Some of the characteristics of traffic accidents involving small cars in Europe are reviewed. A classification procedure is suggested whereby crashes may be categorized by their equivalent test in the laboratory. A sample of accidents is used to illustrate this procedure and the collision characteristics. The limited relevance of the distributed frontal barrier test to real world accidents is shown. Examples of particular features which produce injury are illustrated by cases. Three-point belts are discussed, and some injuries associated with poor positioning are illustrated. Small car steering assembly design is mentioned because field experience suggests that actual function of the steering assemblies in crashes is still not optimal. Problems of seat deformation and mounting failures in relation to injury patterns are discussed briefly, and the crash performance of glass reinforced plastics is mentioned.