How to Buy a Safe Vehicle: Part 1

If it’s time to buy yourself a new car, it is important to make sure the vehicle you buy is safe for yourself, spouse or child. This will be split up into two separate blogs, since it is the most important safety decision you will make for the coming years.

Safety research has shown that accidents happen when drivers are unable to safely control the vehicles they are in. They lose control from a steering or braking standpoint. By controlling these measures, it will most definitely minimize potential tragedies and accidents.

Electronic Stability Control (ESC) uses sensors in the car (wheel speed, steering wheel, yaw sensors, etc) to determine which direction the driver wants to go and compares it with the direction the car is headed. If the sensors detect that the driver is going in a direction that the driver is not telling it to go, it can apply breaks on individual wheels to put the car back in control. ESC can safely recover from skids that the human driver cannot.

ESC is an important safety feature because it helps drivers from losing control in a panic swerve or while driving on slippery roads. Studies have shown that ESC has reduced single-vehicle crashes by 34% for cars and 59% for SUVs. Furthermore, it reduces the risk of fatal single-vehicle crashes by 56% and fatal multiple-vehicle crashes by 32%.

It is important to conduct some preliminary research on some vehicles you are looking to buy. Websites maintained by the IIHS and NHTSA provide various comparisons on vehicles and their frontal and side impact tests. They also have published test scores concerning “roof strength to weight ratio” of assorted vehicles. These safety features and test scores are VERY IMPORTANT to the overall safety of your vehicle.

In Part 2 of this topic, we will go over the comparative value of these test scores. Stay tuned!

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