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Saab 900 Form and Function ..............Comfort and safety - Page 13 of 14

"The ride is almost as relaxed as in a first-class railway carriage." Auto Zeitung (Germany)

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The front seat head restraint consists of foam material moulded around a resilient backing plate.Tests on dummies have demonstrated that the head restraint has excellent energy-absorbing properties. For the best possible protection, the head restraint should be set level with the back of the head.

Head restraints

In a rear end collision, the seat must effectively arrest the backward movement of the occupant's body and head. The backward tilt of the head is particularly critical, since the neck vertebrae could sustain serious injuries if the backward tilt exceeded 120°. Tall people arc especially vulnerable. Saab designers have therefore based their work on the tallest person. Only 1% of humans arc taller.

The head restraint consists of foam material, moulded around a resilient backing plate, the function of which is to arrest the neck and minimise the risk of injury to the neck vertebrae. The head restraint is most effective when it is level with the back of the head. But even if the head restraint is not adjusted to suit a tall person, it will still provide a certain amount of protection by re straining the backward tilt of the head. At the same time, the backrest arrests the backward movement of the body. If the head compresses the padding sufficiently to bottom on the backing plate, the backward tilt of the occupant's head will still be no greater than about 40°.

The three-section steering column is equipped with flexible sheet steel bellows in the centre. The top section of the steering column is telescopic and is fitted with an energy-absorbing sheet steel cage.

Collision tests using dummies have demonstrated that the impact energy absorbing properties of the head restraint are excellent. A shock level of 50 G for a period of 3 milliseconds was recorded when the head restraint was struck from above. The speed was 24 km/h (15 mph). In an impact test from the front or rear, the corresponding value was 31 G. In both cases, an acceptable value according to safety standards is 80 G.

Among the world's safest steering columns

The Saab 900 probably has the world's safest steering wheel and steering column, many features of which are patented. The steering column consists of three sections, connected by universal joints. The top section is telescopic and is fitted inside a closely perforated steel cage. Below it is the patented sheet metal bellows, which will cause the steering column to buckle when subjected to a high load. The section nearest the steering gear consists of a rigid shaft. The steering gear is located far back in the engine bay, so the front of the car Would have to deform very heavily before a collision could affect the steering column.

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