Some people choose a particular make or model of a car or truck because they believe it to be the safest motor vehicle. Those who put a premium on safety would do better than to base their opinions on looks or size as well as what they may have heard anecdotally. There is actually a four primary factors used by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) to measure the safety of a car in a crash test. While each organization has their own ratings, the criteria are essentially the same.
How Car Safety Is Measured
There are four issues to consider:
- Crashworthiness: Manufacturers are using all sorts of design changes to utilize crumple zones or crash energy dispersion paths as well as ultra high-strength steel, aluminum or carbon fiber in specific areas.
- Vehicle weight: The heavier the vehicle, the better it protects driver and passengers in a crash. If a lighter vehicle comes in contact with a heavier vehicle, the heavier one wins.
- Vehicle center of gravity: A low center of gravity car is better because it is less likely to roll over than a SUV or pick-up.
- Safety equipment: Modern vehicles are equipped with a variety of new safety technologies that are designed to avoid collusions or provide more advanced injury protection features.
Automakers Are Being Proactive
While some changes are mandatory – such as stability control in all new vehicles starting in the 2018 model year, or rear view cameras for backing up – manufacturers are voluntarily improving safety and marketing these changes to consumers. The more expensive cars tend to be the ones with the best safety rating, but modest priced cars can be competitive as well. The rule of thumb is lower, heavier and newer.
Regardless of the your vehicle choice, there are no guarantees that the occupants in a car will escape injury in an accident. But many feel better if they have done their due diligence to pick the vehicle that has the best chance of protecting them and their family.
Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/autos/street-smarts/what-makes-a-car-safe-article-1.3975443 by Christian Wardlaw