What affects crash-test rating?


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Sunfire Sedan
i.e., my sunfire has a 1-star side crash rating. 4th gen trans ams have a 3-star.. Neither have side air bags. What is the difference? It can't be just weight, because many pickups have bad ratings as far as I've noticed.
It depends on many many factors. Over here we have an organisation called Euro Ncap who crash cars and rate their performance. Im guessing in America you will have something similar.

A good test result is more than a sum of its airbags
America has NCAP (New Car Assessment Program)

Our was introduced after theirs, hence EuroNCAP.

Test results are affected by many factors, of which number of airbags is only one. What's more important is the successful deployment of the airbags. But there are dozens of other parameters to consider.

Have a look here for an entrypoint into the NCAP testing system:

Really good site, thanks..
I didn't see however, "which" factors make for a safe car?

I'll clarify: My reason for asking is because I want to know what I can do to my car, to make it safer. Not this sunfire, to note. I may get an 01-02 WS6 in the future.. There's a lot I'd like to do to it, and it would probably be almost completely stripped at one point. Why not add something for safety at that point? :)
Roll-cage, seats and harness is about the only mods that an end user can do to increase crash safety as far as im aware.
Cage is only useful for racing. Without a helmet, you hit your head on it and do more injury "with" the cage. This won't be a race car. :)

Seats are something that sounded good. Do you know any good ones?

I was wondering if adding a stiff metal to the frame or doors to prevent it from crumbling into you could help? or, to reduce femur load, etc.. But, that would increase deceleration rate. . . If you place it towards the inside as opposed to the outside, it could be better to decelerate faster than having the car smashed into your corpse?
If the metal is too strong, and or placed wrong, it could cause excessive deceleration and be worse than stock? ... Any thoughts here?

What about side air bags, could I add my own? Pull them out of a trashed car perhaps, with the sensor, etc.. and put it in my own?
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The biggest difference anyone can make is driving style; anticipation; perception, planning etc. It's called defensive driving over here.

But that's not to say I'd be content driving around in a fragile car regardless of either my own or my driver's ability.
Cars are designed with front and rear crumple zones. These are designed to safely deform under impact and leave the occupent zone intact.

If you started welding up pieces of metal you could make things worse as the dynamics of a crash are pretty complex as you have already discerned.

A seat with a full harness will surely help, it can be a pain to put this on each time but is a lifesaver.

A steering wheel with a deep central recess so the nut is well protected will help reduce head injury.

Your car may have failed on one aspect of the crash test but unless you know what the results were it is hard to say what you should do to make the car safer.

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