Millions of people drive millions of miles of road every year. Thousands of accidents occur, from fender benders in parking lots to high-speed collisions and pile-ups on the highway. A large number of injuries happen in these accidents, and most of them are mitigated or prevented with a combination of personal safety and car safety.
What Makes Safe Cars Safe?
For decades, cars have been increasingly designed with the idea of safety in mind. It’s one of the top concerns automakers face, alongside looks, fuel efficiency and power. Just like fuel emissions, there are Federal regulations that govern what cars are considered safe. Safe cars must pass each safety test with a high enough ranking to be allowed into production and onto roads. These safety standards are composed and tested by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Among these safety standards are:
- Crash Avoidance, such as controls, mirrors, brake systems and tires.
- Crashworthiness, such as impact protection, seat belts, crush resistance and glass quality.
- Post-crash standards, such as fuel containment and interior flammability.
- Other standards, such as vehicle identification, bumper standards and regulation standards.
Car Safety Resources
For those who are interested in the standards to which all vehicles must adhere, the standards are available at http://www.nhtsa.gov/, the website for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This site also provides information for safe driving techniques, safety standards and updates. Some guidelines for crash safety are also included. For those who are looking for a list of which vehicles are the safest, Forbes publishes a yearly list of the safest cars of that year. The vehicle safety reports are compiled from statistics gathered by the Department of Transportation. They also include data from various crash tests for frontal, side, rear and rollover impacts.
Safest Cars of Recent Years
Anyone concerned with vehicle shopping should hold safety as a prime concern. While every car has to pass certain crash safety regulations to be allowed on the road, not every car is manufactured equally. For example, tall trucks and SUVs are more prone to rolling over in a collision than sedans with a lower center of gravity. Some of the safest cars available for the last few years are:
- Audi A6
- BMW 5 Series
- Infiniti EX 35, M37 and M56
- Mercedes-Benz E-Class and M-Class
- Volvo S60, XC60 and S80
- Ford Fiesta
- Honda Civic
- Subraru Forester
- Hyundai Sonata
- Buick LaCrosse
Of course, even the safest car on the road is not protected against human error. The combination of car safety and driver safety is what saves lives.