New-vehicle crash testing is crucial to measuring how safe vehicles are for their occupants in the event of an accident. The actual test is quick: vehicles are pulled down a runway inside the test facility before they're smashed into a seemingly invincible wall. Carnage ensues.

We presumed test preparation included strapping in a dummy, fitting cameras and installing data acquisition devices, but we had no idea that the whole process is exponentially more involving than that until the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released this video documenting a crash test from start to finish. Head below to watch it (and to check out the short press release), and be prepared to have you mind blown from the complexity of it all.
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ARLINGTON, Va. - A lot goes into preparing a vehicle before it is sent hurtling toward a barrier in an IIHS crash test. A new web video takes viewers through the complex process.

"Inside IIHS: Preparing for a crash test" shows how engineers at the Institute's Vehicle Research Center attend to every detail to ensure a smooth crash test with results that can be easily measured and compared with other vehicles. Everything from the exact position of the seats to the angles of in-vehicle cameras and lights must be adjusted. Fluids are drained from the car, and gasoline is replaced with a purple-dyed solvent to detect leaks.

The video is available on the IIHS YouTube channel and is part of the "Inside IIHS" series. Previous installments have focused on different types of crash tests, crash test dummies, the propulsion system used to power the tests and the Institute's booster seat rating program.


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  • 34 Comments
      Vergenbuurg
      • 1 Year Ago
      You mean to say scientific experimentation requires lengthy preparation, precision, and documentation?
      pdwid
      • 1 Year Ago
      I would have enjoyed a 'part two' video showing the analysis and interpretation of the data they spent so much time and energy to collect.
      Time
      • 1 Year Ago
      Thats actually pretty amazing! And to the one guy that has negative comments about this I believe that is clearly because your life sucks and you fail to appreciate things that infact do warrant appreciation.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      bK
      • 1 Year Ago
      ...I believe.
      Israel Isassi
      • 1 Year Ago
      so the only data I'm really interested in is - what vehicles do those guys drive?
      justgoawaymad
      • 1 Year Ago
      Just amazing, ALL this money and time to screw the public. This has NOTHING to do with your safety and everything to do with insurance companys making more money. This is solely to protect the insurance companys, hence forth why they (insurance companys) pay for this. If this was about your safety they would rely on the GOVERNMENTS testing. But they dont do they? Its REAL simple follow the money and see who pays for all of this. Really if you think about it, they have cut into and welded onto the structure. AND added weight, plus the engine and trans are not even operational. Its not a true reading. But im sure some lawyer will explain all that away.
        x percent
        • 1 Year Ago
        @justgoawaymad
        You're an idiot.
          justgoawaymad
          • 1 Year Ago
          @x percent
          I most certainly can say the same for you. But I know how facts piss people off.
        HollywoodF1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @justgoawaymad
        How to detect an idiot: 1) Uses ALL CAPS to make shout-y points instead of using context. 2) Omits several apostrophes and commas-- Tries to make you think he did it intentionally, but really; he's not confident in his ability to punctuate properly. And really, "im" ? 3) Red flag-- use of the words "insurance", "government", "money", and "lawyer" in the same conspiracy-theorist post. Here's a little help: Insurance is in the probability business. The more variables left unaddressed, the higher the rates need to be. If you can tighten up the liability, you can be more competitive. Second-- the government's crash testing and the insurance industry testing have different objectives. The government is certifying conformance with minimum standards of safety. The insurance industry is trying to understand the degree of personal injury liability associated with a vehicle. It is naive to assume that the government's testing protocol tests for everything that anyone could possibly need to know. And to help you understand the specific state of the vehicle during testing-- understanding specific dynamics is sometimes best accomplished through control of variables. This can be done through physical adjustments to the testing subject. In the end, both the consumer and the corporation benefit from the additional knowledge gleaned from the insurance industry testing. To avoid an incorrect accusation-- My occupation: Structural Engineer of building structures.
        r9709
        • 1 Year Ago
        @justgoawaymad
        Are you for real?
        Stang70Fastback
        • 1 Year Ago
        @justgoawaymad
        I sincerely hope you are joking.
          justgoawaymad
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Stang70Fastback
          No i'm not joking, what planet do you live on where insurance companies are there to "help you". When was the last time you saw a poor insurance company?
      AutoVido
      • 1 Year Ago
      So when people say "Thank GOD I survived that crash" they really mean to thank these people for all their hard work.
        G Prodigy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AutoVido
        they mean....both -_-
        Koenigsegg
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AutoVido
        just like saying "Thank GOD" for this thanksgiving dinner.... NO, thank granny for going to the supermarket and buying a turkey LOL
        Car Guy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AutoVido
        Thank God for giving scientists and engineers their abilities.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      over9000
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is a reason why our cars are uglier than the concepts and heavier. Cars like the Subaru WRX that deviate from the concept.
      reattadudes
      • 1 Year Ago
      these folks certainly have to give us a reason for their existence, especially since the government does crash tests as well. let me know the next time your accident will involve your vehicle being pulled by a chain, in a warehouse, over a glass-smooth floor. these silly test have NOTHING to do with real-world crashes. they do not take into consideration simple (and very important) things like road surface (icy? wet? gravel on road surface?), weather conditions, or driver impairment, ALL things that make huge differences in the outcome of a crash. what ends up happening is manufacturers build cars that will pass the IIHS tests, just so they will get good ratings. they make sure they will pass the offset test on the LEFT; what about the right side, that isn't tested? ...and the folks that believe tests like this never for one moment consider that if the crash point is two millimeters closer to the center of the car, the speed is different by 7MPH, and the tires have 4 pounds less air, that the results will be dramatically different. ...yet the lemmings buy it all, just like believing every CarFax report is accurate.
      Exige Evan
      • 1 Year Ago
      So what do they do when they can't fit all that kit in the lugage space?
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