”.  60 what, I ask you?  The survivor is Canadian, so naturally I would assume that this is “60+ KPH”, not MPH.

    So what is that…something like  37.2 MPH?  Still fast, but not 60 MPH.  There’s a lot of difference between being broadsided at 40 and at 60.  MPH, that is…

  • avatar

    Combining the above posts by ZoomZoom and 210delray, this becomes unremarkable. My wife survived a “t-bone’ side impact ~30 MPH to the passenger side of the bed in a ’93 Toyota truck with no injuries at all, and the truck (eight years old at the time) wasn’t even totaled. (The spare tire was launched about 75 feet down the road, though.) It was certainly scary, though.
    Regardless, there’s nothing inherently “safe” about that truck — no airbags, no ABS, terrible rain traction, lousy brakes. In fact, reading between the lines of the original post suggests the truck got into the accident in the first place because of wet road conditions that something with some weight over the drive wheels wouldn’t have had a problem with.

  • avatar

    “I may have lost traction, due to the road being wet..”
    Maybe if you had been driving a Honda or driving the truck as trucks should be driven (especially in the wet) you wouldn’t have lost it.
    My little vignette.
    Two years ago, I bought a clean 2003 Mazda B3000 extended cab (Ranger rebadge)
    Last February, I got run off the highway at 65 trying to avoid a drunk driver. I went airborne and landed on top of a concrete drainage culvert. I had a little blackout with disorientation and vertigo for several hours. Don’t know if I hit my head or what. No bumps or bruises. Why the cop didn’t do a field sobriety test or call an ambulance is a mystery.
    Anyway, the truck’s exterior looked quite reasonable with just a couple of bent panels. The body shop found the frame broken in two places. A total. And all I got was the disorientation, which cleared up in a couple of hours and has not bothered me since. No bruises, broken bones or anything.
    Two thoughts on this:
    1. The truck certainly fared well. The frame broke in two places without destroying the integrity of the body (and me!). One of the breaks was under the rear of the cab.
    2. Why the f^ck didn’t the air bags deploy?
    Irregardless (which isn’t a word), I looked around for a replacement truck and bought a 2002 B4000 Dual Sport 4-door, fully decked out from the original owner. Hadn’t planned on buying an older model or even the “same” truck, but this guy had receipts for every maintenance and oil change since new. Runs sweet at 20mpg in the city all day long.
    Now I just gotta keep clear of drunk drivers!

  • avatar

    Id just like to add my little nickle in to say…

    Since when was a RANGER ever midsized?
    Its been compact for as far as I can remember. And remember.. its lineage can be traced through Explorer.. right back to ’86.

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