How Safe Is Your Car?

How safe is your car? This is the usual question asked by vehicle owners and riders because a safe ride towards home or any place is every driver and passenger’s concern.

The safety of your trip always depends on the reliability of your vehicle especially when long trips, particularly at night, are involved.

Purchasing a truly safe car could be one of the most crucial decisions you would make. Having a family to use it with would make this decision doubly important. Vehicle accidents, car crashes and vehicle-related deaths continue to rise in most modern countries, and these deaths and injuries could have been prevented if you had selected a safe car.

Differentiating car safety ratings

New car safety ratings as well as used car safety ratings are established in most countries. You can use these ratings in selecting a safe car before purchasing the vehicle you desire.

New car safety ratings are being done using crash testing vehicles in a controlled laboratory or facility as a reference. On the other hand, the used car safety ratings are based from collated information from police reports with regards to actual car crashes.

Both rating systems are said to be reliable and establish a correlation. However, the results of these ratings should not be compared in a technical way since there are other car safety factors to consider such as how you safely drive your car.

New car safety ratings

The new car safety rating is usually based on the new car safety devices or the improved car safety devices provided or incorporated in cars. Airbags, seat belts, anti-lock braking system, child car seat, restraint system, navigation devices, better headlights, brake lights and tail lights, head restraint and other new systems and devices are part of the automakers improvements on car safety. These are carefully considered when evaluating car safety of each vehicle brand.

Used car safety ratings

Used car safety ratings or UCSR can be referred to by potential used car buyers to select a safe vehicle and not a worn-out car which could risk life.

Data used as a bases of  UCSR include

  • accident data to which the used car model has been involved in or has not been involved in
  • number of fatalities and injuries the used car model has caused
  • the frequency and severity of accidents the car model has been involved
  • non-vehicle related factors like driver and passenger’s sex, age, speed limit and number of vehicles involved.

Reviews and forums on car ratings

You can also read reviews and participate in car forum to help you decide which car to buy

US News and World Report ranks and reviews car models on the following criteria using weighted averaging:

  • Critics’ Opinions: 30%
  • Performance: 13%
  • Interior: 12%
  • Operating Costs: 14%
  • Safety: 14%
  • Reliability: 17%

A forbes.com contributor, J. Gorzelany shares his views on  10 used car models to avoid.

These data may just be enough for you to decide the safe pick car model. Interpretation though of data from these rating should be treated with caution since some of the scores and opinions for certain models may be misleading.