Kyle Shaules, who attended the L.A. show with Honda on Nov. 20, is one of the people whose real story has been publicized as part of the brand's campaign on outlets including Facebook and Instagram using a 30-second video clip.
"I was heading down to work, it was 3:30 in the morning, first rain of the season," Shaules, who lives in Southern California, said in an interview at Honda's show stand. "I was driving down the Cajon Pass on the 15 freeway, near the 15 and 215 split. I hit a puddle and hydroplaned, and my Honda ended up rolling five times."
Shaules, a nurse who has seen the aftermath of bad accidents in emergency rooms, started to assess how badly he might be hurt once the car came to a halt. He checked for his arms and legs and for blood. One of his fingers hurt badly, but otherwise, he seemed OK.
"It was kind of like: What am I missing here? Something had to have happened after flipping your car five times going 75 miles per hour," Shaules said.
"Eventually, somebody stopped and came to check on me and was, like, 'Are you OK?' and I said, 'Yeah, I'm OK.' And he was, like, 'I've been sitting in my car for the last couple minutes scared to come over because I thought you were dead.' "
Shaules, who suffered only a broken fingertip and was at work the next day, took to Facebook to thank Honda directly. "I typically don't write reviews," he wrote next to a picture of his rolled Civic, "but I have to say thank you for Honda and your amazing cars." From there, Honda's social media team found him.
Shaules now enjoys being part of the safety conversation, having escaped what could have been a tragic event just weeks after he and his wife had a baby.
"I've never walked into a dealership and said, "What is the safety rating on this car and how was it tested?' " he said. "We need to be asking about safety as much as we ask about Bluetooth."
Honda, which is running a larger "Safety for All" media campaign, has incorporated a "Safety Zone" into its auto show stand featuring the crash-tested Civic — which will be displayed at future shows — and real-world customer storytelling. And the automaker will expand its social media campaign with new survival stories over time.
"We have that [high] position in crash-test ratings," said Martin. "We know that we design safe cars; our customers are telling us all the time about these great experiences they're having. We wanted to raise the bar a little bit on how we were explaining it."