Keep safety in mind whether you are considering the purchase of a new or used car.
Technology and testing have helped increase vehicle safety over the years, but there’s still work to be done.
In the meantime, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHS/HLDI) has identified some guidelines to follow.
- Vehicle size and weight
- It stands to reason that the smaller and lighter the vehicle, the more likely passengers will experience injury and/or death if a crash occurs
- There is less structure to absorb crash energy and people in lighter vehicles also experience higher crash forces when struck by heavier vehicles
- Look for a strong passenger compartment area with crumple zones to absorb the force of a serious crash
- Good side structure manages the force of a striking vehicle
- A strong roof won’t collapse in a rollover
- Crash avoidance technologies
- Front crash prevention systems warn you if you get too close to a car in front of you
- Curve-adaptive headlights help you see better on curves when driving at night
- Auto-brake systems can brake if you don’t respond in time
The IIHS provides safety ratings for both newer and older model vehicles. Before you seal the deal on a car purchase, check ratings for individual vehicles at iihs.org/ratings and find federal crash test results at safercar.gov.