Test Your Knowledge: Dangerous Cars Quiz

By: Nathan Chandler

Test Your Knowledge: Dangerous Cars Quiz
Image: Bettmann/Getty Images

About This Quiz

When you think of a dangerous car, are you thinking the General Lee from "The Dukes of Hazard?" or maybe you imagine sitting behind "Knight Riders" Kitt? Well, we're not talking fantasy-land TV here. We're talking about real cars and real dangers. Yep, these are cars that have had a history of bad behavior from poor designs to cost-savings at the risk of safety and also, plain old engineering mistakes.

In fact, if you first learned to drive before the 1970s, you more than likely were well aware of the injuries and deaths that were produced from these vehicles, if you weren't a victim yourself. Engineering safety and safety regulations have come a long way, but only in the last couple decades that behavior became the primary concern on the road. Before that, well... imagine if your car just caught on fire. Do you know which 1970s Ford was notorious for catching on fire? Or, do you know why Jeep Wranglers had infamously poor side-impact ratings?

You might think that dangerous cars are a thing of the past, but how about the Toyota Yaris and its high number of injury claims or even the popular Ford Mustang, which is still considered one of the most dangerous cars on the road? From driver behavior to just poor design, some cars are inherently more dangerous than others.

So, chug a cup of coffee, adjust your mirrors, look both ways and take this quiz to find out how much you know about the most dangerous cars on the road.

Which 1970s-era Ford car was notorious for catching fire?
Fiesta
Mustang
Pinto
More than 1.5 million were recalled and negative publicity scorched the company.

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Why did many Detroit car makers cut back on costs, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s?
competition from foreign makers
Overseas manufacturers were slowly but surely eating into domestic car makers' profits; safety suffered as a result of cost-cutting measures.
rising fuel costs
demand was falling behind supply

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Which car became infamous partly for drivers being impaled by the steering column during accidents?
Chevrolet Corvair
It also gained notoriety for releasing potentially toxic fumes into the cabin.
Yugo GV
Smart FourTwo

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How much, per car, would it have cost Ford to fix the gas tank problem that plagued the Pinto?
about $5
about $11
Instead, the company weighed potential injury and damage lawsuit figures versus the repair and opted not to make the Pinto safer.
about $19

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What amount did a jury award the plaintiff who sued Ford for the Pinto fiasco?
$127 million
To that date, it was the largest product liability award ever; the amount was later dropped to $6 million.
$82 million
$41 million

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If you owned an early 1960s Chevrolet Corvair, you had to be careful to do what?
check for frayed wiring
to never spill gas when you were refueling
monitor tire pressure
The car's funky suspension meant you needed different pressure for front and rear tires; neglecting this part could kill you.

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Why are Ford Mustangs considered one of the more dangerous vehicles on the road?
terrible side impact ratings
poor crash ratings
inexperienced drivers
The car's relatively cheap price tag and rear-wheel drive puts it in the hands of many people who can't control the power.

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In the 2009-11 Toyota Yaris, why did the car have the highest number of personal injury claims?
It had virtually no protection in rollover accidents.
The wheels made it hard to steer.
Its small size was dangerous in crashes.
Simple physics mean that tiny cars fare worse, especially when they strike large vehicles.

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Why do many Jeep Wranglers receive poor crash ratings, particularly in side impact tests?
removable doors
The removable doors might offer a sense of freedom, but they also leave riders exposed during accidents.
hollow doors
poorly-designed doors

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How many cars were affected by a GM ignition switch defect?
3 million
10 million
30 million
The company has since issued payments for more than 100 deaths related to the flaw.

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Which GM model became publicly associated with the ignition switch debacle?
Chevrolet Cobalt
In some cases, the engine would simply turn off, leaving drivers in a panic.
Pontiac Sunfire
Pontiac Aztek

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Which consumer safety advocate helped push car manufacturers to make safer products starting in the 1960s?
Ralph Nader
Big businesses tried to silence Nader when they realized that his concerns were making headway in the public consciousness.
Esther Peterson
Michael Pertshuk

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What factor made early Porsche 911s very dangerous to drive?
the windshields exploded in sharp fragments
too much weight in the rear
Oversteer was a major problem, meaning even experienced drivers could send this one off of the road or into traffic.
too much weight in the front

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How did Porsche's engineers first attempt to address the oversteer problem of early 912s?
new (and equally dangerous) tires
redesigned suspension
heavy weights in the front bumper
It was a safer design but the less responsive steering irked aggressive drivers.

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Which 1960s car was made from Duraplast?
Pinto
Yugo
Trabant
The fabric-reinforced plastic was probably not the best material to protect people in a crash.

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Which problem caused huge problems for the Pontiac Fiero?
engine fires
Faulty connecting rods caused more than 100 fires, some of which happened during operation.
defective seatbelts
faulty tires

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How many fatalities occurred due to the Pontiac Fiero engine fires?
zero
And even though it was small and light, the car actually had great crash safety ratings.
14
28

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In an accident, what was a dangerous aspect of the Bricklin SV-1?
windows
doors
In order to open the hydraulic gullwing doors, you first had to pull a pin and then force them open.
steering column

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If you want better safety in crashes, you're better off driving a new car than an old one.
true
Modern safety features are statistically proven to be much safer than those found in older vehicles.
false
0

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Which vehicle had the greatest number of fatalities from 2009-12 (per million registered vehicle years)?
Chevrolet Aveo
Hyundai Accent
Kia Rio
The car's small size and light weight are partially blamed for the vehicle's higher-than-average death rate.

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What safety feature did Ford refuse to include on some early Model T cars?
roofs
headlights
front brakes
The early days of the automobile were not exactly known for consumer safety.

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What material comprised the frame of the DeLorean DMC-12?
fiberglass
Steel body panels on the fiberglass frame made this car a death trap in crashes.
steel
aluminum

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Which vehicle was equipped with Firestone tires that abruptly failed and led to many fatal rollover crashes?
Ford Explorer
Bridgestone/Firestone eventually recalled more than 6 million tires for safety reasons.
Toyota 4Runner
Dodge Ramcharger

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Which 1980s Suzuki model was called a rollover hazard by Consumer Reports?
Sidekick
Samurai
Later, it was revealed the magazine actually made the problem seem much worse than it was.
Swift

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What was the ultimate consequence of the Consumer Reports damning story on the Suzuki Samurai?
The company stopped selling cars in America.
Suzuki filed a lawsuit that was settled out of court.
There were numerous recalls.
The company went bankrupt.

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In addition to the hard-to-open gullwing doors, what else made the DeLorean DMC-12 dangerous in a rollover accident?
electrical fires
fuel link leaks
the small windows
The tiny windows meant you'd have serious difficult escaping a wrecked DMC-12.

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In one 1990 report, how many people were dying per year due to rollovers in the Ford Bronco?
70
However, authorities decided that a recall probably wasn't necessary.
140
210

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Compared to the Suzuki Samurai, what was the rollover fatality rate of the Ford Bronco?
about the same
twice as high
three times as high
Yet Ford was not publicly scorned in the same manner as Suzuki.

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Of all deaths that occurred in the 1980s Ford Broncos, what percentage happened during rollover accidents?
nearly 90 percent
So if you managed to stop the vehicle from rolling over, you actually were fairly safe.
nearly 70 percent
nearly 50 percent

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Why did a misprint in the Pontiac Fiero's manual lead to some engine fires?
Owners never replaced the fuel filter.
Owners didn't use enough oil.
Low oil resulted in some engine meltdowns, which then led to fires.
Owners used the wrong fuses.

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You Got:
/30
Bettmann/Getty Images

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