Sampson County Sheriff's Office
Sheriff Jimmy Thornton


How to die in 0.7 Seconds

Do you know what happens in the first fatal second after a car going 55 mph hits a
solid object?

In the first tenth of the second, the front bumper and grille collapse.

The second tenth finds the hood crumbling, rising and striking the windshield as the
spinning rear wheels lift from the ground. Simultaneously, fenders begin wrapping
themselves around the solid object and although the car’s frame has been halted, the REST
OF THE DRIVERS CAR IS STILL GOING 55 MPH. Instinct causes the driver to stiffen his
legs against the crash and they snap at the knee joint.

During the third tenth of the second, the steering wheel starts to disintegrate and
the steering column aims for the drivers chest.

The fourth tenth of the second finds two feet of the car’s front end wrecked while
the rear end still moves at 35 mph and the driver’s body is still traveling at 55 mph.

In the fifth tenth the driver is impaled on the steering column and blood rushes to his

The sixth tenth finds the impact built up to the extent that feet are ripped out of
tightly laces shoes. The brake pedal breaks off. The car frame buckles in the middle and the
driver’s head bangs into the windshield as the rear wheels, still spinning, fall back to the

IN THE SEVENTH TENTH hinges rip loose, doors open and the seat breaks free,
striking the driver from behind. BUT HE DOESN’T MIND BECAUSE HE IS ALREADY DEAD,
and the last three tenths of the second mean nothing to him.