Car Crash Testing Processes

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

When looking to purchase a vehicle, consumers need to be aware of safety ratings and more than ever before, safety sells cars.  By law, all vehicle models must pass certain safety tests before they can be put on the market.  In order to be deemed safe, cars must go through car crash testing processes.  These tests determine crashworthiness which can be described as how well the occupants inside the vehicle will be protected if there is an accident.

Vehicles undergo a variety of crash tests and then are given a rating on each.  To earn a top safety pick a vehicle must have good ratings in all tests.  Testing a vehicle is a long and expensive process conducted with rigorous safety standards in mind.  Several criteria are used to assess crashworthiness, including the breakdown patterns of the vehicle structure, the acceleration of occupants during an impact and the probability of injury. 


There are different types of car crash tests:

  • Frontal-impact tests: This tests the vehicles’ structure.  These are generally impacts upon a solid wall at a set speed. 

  • Offset tests: This also tests the vehicles’ structure.  However, only part of the front of the vehicle hits a barrier.

  • Side-impact tests:  This tests occupant protection as their vehicle is hit side on. 

  • Roll-over tests: This tests the vehicles roof strength for protection in rollover crashes.

  • Rear Crash Protection Tests:  This test focuses on how well the seat and head restraints protect an occupant against a whiplash injury.

Prevention is the key in avoiding injury while driving, however, accidents still happen and it is imperative that the model of the vehicle that you drive has been tested to withstand impact to ensure safety for its occupants.  If you take a walk through an insurance salvage yard, you may see how vehicles are designed to bend and crush. 

Although one hopes to never become involved in an accident, it is nice to know that your vehicle has been engineered to withstand impact.  Being a passenger in a car crash is comparable to being thrown around like a rag doll.  So, wear a seat belt, drive patiently and cautiously and avoid being a rag doll.