If you are getting to purchase a new car, you’ll want to find the safest car possible for your budget. But how can you ensure that the car you want to buy is safe? Keep in mind the following four factors when assessing the safety of any particular car model: crashworthiness, vehicle weight, vehicle center of gravity, and safety features, to guarantee you buy the safest car.
- Crashworthiness—finding out if a car is crashworthy is as easy as checking the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). When buying a vehicle, it’s a good idea to check the car’s rating on both websites. Any car you are thinking of purchasing should be listed among those on the IIHS Top Safety Pick.
- Vehicle Weight—the heavier the car, the more protection it will offer you in the event of a collision. Where there is a collision between a smaller and a larger car, the larger car will always win out. The heaviest car you can buy is the safest car you can buy. But keep in mind that the heavier the car, the more gas it will consume.
- Vehicle Center of Gravity—you want a car with a low center of gravity. The lower the center of gravity, the less likely it is that a car can roll over. Rollover incidents occur during sharp turns, collisions, or when cars slide off the road, into a curb, or from wet or icy roads onto dry pavement. Both the NHTSA and the IIHS rate cars for rollover likelihood.
- Safety Features—the vehicles of today are equipped with new technologies to help prevent collisions, such as stability control, and reversing cameras. Car manufacturers are now mandated by law to include these safety features. Other technologies that may be offered in new vehicles include automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, blind-spot warning, lane departure warning/prevention, and rear cross-traffic alert systems. These technologies can have a learning curve, and some drivers would rather not have them. But they can save lives. It is worthwhile to take the time and to make the effort to get conversant and comfortable with these systems and features.