The tensile and compressive tests of glass-epoxy composites with 1-200 s(-1) strain rates which are typical strain rate range during automobile crash accidents were performed in order to measure the strength variation with respect to strain rate. The tests were performed using both a horizontal type pneumatic impact tester and a conventional dynamic universal test machine with strain-rate-increase mechanisms. Also, the impact energy absorption characteristics of glass fiber reinforced composites were estimated using the newly proposed progressive impact fracture model. From the experiments and predictions, it was found that the proposed method predicted relatively well the experimental results. (C) 2000 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.