For those who ask are Bullbars really necessary

Submitted: Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 13:56
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Hi Guys,

The following photos are for those who ask are Bullbars really necessary if you are not going off road. The photos depict a vehicle that struck a Water Buffalo. You will note that the vehicle is on a bitumen road. Not only was the front of the vehicle completely destroyed, but both from & rear door on the drivers side buckled under the impact. I have no other information regarding speed, time of day the incident occurred, or the condition of the occupants of the vehicle. The water Buffalo did not survive the impact.





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Reply By: pmk03 - Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 14:03

Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 14:03
I doubt a bullbar would have made any difference in this case but in a small animal strike I can see their value.
Paul
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Reply By: Hoyks - Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 14:09

Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 14:09
In that situation you would just have $2k worth of folded 2.5mm steel and tube mashed into the front of the wreck.

Its a 130km road in the NT (my wife drove past the remains on Tuesday) and it has hit a buffalo that would be around the 1000kg mark. Centre of mass of the buff was slightly above the chassis, so everything there became the crumple zone.

You don't want anything too solid as rather than crumple, the animal could roll up over the top of it and then you have 5mm of glass between you and it.
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Follow Up By: tim_c - Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 15:57

Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 15:57
Agree, a bull bar wouldn't have helped this driver much (if at all), though a bull bar is mounted on the chassis, which is where the actual crumple zones are designed to work (not the body panels), so you don't need to worry about it being too solid - the car will still crumple as intended.

A car without a bull bar is designed to deflect things over the bonnet ie. if you hit a pedestrian, the intention of the car designer is that the pedestrian will be deflected over rather than under the car. A bull bar is generally designed to push the animal downwards so it doesn't come in through the windscreen (hence why bull bars are not so favourable in an urban context).

Having said that, if you hit a buffalo and your bull bar impacts his upper legs, all you do is knock his legs out from under him, and if his centre-of-gravity is higher than the top of your bull bar, he'll still likely roll onto your bonnet/windscreen.
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Follow Up By: Hoyks - Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 16:40

Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 16:40
What I was getting at was that the longitudinal strength and crumple zones are designed into the chassis, as that is the level that most vehicle to vehicle impacts will occur.
Cows/buffalo/horses C of G is above this height.
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Follow Up By: tim_c - Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 16:43

Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 16:43
Yep. Car designers probably don't pay a huge amount of attention to such impacts, because they are far in the minority I suspect.
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Reply By: Ron N - Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 14:49

Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 14:49
Macca, it's pretty obvious he didn't hit the brakes, and hit the buff at top highway speed!

I don't think a bullbar would have helped him much, in that instance.

One would have to say it was a night time hit, and thus the advantages of good lighting!

But the cabin is still relatively undamaged, testament to the manufacturers safety engineering!

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 10:17

Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 10:17
Hit the Brakes ? Swerve ? Instead of a centre hit end up rolling over .....
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Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 14:50

Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 14:50
Hi Guys,

I was not suggesting that a Bullbar would prevent any damage from occurring in a collision of this magnitude. However, a Bullbar will prevent significant damage to both the vehicle and the occupants in the event of an animal strike such as an Emu or Kangaroo. Sorry if anyone has misconstrued what I was trying to get across.

Also, quality Bullbars do have "crumple" zones built into their brackets.

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Follow Up By: tim_c - Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 15:48

Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 15:48
The "crumple zones" in bull bar brackets are to absorb shock from low-speed impacts that would otherwise trigger the airbags when it is not safe for them to deploy (ie. you bump someone in the carpark and because you've replaced the flexible plastic bumper with a solid bull bar, the air bag sensors measure a far more severe impact). They probably have an impact absorbing distance of less than 10cm so are not going to provide much benefit to vehicle occupants in a severe impact.

The crumple zones that will actually benefit the occupants at high speed impacts are designed into the chassis, not the vehicle panels. These crumple zones are designed to compress in an impact to absorb as much of the impact as possible over the distance between the bumper and the passenger compartment - the passenger compartment is NOT part of the "crumple zone" and should generally not deform (otherwise occupants can be crushed).

As others have said, the pictures show the car behaving as it was designed to do - sacrificing the engine bay to protect the occupants (though they are generally designed/tested primarily with impacts with other vehicles in mind, which will impact lower on the front of the vehicle).

As others have also noted, I'd suggest a bull bar would provide little (if any) additional protection in the above incident, though for a lower speed impact, or smaller animal, it could well be the difference between driving home or being stranded by the side of the road in an incapacitated vehicle.
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Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 15:07

Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 15:07
It looks like all the safety features did their job, that's the main thing. Autonomous braking in some of the very latest vehicles may reduce the speed, just enough if the driver is not totally alert just before impact and could save lives. I think its an important new safety feature if its standard or even optional. Michael
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Reply By: Joe Fury - Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 15:39

Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 15:39
G'day Macca

It most certainly doesn't have to be a water Buffalo to put the fear of ~ your choice of deity ~ into you when a herbivore decides to end it all.
This
re arranged the front of this.


at speed (110 kmph zone) every air bag was deployed inside the Hilux, the 'bullbar' did it's job holding the spot lights right until the impact, there were no visible skid/tyre marks on the road, cow and car were about 30 metres apart, occupying both sides of the Great Northern Highway, between Newman and the Capricorn Road House.

Safe Travels : Joe
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Follow Up By: tim_c - Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 16:01

Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 16:01
Would we expect to see skid marks from an ABS-equipped vehicle?

As I understand it, ABS has made it difficult for crash investigators to determine vehicle speed prior to impact because there are no skid marks to measure.
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Follow Up By: Joe Fury - Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 16:38

Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 16:38
Good point tim_c.

My guess the crash investigators will be having to check for skid marks else where ~ I'm no crash scene investigator so I can't confirm if there were or were not skid marks on the seats, I'll leave that to the professionals.

Safe travels : Joe
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Follow Up By: tim_c - Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 16:41

Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 16:41
Ha! :-)

If the passenger seats have them, they were travelling fast. If the driver's seat has one, they were going really fast.
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Follow Up By: Member - johnat - Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 20:01

Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 20:01
As I understand it from a few conversations with crash investigators, ABS changes the "skid" marks into a series of smaller "stutters". Obviously, the length of the line of "stutters" would indicate speed, just not quite as easy to determine as when there's a full skid line (or 4).
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Follow Up By: Hoyks - Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 21:27

Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 21:27
Its a fair bet that they can download the event data recorder that's hidden away in the ECU and it will tell the truth of what you were doing in the seconds up until the air bags deployed.

Skid marks will just confirm the road position while you were doing it.

This Drive article and Research Paper are a few years old, but gives you some idea of where they are heading with it.
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 10:31

Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 10:31
Yep, they can download all the data they require from the airbag computer these days.
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 10:33

Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 10:33
So can the insurance companies for that matter
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Reply By: Erad - Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 15:49

Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 15:49
Ouch! A couple of years back, we were heading South, not that far from Alice Springs and we saw a station wagon which had hit a cow the night before. Cow was well and truly deaded. Because it was a car based wagon, the cow simply rolled up the bonnet, over the screen and continued along, denting the roof and even the tailgate. The car was totalled. I doubt that the occupants would have been physically hurt. They were lucky (I think) because the car kept going and topped about 20 m or more past the cow. If it was my 4WD, the cow would have stopped it dead and I think we would have been in a lot of trouble, bullbar or not.

There's no grass on the bitumen out there because the cows come in and eat it at nighttime (it is also a lot warmer on the road than out ion the bush).
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Follow Up By: tim_c - Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 16:02

Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 16:02
LOL - no grass on the bitumen! :-)
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 18:28

Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 18:28
Found this on FB, a couple of years ago. Might have been eating grass on the bitumen too?



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Follow Up By: 9900Eagle - Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 04:24

Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 04:24
Bob, I believe the driver was charged with rustling and the vehicle was forfeited.
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Reply By: IvanTheTerrible - Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 21:43

Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 21:43
Not a lot of water buffalo's in Melbourne!
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Follow Up By: Hoyks - Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 21:47

Friday, Jun 21, 2019 at 21:47
... and they are poorer for it.
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Reply By: Phil G - Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 07:39

Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 07:39
Good photos Macca - Good to see the vehicle cabin survived the impact and all the airbags were deployed.

A few years back we drove through Tennant Creek and towards Barkley Homestead. Late that afternoon a Pajero hit a cow and was severely damaged. Then about 4am the following morning a Holden Astra hit a cow and one of the occupants was killed and others were retrieved to hospital. I learnt a few things. Firstly cows are mostly dark or black and are very difficult to see at night.
Secondly be very wary as you go around slight bends at 1000kph.
Thirdly, don't travel those roads at night.
Fourthly, don't believe that all cars with 5 star ANCAP are equally safe - even if a cow is like a brick wall. Height and mass does help for some impacts. The roof of the Astra was flattened.
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Follow Up By: Hoyks - Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 10:55

Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 10:55
They are tested for impacting a solid wall, the problem with low cars and live stock is that the initial impact takes the legs out with negligible loss of momentum and the forward motion of the vehicle sees you with a cow to the face.

Its never going to end well.
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Reply By: Dion - Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 11:11

Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 11:11
Locomotives are inherently tougher and stronger than the best 4WD with the best Bullbar our there, but even some of the animal strikes we have in Central Australia and the Top End cause significant damage and sometimes locomotive failures.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Monday, Jun 24, 2019 at 12:35

Monday, Jun 24, 2019 at 12:35
Yes Dion, there is a lot of exposed infrastructure on the front of a locomotive.

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Reply By: Pete Jackman (SA) - Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 11:20

Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 11:20
Years ago a friend of mine was heading down the track to Katherine at night in his Porsche turbo and hit a water buffalo at 200k. The nose cone took out the legs, the body landed on the bonnet, pushed in the windscreen and hit the front of the roof. The A pillars broke and the roof bent at the rear levering the body over their heads. Apart from the vertical roof the Porsche was still drivable. I saw it in his garage and there was no evident damage from the rear apart from the odd looking roofline. 20k to repair.
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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 11:33

Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 11:33
I hit a large roo at 100kmph. I had an ARB delux bar.

There was one very small crease in the passenger's side guard. I didn't even notice it until I got home.

BUT The bullbar was so solid it caused the chassis to bend slightly where the bullbar was fixed to the chassis. That was about $10000 to fix.

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Follow Up By: wozzie (WA) - Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 13:02

Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 13:02
Now, was that a case of a strong bullbar or a weak chassis ??
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Reply By: swampy - Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 16:52

Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 16:52
HI
Appropriate bull bar fitted to right vehicle roos mean little ..
Camel and Buff bad every time . Except ...

Wally spears bull bar from the 90`s [made in Alice ] WHAT AIR BAGS !!!!
all water pipe
corner supports
4+ horizontal front bars + main beam
2x cut outs for bull lights
fully welded with side bars and steps
Drive on
Allowed on road
Primary use Aboriginal camps and stations
Best fitment 75 series ute // troopy
Ideal for bull catching often used that way

Saved plenty of vehicles and occupants
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Follow Up By: harryopal - Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 17:57

Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 17:57
Maybe some people have a false sense of security with bullbars and basically go too fast in areas with cattle, kangaroos or emus. Even emus can make a mess of a car at speed. And of course it is not just people with bullbars who go too fast for the conditions.
First major outback trip was 65 years ago. I am not a nervous or overly cautious driver but the moment I enter country with cattle and at the first sight of a kangaroo I slow down.
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Follow Up By: swampy - Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 19:43

Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 19:43
HI
At dawn and dusk most often on dirt access roads I have travelled at 80-90 kmh . But coming around a bend with the sun coming from a bad angle the roos always found the troopy coming flat out from behind scrub . Unavoidable .
Speed is not always a preventative just hopefully lessens the damage . And reduces the chance of a major accident occurring . Reducing speed may even prevent severe mechanical damage thereby avoiding being stranded .


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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 20:11

Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 20:11
Here's a fine example of a "Wally Bar", Swampy.

By far the best bar for rough work, and light as well.



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Follow Up By: swampy - Sunday, Jun 23, 2019 at 07:03

Sunday, Jun 23, 2019 at 07:03
hi
Spent many a hour straightening/repairing with oxy and mig welder .

They can take an absolute hammering . So much better than any other bar out there. All the others are just pretenders . Arb Tjm garbage cannot put up with the same abuse period .
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Reply By: GerryG - Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 17:59

Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 17:59
Bull bars, Roo bars, call them what you like, they are only as strong as their weakest link which is usually the point they are connected to the vehicle.
Having owned a fleet of four wheel drive vehicles in Central Australia for the last 45 years, we have fitted bars to them all.
Why? At low speed they will save head lights, spot lights and possibly body panels. They were the perfect place to hang the water bag (Anyone remember those?)and are very good to mount UHF and HF antennas.(Although I know when considering ground planes, there are other better places).
In my much younger days they suggested that I knew what I was doing and looked like I could conquer the desert.
In my much later years they are handy to sleep in front of, providing a handy place to store my dentures, Viagra and cup of rum.
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Follow Up By: Phil G - Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 18:44

Saturday, Jun 22, 2019 at 18:44
Always travelled with a waterbag :-)

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Reply By: eaglefree - Sunday, Jun 23, 2019 at 11:42

Sunday, Jun 23, 2019 at 11:42
I'm no expert on this topic however I'll pass on some info when we security guards in the 1990's patrolled 250 sq kms of defence land in 4x4 utilities (all good dirt roads) packed with roos mainly.

After many roo hits with 90kph usual speed shu roos were fitted which did reduce collision numbers a little , then spot lights with further reductions. Still not happy with collision costs eating into the private contractors profits a reduction of max speed from 90-95 to 80kph was a direction. Only then was the collision rate reduced to an acceptable level.

Based on that add a caravan and 100kph ??
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Sunday, Jun 23, 2019 at 16:12

Sunday, Jun 23, 2019 at 16:12
I agree, speed is the critical factor in reducing damage. I agree also that speed and weight reduction are critical factors in reducing mechanical mishaps on the car. People travel slower in dangerous country when they don't have a bullbar. Taken to ridiculous extremes, if we all travelled at 20kph there would be no accidents with cars, roos or water buffalos. There is a tipping point speed that allows a reasonable rate of progress with minimal chance of collision and damage making a bullbar a waste of time and money. I try to travel at that speed.
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Reply By: Member - bbuzz (NSW) - Sunday, Jun 23, 2019 at 17:46

Sunday, Jun 23, 2019 at 17:46
And you thought the engine bay was crowded!!

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Reply By: Rangiephil - Wednesday, Jun 26, 2019 at 09:46

Wednesday, Jun 26, 2019 at 09:46
I know this is late , but have the bulbar proponents missed the point that the car without the bulbar was a write off and the other picture of the ute with the bulbar was also a write off.
All occupants survived so no difference in the outcome.

Yes bullbars are great when hitting a roo as they may minimize panel damage and protect the radiator, but they can also cause chassis deformation which usually results in...… a write off.

You know I have driven around Oz without a bullbar several times and never hit a roo , though I don't travel early morning or at dusk/night. I have had a few close ones and a roo jump into the side of the car. When around cattle I slow down to 50 or 60 as they can be totally unpredictable and even stand and look at you from the middle of the road. Sometimes emus can get close also but I don't think a bullbar would change much if you hit one, ditto a camel.
If you HAVE to travel at night then yes get a bullbar. I met a truckie once who reckoned he got 300 roos between Broken Hill and Cobar at night during a drought . A Hyundai slotted in behind and was unscathed but covered in gore.
Regards Philip A
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Wednesday, Jun 26, 2019 at 13:07

Wednesday, Jun 26, 2019 at 13:07
10pm , no moon , 4x4 Ambulance , Reds and Blues ,High beam and Spotlights and all external 'work' lights also 'on' so like a Xmas tree , severe patient needing immediate transfer , 125km of dirt rd done in 54minutes ....not 1 Roo hit .....return trip , 2.30 am, still no moon ,no need for Reds and Blues , just H/beam and spotlights , took 2.5 hrs to do the 125 km back ...17 Roo strikes .....
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Wednesday, Jun 26, 2019 at 14:29

Wednesday, Jun 26, 2019 at 14:29
Well, its obvious - I'll just have to fit a full set of flashing red and blue lights to the ute, dispense with the bullbar, and tell the cops I've fitted those lights for anti-roo-hit protection!

I'm sure the beak will agree with me!! LOL

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Thursday, Jun 27, 2019 at 10:05

Thursday, Jun 27, 2019 at 10:05
Ron N , once again you show your ignorance , 4x4 Ambulances have 'Bullbars' , and since round 2010 they are the plastic fantastic 'SMART BAR' , in order to save weight and the 'rebound' ability without the majority of 'force' being transferred to the chassis .....
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Thursday, Jun 27, 2019 at 13:37

Thursday, Jun 27, 2019 at 13:37
You've got about as much humour understanding as a WW2 Gestapo soldier.
I said nothing about ambulance bullbars. As for ignorance - as they say, it takes one to know one.
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Reply By: asaproki g - Saturday, Jul 06, 2019 at 04:03

Saturday, Jul 06, 2019 at 04:03
This post has been read by the moderation team and has been moderated due to a breach of The Spamming Rule .

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