All you need to know about Car Crash Tests [4 Major Types]

All you need to know about Car Crash Tests [4 Major Types]

A crash test is a form of destructive testing usually performed in order to ensure safe design standards in crash worthiness and crash compatibility for various modes of transportation (see automobile safety) or related systems and components. Even though it is very important to have your auto insurance in place when purchasing a car but it is equally important to know about the safety rating of your car as well. 

car crash tests

Different Types of Car Crash Tests

Frontal-impact tests: which is what most people initially think of when asked about a crash test. Vehicles usually impact a solid concrete wall at a specified speed, but these can also be vehicle impacting vehicle tests. SUVs have been singled out in these tests for a while, due to the high ride-height that they often have.


Moderate Overlap tests: in which only part of the front of the car impacts with a barrier (vehicle). These are important, as impact forces(approximately) remain the same as with a frontal impact test, but a smaller fraction of the car is required to absorb all of the force. These tests are often realized by cars turning into oncoming traffic. This type of testing is done by the U.S.A. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), EuroNCAP, Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) and ASEAN NCAP.

Moderate Overlap tests

Small Overlap tests: this is where only a small portion of the car's structure strikes an object such as a pole or a tree, or if a car were to clip another car. This is the most demanding test because it loads the most force onto the structure of the car at any given speed. These are usually conducted at 15-20% of the front vehicle structure.

Small Overlap tests

Side-impact tests: these forms of accidents have a very significant likelihood of fatality, as cars do not have a significant crumple zone to absorb the impact forces before an occupant is injured.

Side-impact tests

Some of the major associations from around the world

Data Collection

Crash tests are conducted under rigorous scientific and safety standards. Each crash test is very expensive so the maximum amount of data must be extracted from each test. Usually, this requires the use of high-speed data-acquisition, at least one triaxial accelerometerand a crash test dummy, but often includes more.

Some organizations that conduct crash tests include Monash University department of Civil Engineering, which routinely conducts crash tests for the purposes of roadside barrier safety and design.

Crash testing programs

There are a number of crash test programs around the world dedicated to providing consumers with a source of comparative information in relation to the safety performance of new and used vehicles. Examples of new car crash test programs include National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's NCAP, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Australasian New Car Assessment Program, EuroNCAP and JapNCAP. Programs such as the Used Car Safety Ratings provide consumers information on the safety performance of vehicles based on real world crash data.