Car shoppers have several resources to check the safest cars on the market. They can look at SaferCar.gov and check out the 5-Star Safety Ratings, for example. Consumer Reports also provides some insight into vehicle safety. And announced in late 2013, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released its latest list of Top Safety Picks.
IIHS Top Safety Picks for 2014
The IIHS issues Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick Plus awards for cars, minivans, SUVs and other vehicles. The list of vehicles that make the cut can act as a guide for car shoppers looking for safe cars on the market.
To win the Top Safety Pick this year, a car must score a “good” rating in five different crash categories:
- moderate front overlap;
- moderate side overlap;
- roof strength;
- head restraint tests; and
- small front overlap (can receive good or acceptable rating in this category).
In these tests, overlap is another word for two objects colliding with each other. Top Safety Pick Plus cars must score a “good” rating in the five crash categories plus have some sort of front crash prevention technology.
The models that won Top Safety Pick Plus awards in 2014 were:
- Small Cars: Honda Civic 4-door, Mazda 3 (after 10/2013), Toyota Prius (after 11/2013);
- Midsized cars: Ford Fusion, Honda Accord 2- and 4-door, Mazda 6, Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback;
- Midsize and Large Luxury Cars: Infiniti Q50, Lincoln MKZ, Volvo S60/S80, Acura RLX;
- SUVs: Mazda CX-5 (after 10/2013), Mitsubishi Outlander, Subaru Forester, Toyota Highlander, Acura MDX; Mercedes-Benz M-Class (after 8/2013), Volvo XC60; and
- Minivans: Honda Odyssey.
Safety Features to Look for When Car Shopping
Front crash avoidance systems feature a variety of different kinds of technology. Cameras, radar, or lasers can sense collisions and stop the vehicle completely at lower speeds if they detect an imminent collision. At higher speeds, the sensors may only slow down the vehicle. Also, some cars have lane departure warnings that sound an alarm when the car drifts out of a lane. There are blind spot detection systems and backup cameras as well.
Many cars have traction control systems that can stop the wheels from spinning on icy surfaces and other low traction situations. Sometimes the systems slow the wheels down so they have more traction with the ground. There’s also electronic stability control systems for the wheels that prevent skidding on the road.
Smart air bag technology is common on most new vehicles. These airbags detect the weight and position of passengers, so the airbags don’t deploy on a baby car seat or when the passenger doesn’t have a seat belt.
Auto insurance companies sometimes offer discounts for using front crash prevention technology and other safety features like:
- anti-theft devices;
- airbags; and
- anti-lock brakes.
Drivers should contact their insurance company to ask if their car qualifies for these discounts.
Legal Help after Car Accidents
Choosing a safe vehicle is one way to improve your chances of avoiding an accident or reducing injuries in the event of an accident. But no matter how many steps we take, we cannot completely eliminate the risk that negligent drivers bring. If you ever find yourself injured by a negligent driver, call Cordisco & Saile LLC. Check out our free guide, Don’t Crash Again! A Car Accident Victim’s Guide to Maximizing Recovery, and contact our office at 215-642-2335.