When you’re shopping for a new car, you’ll probably want all of the new bells and whistles that you can find. A lot of the time, this will include the latest and greatest safety features – things like side and rear airbags, rearview cameras, and even auto-braking features with proximity sensors. But how do you choose a safe car that fits you? And how can it save you money on your car insurance? Learn more about these 6 factors to look for when choosing a safe car.
This is actually an official term used by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) to rate how well a vehicle will protect its passengers in a crash. When you hear about “Top Safety Picks” and “five-star safety ratings,” this is what the dealership or car manufacturer is talking about.
The factors that go into a crashworthiness rating include all the things that can reduce the risk of death or serious injury in an accident. The IIHS will rate things like the integrity of the car’s sides, roof strength, head restraints, and even the type of seats. If you’re wondering how safe your car or a car you’re about to buy is, check out iihs.org for their tool that allows you to check a car’s safety rating.
Your vehicle’s structural design
Cars have to be built to be resilient in a worst-case scenario. So, its safety rating is also going to depend on how a car’s overall build protects the “safety cage” where the passengers sit. Does the car have a strong occupant compartment? Is the front and rear of the car built so that it can properly bend and fold to absorb the brunt of a car crash? These are important questions to consider when choosing a safe car.
For example: if you’ve ever seen the inside of a car bumper, you know that there’s a lot of space between the bumper and the car. This is so that your bumper takes most of the damage when it’s hit without damaging the safety cage of the actual car, which causes less injury to your passengers.
Vehicle size & weight
This one is just science – something that’s bigger and heavier is going to be harder to move and damage than a smaller car. To use everyone’s favorite example, it’s like putting a large SUV up against a smart car in an accident. The larger SUV is going to have a lot less damage than the smart car in the end.
However, size isn’t the end-all-be-all of safety. Larger vehicles are indeed harder to move and control, and thus, more prone to rollovers and other issues if they are in a crash. So, it can be better overall to find a happy medium between the two sizes.
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Most cars come standard with anti-lock brakes these days and for good reason. Anti-lock brakes help you keep control of your car in a hard braking situation. Instead of having to pump your brakes manually, anti-lock brakes pump many times in a second automatically. If you’ve ever made a hard stop where you stomp on the brakes, you may have felt the quick stutter of pressure beneath your foot. That pressure, while it may also be due to skidding a bit, is more-so due to your anti-lock brakes.
Daytime running lights
If you have lights that turn on with your car, it sets a nice contrast between your car and everything around you. It helps others see your car more easily, and it can prevent daytime accidents (thus it’s something to look for in a safe car.)
If you don’t have daytime lights, and you’re tempted to turn on your low lights as a replacement – don’t. The daytime lights that are installed on a car are very different from your vehicle’s low lights or your rain lights. So, just be a little more cautious if daytime lights don’t come standard with your car.
Unfortunately, it’s not your on-the-road driving experience that makes the vehicle itself safe (well, it does, but it has nothing to do with how the car is built. It still keeps you safe and can still help you save on insurance, but it’s unfortunately not the topic at hand.)
When we talk about the on-the-road experience in this context, we’re talking about the amount of testing and the number of accidents that that particular car model has been involved in. For example, certain SUVs may technically have worse ratings for the on-the-road experience because they’re more prone to rollovers. Similarly, “high performance” cars like sports cars may also have not-so-great on-the-road experience ratings because people like to drive them at faster speeds.
Of course, seat belts and airbags help a vehicle’s ability to protect you in an accident. These are just some of the extras to look for in a car’s overall safety rating. It not only keeps you and your passengers safe, but it can also help you save a fair amount on car insurance. Even if you’re in a wreck, with a safer car, you pose less liability risk with your carrier. So, they may give you a break on your monthly premium if your car has a better safety rating.
Of course, our agents are pros at getting you discounts for a safe car, along with other car insurance discounts that you may be missing out on. They’ll ask you all of the right questions to get you the best rates on the best coverage for your particular situation. Call us today or fill out our online form to start getting quotes on the affordable car insurance you need. Stay safe!