Side Impacts


In a crash between two vehicles, injuries may occur to the occupants of one or of both vehicles if the speeds are sufficiently high. It is an engineering challenge to design automobiles that provide maximum possible level of occupant protection in all such crashes since the automobiles involved in any crash may be of the many different types and masses. Also, each crash is a unique combination of parameters such as vehicles’ speeds, their direction at the instant of crash as well as the location of points of impact on each vehicle. In addition, the likelihood and the severities of injuries depend on the occupant(s) and the restraint systems used by them. When the task involves analyzing a  crash that has already happened between two (or more) automobiles in order to assess the performance of various systems in the vehicles, all of the relevant parameters must be taken into account in reaching any conclusion.  Such analyses are therefore highly complex. This report discuss vehicle-to-vehicle crashes with focus on those cases where side impact to the passenger compartment of one of the automobiles is listed as ‘the most harmful event’ in databases such as the National Automotive Sampling System and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. More about side impacts between cars.     

(Header Image on this page from IIHS Test by Brady Holt-Own work, CC by 3.0,