Side Pole Impact Test

Some side impacts involve a vehicle travelling sideways into rigid roadside objects such as trees or poles. Such accidents are severe and the frequency of death or serious injury is high. The vehicle is launched laterally at 29 km/h towards a rigid and narrow pole. The vehicle is positioned at a right angle in the direction of movement or at a small angle away from the perpendicular. A midsize, side impact male dummy is placed in the driver or passenger´s seat. This is a severe test of a car’s ability to protect the driver and passenger’s heads in a side impact. As the loading on the car is so localised, deformation can be very high and the pole can penetrate deeply into the passenger compartment. Without effective protection, the pole would strike the head resulting in serious injuries. Head protection airbags – often curtain airbags mounted above the side windows but sometimes seat-mounted thorax/head airbags – have become a common solution but great care is needed to ensure effective performance of such devices.

How safe is your car?