Crash Testing

  Why would anyone deliberately resort to crash testing their vehicle? To increase your safety would be the reason for crash testing. Your safety can be enhanced in one or two ways.
  1. The ability of the vehicle to withstand an impact or absorb the impact of a collision which is achieved by crumple zones and impact bars.
  2. The ability to protect the passengers inside the vehicle with the aid of seat belts and airbags.
  The purpose of the crash test is to simulate an actual driving collision and collect vital information about the vehicle and the reactions of human beings in the crash. The human data is collected by using crash test dummies which mimic the dimensions, weight and movement of the human body.
  The various types of crash testing are as follows.
  1. Front Impact Test- Used to simulate a direct head on collision. The vehicle is mechanically driven into a strong concrete wall, sometimes it is driven head on into another vehicle.
  2. Offset Test- The vehicle is also mechanically driven into a wall but around 40% of the front of the vehicle collides with the barrier. This test is used to simulate a vehicle turning into oncoming traffic. This form of testing is important as part of the front of the vehicle has to absorb basically the same force as a front impact test.
  3. Side Impact Test- A sled that weighs over 3,000 pounds crashes into the side of the vehicle in the area of the passenger compartment. The sled travels at around 35 miles per hour. Side impact testing is also very important as the sides of vehicles have a small area to absorb force before it reaches the passengers and that results in many deaths.
  4. Pole Test- This test can be conducted when a vehicle scores well in the side impact test. the vehicle is placed on the edge of a flat sled and the sled is driven at around 30 kilometres per hour into a sturdy pole causing the vehicle to collide with the pole on it's side. This test simulates hitting a tree or electricity pole.
  5. Roll Over Test- This form of testing simulates a vehicle overturning during an accident and information is collected on how well the pillars of the vehicle will support the roof if the vehicle should overturn while driving.
  The vehicle is given a rating at the end of testing, a five star rating is the best possible rating a vehicle can achieve. A rating can be given for a particular test or an overall rating can be given. The scores are allocated based on how well the safety features of the vehicle protects these areas of the test dummy, the head and neck, chest, upper leg and lower leg in frontal tests. In side tests the head and neck, chest, abdominal area and pelvic region.
  Crash testing is sometimes used as a benchmark to improve passive safety devices such as airbags, seat belt pre tensioners and side impact bars. These safety measures can be improved on future models or on facelifts on the present model in an attempt to achieve a higher crash test rating.
External Links
Crash Testing Agencies Information on Crash Test Dummies Crash Test Ratings Articles on Crash Testing  
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