The investigations of crash tests are aimed at revealing the effects of accidents from all three sides of the car: front, side and rear. Since October 1998, in Europe, uniform guidelines apply to conducting crash tests. Under the name of Euro NCAP (European New Cars Assessment Programme) test criteria are defined for occupant protection in frontal and side impacts, pedestrian safety and the safety of children in the rear seats.
These Euro guidelines differ from the regulations that govern crash tests in the United States or Japan and are considered to be the most stringent in the world.
A frontal crash in which the car collides head-on (or offset to varying degrees) with a rigid or deformable barrier is simulated at a velocity of 64 km/h. During the side impact crash, a mobile, deformable barrier rams the side of the stationary test car at 50 km/h.
The pedestrian test is carried out with four impact areas, conducted at an impact speed of 40 km/h - leg, hip, child's head and adult's head.
Cars with head airbags are also subject to the post test. The car collides sideways at a speed of 29 km/h with a 254-mm diameter post. This way a lateral collision with a tree or pole is simulated and the operation of the head airbags tested.
In a rear crash test, which is not carried out within the framework of the Euro NCAP, movable barriers in different configurations and speeds are directed against the rear of the test car.
Rollover tests investigate possible damage to the roof. In addition, some manufacturers carry out roof-drop tests to check the strength of the roof structure. The car drops from a height of 0.5 metres onto the left front corner of the roof.