Crash Science

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
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Vehicle wreck dissections can be quite scary.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Showcases how scientific advances can answer long-standing questions about crashes and how new vehicle designs have saved lives.


Constant scenes of vehicular crashes and fires. Occasionally victims are seen on stretchers or being pulled from the wreckage, but injuries are discussed rather than shown.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that vehicles are shown spinning out of control, sailing through the air, and bursting into flames after crashing -- all of which may scare young viewers. Video footage of rescue efforts sometimes includes shots of victims laid on stretchers, and victims give detailed accounts of their thoughts during the crashes, including wondering whether they'd live or die. But the series does shed light on how high-tech construction of various types of vehicles helps save lives, and curious tweens who can handle the wreckage scenes may be intrigued by science's take on vehicular safety.

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What's the story?

The documentary series CRASH SCIENCE takes a scientific look at why various accidents and collisions happen -- as well as the technological advances that have made vehicles safer for drivers and passengers. Using video footage of wrecks, interviews with crash victims, expert testimony, and computer-generated images, the series details how speed, vehicle design, and outside factors can combine for disastrous results on the road. Engineers sometimes offer insight into how car designs have changed to incorporate new safety features. Some episodes have investigated crashes involving race cars, high-speed motorcycles and runaway vehicles; one used cutting-edge technology to re-create the accident that killed James Dean and answer some of the long-standing questions surrounding his death.

Is it any good?

Car-savvy tweens and teens may enjoy this intriguing series, but the multiple replays of wrecks are too much for younger kids. Parents who watch with driving-age teens can use the opportunity to remind them of the dangers that exist on the road and the constant need for concentration behind the wheel.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about automobile safety. Why are there laws about vehicle safety? Do you know the laws for your state? How do distractions like talking on a cell phone, eating, or adjusting the radio affect a driver's reaction time? How can passengers help a driver's concentration? If you get in a car accident, what should you do?

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