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What To Look For In A Car Safety Report

By: StaffPublished September 6, 2021

Many sites offer information about the safety of a vehicle. Sites like NHTSA and IIHS, use numeric values or safety ratings designed to help car buyers quickly determine how the safety features of one vehicle compare to similar makes and models. Unfortunately, if you are like most car buyers during the research process, you are probably left wondering: “What exactly makes these vehicles safe?” Or, “Are there certain elements of the safety report that I should be more concerned about?” However, the truth is that there are some factors used to help determine just how safe a vehicle is – And not all safety reports are created equal. For instance, resources that offer National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) approved safety reports use a 5-Star Safety Ratings System. This rating system offers insight into rollover resistance and frontal and side crashworthiness. Other resources may not be so thorough.

What To Look For In A Car Safety Report

  • Rollover - As of 2011, the NHTSA 5-Star Rating System includes the rollover resistance rating on every vehicle it inspects – currently, this is the only rating system that is offering this information. This rating measures the risk of rollover when vehicles conduct high-speed sudden turns and road departures. This information is especially important to consider when buying SUVs, crossovers, and pickup trucks.
  • Frontal and Side Impact Ratings - Both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the NHTSA conduct front, side and rear impact ratings for all newer vehicles. These safety ratings, which measure the ability of a vehicle to withstand impact and protect passengers, can be found for all vehicles from 1990 to now. Accident Avoidance Systems Many newer vehicles are being manufactured with systems designed to help drivers avoid accidents. From Anti-Lock Braking Systems (ABS) to blind spot detection systems, these features are just as important as crash ratings when trying to measure safety. While neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS offers ratings which measure a vehicle’s ability to avoid accidents, both safety reports will list the common accident avoidance features for specific makes, allowing consumers to compare one vehicle to the next.
  • Blind Zone Monitoring - In the United States, blind zones account for a number of accidents every week. Even more alarming is the number of children who injured in back seats in accidents where the cause was the fact that the driver did not see the child. Sites, like ConsumerReports.org, offer blind zone measurements for every vehicle they test. You can also test for a vehicle’s blind spot yourself. In fact, this is a good way to become familiar with any potential danger zones, which in turn can lead to better overall accident avoidance.


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