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How The IIHS Determines Crash Test Safety Ratings

Posted by: Jeremy Patterson on January 22, 2019

If you watch much TV, read magazines or newspapers, or listen to the radio, you’ve almost certainly heard terms like “Five Star Vehicle Safety Rating”, crash test results, and Top Safety Pick. If you’ve been shopping for a new car, you may have even sought this information out to help make your decision. A lot of us, however, don’t really know exactly what is behind those terms.

The video below from Business Insider dives into some of this info to help us, the general auto-purchasing public, make a little more informed decision by showing us what goes into testing a car, truck or SUV. While this video doesn’t go into great detail, it does share about as much info as possible in 4 short minutes, which makes it easier to sit through and digest than an hours-long diatribe about the minutiae of each measurement and result.

One of the keys of crash testing that has come a long way over the past several years in high speed cameras. These high resolution, high frame-rate video cameras do such an amazing job of recording these crashes in ridiculous detail that experts can now analyze the data and compare it to the video footage to help the engineers know what changes need to be made to help the car perform better in a crash.

Another factor that makes such a huge difference is the incredible amount of data that is collected by the sensors used throughout the vehicle and in the crash test dummies themselves, which have also come quite a long way over the decades, especially when it comes to how accurately they mimic humans in these tests. Between the anatomical similarity and the plethora of sensors embedded within them, the dummies make ideal stand-ins for us, since we aren’t quite as easily healed.

Go ahead and watch the video below and see if some of the terms you hear regarding automotive safety don’t make a little more sense.


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