You’ve decided it’s time, or maybe way past time, to purchase a new vehicle. The question is, with so many new models and so many new features being added all the time, how do you choose a safe vehicle for you and your family?
First, it is essential that you do the research and determine what your priorities are. You no doubt want something that performs well, is the size you need, and most importantly, a vehicle that is safe.
How to choose a safe motor vehicle
All cars sold in the U.S. have to meet the government’s minimum rating for crash-worthiness. That’s good news. The better news is that many newer cars are exceeding the minimum safety standards.
So how should you start your search for a safe car? I suggest starting by asking yourself some questions. Perhaps the best question to ask is, “Does your car crash as well as it drives?” Other specific questions to ask include:
- How well will the vehicle protect me and my passengers in the event of a car crash?
- If there is an accident, how will this vehicle impact on another vehicle?
- What safety features does it have to prevent a motor vehicle crash?
The answers to these questions are important.
- A bigger, heavy vehicle is safer for the driver and the passenger(s). Smaller cars have approximately a 50 percent greater chance of fatalities in a car crash than an SUV. The problem, however, is that although you and your passengers may be safer, it is harder to mitigate the damages to and injuries sustained in smaller vehicles involved in the accident.
- Naturally the best way to ensure that no one is hurt is to be an alert, defensive driver and to have good safety features in the vehicle. Devices that help are tires, brakes, handling, acceleration and outside visibility. In addition, anti-lock brake systems and traction control are excellent for helping you maintain control in many emergency situations and on wet or icy roads. Knowing how to use these safety features can help prevent injuries and fatalities in the event of a car crash to those in your vehicle and to those in other vehicles.
- All cars are required by law to have seat belts. If they are used, they go a long way towards minimizing injuries and fatalities. Modern seat belts now have tensioners that pick up the seat belt slack when there is an accident, reducing the possibility or lessening the effects of neck and back injuries.
For optimal safety, you want a car that has both front and side airbags, truly crucial safety features. However, for airbags to work effectively you and your passengers must use your seat belts; otherwise the airbags themselves can cause very serious injuries.
As part of your research, I suggest checking out the following two sites. Both of these sites allow you to input the make, model and year of your vehicle to get their crash-worthy testing results.
- http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and
- http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/database/VSR/veh/QueryVehicle.aspx from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
It’s important to be an educated buyer, especially when it comes to purchasing a motor vehicle for you and your family. Please, do be safe out there.
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