Whatever else they are — shocking, sickening, occasionally silly — video clips of car crashes should be considered wake-up calls for people who watch them. You can learn from the mistakes of others. Ironically, the more darkly voyeuristic the footage, the more enlightening it can be. We've gathered some of the more telling accidents from across the Internet, crashes that range from worst-case racing disasters to seemingly random highway collisions. Be warned: The footage can be disturbing.
Insane car crashes caught on tape
Daytona Speedway, Florida, 1960
Compared with the carnage at Le Mans, the 37-car pileup at the Daytona Speedway in 1960 was pure slapstick. This vintage newsreel puts a proudly positive spin on the ad hoc demolition derby, pointing out that no one was seriously injured and, what do you know, there wasn't a single vehicle fire. Watch Video: 37-Car pileup at Daytona Speedway, 1960
Insane car crashes caught on tape
Fuji Speedway, Japan, 1998
Without context, the infamous clip of Tetsuya Ota's devastating crash during the second round of the 1998 Japan Grand Touring Car Championship at Fuji Speedway is mystifying. A Porsche wheels out of the fog and off the track, hemorrhaging parts, only to be barreled into by a Ferrari. The cars detonate. Later, Ota is pulled from the burning Ferrari, left smoldering on his back and then hauled into a minivan. Ota survived, but retired from racing.
A reporter for KWCH in Wichita, Kan., had just begun his live report on the perils of a dangerous intersection when his point was proven for him. Right in front of the camera, a car pulls through a stop sign and is promptly T-boned by an incoming pickup. The force of the crash lands the skidding vehicles on opposite sides of the road. The driver of the truck was unhurt. The car's driver was taken to a hospital in critical condition.
While tearing down I-675 at witness-estimated speeds of up to 100 mph, 19-year-old Brennan Eden hit a guardrail and launched his Pontiac Firebird into the air and into a concrete bridge pillar. The result looks like a "Dukes of Hazzard" stunt gone horribly wrong, as the car breaks into three big pieces and countless smaller ones. Surprisingly, Eden survived.
Luckily, no one was hurt when rain, followed by a snowstorm, turned a section of 400 North in Bountiful, Utah, into a skating rink, sending cars, trucks, SUVs and minivans ping-ponging down a snowy hill in front of Rhee Braby's house. Braby filmed the hijinks outside his front door, which amounted to 30 cars involved in eight accidents.
The voices heard in this clip aren't joyriding teens filming their brief, high-speed run through packed city streets. It's an elderly couple who say their Hyundai Sonata YF, equipped with a dashboard camera, suddenly accelerated for no reason. The video of their 80-mph crash on the streets of Daegu was posted to YouTube by their son to bolster the couple's assertion that the vehicle malfunctioned. No one was killed, though 17 were injured.
Details are skimpy here, but the video speaks for itself: A car and motorcycle meet in an intersection in eastern China, and traffic cameras pick up the results. Five people were on the bike, all of whom survived. What's unclear is whether any of them were charged for perching five human beings on a 2-wheeled vehicle.