NRMA shows the evolution of car safety with virtual reality and cut-up cars

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We’re not one to shy from a cool way to educate people, and what NRMA has done in Sydney for one week certainly does that, taking virtual reality, high-powered ice guns, and a car that’s been cut into pieces to show how in-car safety has changed over the years.

Starting from today, NRMA Insurance has come up with a neat way of informing people about how safety has changed, and the sort of features their cars should have in them, and that’s an interactive museum of sorts.

Called the “NRMA Crashed Car Showroom,” NRMA has set up a temporary space with a few interactive exhibits designed to let you get close and understand what’s going on.

For starters, the first thing you see when you walk in is a Peugeot that has been cut up, sliced with special cutting equipment designed to keep the car in as best condition as possible, even if it has had a saw taken through key sections.

This operated-on car lets you peek inside and take a gander at the shocks, the wiring, and so much more, but then the other exhibits will show you more, such as how dangerous hail is with an ice-loaded high-pressure gun aimed at a door or bonnet of a car that you can fire.

Off to the other side of the exhibit, you’ll find a small room simulating what happens when you text and drive. Obviously, this is a dangerous thing in real life, so seeing what happens in the space of a small interactive simulation can act as a good education for those who just don’t get it.

But the real pièce de résistance is a full-size Holden setup with hydraulics and a virtual reality Oculus headset to simulate what it’s like to be a crash test dummy.

With the headset on (and a crash dummy mask to properly complete the picture), you’ll be taken through a small simulation and shown what happens if you’re a dummy in one of the cars of today, with indications of all the safety features from today, against one of yesteryear (around 30 years ago, in fact).

It’s that last one that truly puts the technology into perspective, as there was virtually nothing back then to stop you from being injured in a major crash, and this simulation helps to drive the message home that safety features are necessary and should be talked about, especially when purchasing a vehicle.

In fact, that was one of the reasons NRMA set to create the concept to begin with, finding out from a survey that while 95 percent of Australian drivers would claim safety as their first priority, only one in ten knew much about it to begin with.

“The results were worrying,” said Robert McDonald, Head of Research for NRMA Insurance.

“Cars have changed a lot over the last 10 years and we urge drivers to understand safety technology and which features to consider when making a car purchase, particularly if buying older, second-hand cars.”

What you see inside the Oculus headset of the Crashed Car Showroom.

While the NRMA Crashed Car Showroom is a fantastic concept, it’s one we think needs to travel from city to city showing the idea to as many Australians as possible, not just those living in Sydney who can get to the exhibition for the week it’s up and running.

If you are in Sydney, the interactive exhibition will run from March 18 (today) until March 27, located at 65 York St down the road from Wynard Station, with the information also available on NRMA’s Crashed Car Showroom website.

That said, while the info is online, the experience is much better when seen first-hand, and if you’ve ever been curious about what it’s like to be a crash test dummy, or wondered why texting while driving is so dangerous, NRMA’s interactive exhibition is worth checking out.

Here’s hoping we see it travel to more places.