Experiments

Killer Tissue Box

posted: 04/11/12
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As seen in "MythBusters: Killer Tissue Box"
Comstock/Thinkstock

Finding: BUSTED

Explanation: When car accidents happen, sometimes what's inside the auto can hurt you more than the actual collision. For instance, in 2001, about 13,000 American drivers were hurt by unrestrained objects that were in the back seat of their cars during accidents. To make matters worse, small objects can strike you with 30 times their own weight, which made MythBusters Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman wonder whether a car crash could transform a tissue box in the back seat into a lethal weapon.

With only one real way to find out, the MythBusters strapped a dummy in a car, tossed some tissues in the back and took it for a spin. Since the dummy's head was made of plastic, the MythBusters molded a ballistics gel-filled box to simulate a human noggin. Then, a tow truck guided the sedan down a track at 70 miles (113 kilometers) per hour and slammed on the brakes to simulate crash conditions.

The impact of the sudden stop sent the tissue box flying with 50 foot-pounds of force. That isn't nearly enough to kill you, and so it was evidence enough to bust the myth. At that rate, a tissue box bonking you on the back of the head during a car accident would only add insult to injury.

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