If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, safety ratings are one of the most important features you’ll want to consider.
Car safety ratings are grades given to specific vehicles that express how safe that vehicle is in the event of a collision, or how effective it is in avoiding a collision completely. These ratings are provided by different organizations based on their own sets of criteria and testing.
There are two primary bodies that provide safety ratings for vehicles, each using their own criteria and ranking methods.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a US-based independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing deaths, injuries, and property damage from motor vehicle crashes. IIHS conducts tests and publishes safety ratings for vehicle occupant protection on a scale of Good to Poor, and crash avoidance on a scale of Superior to Basic. IIHS designates the best performers with their TOP SAFETY PICK and TOP SAFETY PICK+ awards, for which criteria is updated annually.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation whose New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) 5-Star Safety Ratings are aimed at helping consumers make smart decisions about safety when purchasing a vehicle. Frontal, side pole, and side barrier crash tests, as well as a rollover resistance test, weigh into the Overall Vehicle Score. Recommended crash avoidance technologies are listed on NHTSA’s website but are not currently included in the 5-Star Safety Ratings.
Each vehicle is subjected to numerous collision tests. While there are differences in how each rating organization conducts their tests, they are all designed to assess a vehicle’s overall crashworthiness. A vehicle’s safety features that help to avoid collisions or mitigate their severity are also tested and rated.
Consider visiting the Transport Canada website as well. It includes information on vehicle safety recalls, recalls of other components like car seats and tires, and statistics on Canadian road safety and collisions.
If you are in the market for a new vehicle, safety ratings should be one of the top factors you consider. When researching vehicles for purchase, the best approach is to examine safety ratings and crash test data from multiple sources. While vehicle attributes like fuel efficiency, accessories, and appearance are certainly important things to consider, guaranteeing the safety of you and your family is vital.