Most modern passenger vehicles are much safer than their predecessors. Despite their design improvements, however, 4.5 million people were seriously injured and 36,560 lives were lost on U.S. roads in 2018—an average of 12,300 seriously injured and 100 killed each day..
The size/weight of your vehicle compared with others on the road is a critical factor determining your safety. A small, light-weight vehicle might perform well in crash tests, however, crash test ratings do not measure vehicle compatibility---the forces of impact you experience when your vehicle collides with another. Compatibility must be considered separately and is best evaluated using fatality data correlations based exclusively on vehicle class/weight. These correlations illustrate that small and light-weight vehicles can result in four times higher driver fatality rates than larger/heavier passenger vehicles in multi-vehicle crashes.
Both NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) websites warn about the perils of small/light-weight vehicles, however, they fail to do so prominently where they list crash-test ratings. This misleads some consumers to erroneously believe that good crash test ratings are sufficient to screen vehicles for safety.
Of course crash testing is also very important and NHTSA and IIHS perform laboratory crash tests using dummies to rate vehicle crashworthiness---so you can learn how well a vehicle protects the occupantsbefore trusting that vehicle with your life and the lives of your passengers. These tests reveal significant differences in crashworthiness among some vehicles. It is also not unusual for these agencies to arrive at opposing conclusions due to differences in test procedures and therefore it is necessary to see ratings from both agencies to confirm good crashworthiness.
So, how do you identify the safest vehicles?
STEP 1: Start with vehicles rated 5-stars overall by NHTSA then eliminate those rated less than 5-stars in any individual crash test or less than 4-stars in static rollover.
STEP 2: Next, identify vehicles rated Top Safety Pick by IIHS and eliminate those rated below "Superior" for frontal crash prevention system.
STEP 3: The vehicles appearing on both lists from steps 1 and 2 have the best possible crashworthiness ratings, however, due to differences in class/weight they are not all equivalently safe since the severity of collision forces you experience when impacted by another vehicle in a head-on crash is determined by the relative weight between the vehicles.
STEP 4: From the list of most crashworthy vehicles eliminate those of a class/weight known to result in driver fatality rates in multi-vehicle crashes that are greater than average..
Only one percent of vehicles remain after filtering out those that do not satisfy these criteria and are listed on this website.
I created this website to help consumers easily identify the safest vehicles.
by Mike Dulberger, Founder, InformedForLife.org
Every effort has been made to be accurate and objective, however all information
is subject to errors and omissions.
For Life is a Connecticut nonprofit organization
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