The safest cars are typically determined based on a series of tests and ratings provided by safety organizations such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In Canada, Transport Canada is the government agency responsible for transportation safety, and they have their own crash testing and rating programs.
Here are some vehicles that consistently received top safety ratings in recent years.
- Subaru Legacy and Subaru Outback: Subaru has been known for its safety and has equipped its cars with the EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, which offers an array of safety features.
- Mazda CX-5: A compact SUV that has consistently received top safety ratings.
- Toyota Camry: Toyota’s flagship sedan has always been a top performer in safety tests.
- Honda Accord: Honda’s safety suite, Honda Sensing, has brought a lot of advanced safety tech to even the base models of the Accord.
- Volvo S60 and V60: Volvo has a strong reputation for safety, and these models are no exceptions.
- Kia Telluride: This new entrant in the midsize SUV segment from Kia has garnered attention for its safety features and strong build.
- Hyundai Sonata: Equipped with Hyundai’s SmartSense package, this car has a number of top-of-the-line safety features.
- Mercedes-Benz E-Class: A luxury car that comes with a plethora of safety features as standard.
- Audi A6: Like Mercedes, Audi’s luxury sedan is packed with safety tech.
- Lexus ES: Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 offers a lot of standard safety features, making this luxury sedan a safe pick.
When choosing a safe car, always look for the latest test results and consider factors like:
- Overall Crashworthiness
- Crash Avoidance Systems (like autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warnings, and adaptive cruise control)
- Headlight Quality
- Child Seat Anchoring Ease of Use
Lastly, it’s a good idea to visit official websites such as IIHS, NHTSA, or Transport Canada to get the most recent and comprehensive safety ratings for the specific year and model you are interested in.
What type of car is safest in a crash?
When discussing vehicle safety in a crash, several factors come into play, such as the vehicle’s size, weight, design, and safety features. Let’s break down how each factor impacts safety:
- Size and Weight:
- Larger, heavier vehicles generally offer more protection than smaller, lighter ones. This is because, in a crash, the people in the heavier vehicle experience less force than those in a lighter vehicle. For example, in a head-on collision between a small car and an SUV, the occupants of the smaller car are at a higher risk.
- However, this doesn’t mean small cars are inherently unsafe. Many modern small cars have excellent safety ratings, but they might not fare as well when colliding with a much larger vehicle.
- Vehicle Type:
- Sedans: These can be very safe, especially midsize and large sedans that often come equipped with a slew of safety features.
- SUVs: Their higher center of gravity used to make them more prone to rollovers. However, with the advancement in electronic stability control systems, this risk has been greatly reduced in modern SUVs.
- Pickup Trucks: These can be safe due to their size and weight but might not have as many advanced safety features as comparably priced sedans or SUVs.
- Vans: Minivans, in particular, tend to be designed with family safety in mind and can be very safe.
- Sports Cars: They might have advanced safety features, but their design emphasis on performance can sometimes compromise safety.
- Safety Features:
- Active Safety Features: These are designed to prevent accidents. Examples include anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, lane departure warnings, and adaptive cruise control.
- Passive Safety Features: These protect occupants once a crash has occurred. Examples include airbags, crumple zones, and reinforced passenger compartments.
- Vehicle Age:
- Newer vehicles tend to be safer because they incorporate the latest safety technology and adhere to the most recent safety standards. They might also have improved structural designs that offer better protection in crashes.
- Design and Crashworthiness:
- Vehicles that have good scores in crash tests (like those conducted by the IIHS or NHTSA) are generally designed to better protect their occupants in the event of a collision.
In summary, while larger and heavier vehicles like SUVs and pickups generally offer more protection in a crash due to their size and weight, many modern cars, regardless of their size, come equipped with advanced safety features that can prevent accidents or protect occupants if one occurs. It’s essential to check crash test ratings, consider the vehicle’s size and weight, and evaluate its safety features when determining which car is the safest in a crash.
What cars get into the least accidents?
It’s a challenging task to definitively determine which specific cars get into the least accidents since various factors can influence the likelihood of a vehicle being involved in a crash. These factors include driver behavior, vehicle type, location, and even the average age of the vehicle’s typical driver.
However, some studies and insurance claim statistics can provide insights:
- Vehicles with Advanced Safety Features: Cars equipped with advanced safety technologies like automatic emergency braking (AEB), blind-spot detection, lane departure warnings, and adaptive cruise control have been shown to reduce the number of accidents. Therefore, brands and models that come standard with or frequently include these features might have fewer incidents.
- Luxury Brands: There is some data suggesting that certain luxury brands, such as Tesla, Lexus, or Acura, have lower accident rates. This might be attributed to advanced safety features being standard or more commonly equipped in these vehicles. However, it can also be because luxury car drivers might drive differently or in different environments than others.
- Larger Vehicles: Statistically, smaller cars like compacts and subcompacts tend to be involved in more accidents than larger vehicles like SUVs and trucks. But remember that when smaller cars are in accidents, they often fare worse than larger vehicles.
- Specific Models: Some specific models had lower accident rates based on insurance claims. For example, the Subaru Outback, GMC Acadia, and Lexus GX were among the cars with fewer reported accidents. But this data can change year to year.
- Cars Driven by Older Adults: Statistically, younger drivers (especially those under 25) have higher accident rates than older drivers. Consequently, vehicles that are popular among older adults might have fewer accidents simply based on the demographics of their drivers.
- Cars Not Typically Driven in Cities: Urban environments with their dense traffic conditions, pedestrians, and complex roadways can lead to more accidents. Cars more frequently driven in rural or suburban areas might have fewer accidents.
It’s essential to remember that the vehicle itself is only one factor in accident rates. Driver behavior is a significant factor. Safe driving habits, awareness, and proper vehicle maintenance play crucial roles in accident prevention.
If you’re trying to choose a car based on its likelihood of being in an accident, it might be more beneficial to focus on its safety features and crash test ratings rather than its historical accident rates.
Top 10 safest cars of all time
Ranking the “safest cars of all time” is somewhat subjective and can vary based on the criteria used for evaluation, the geographical region, and the time period considered. However, based on historically consistent performance in safety tests, innovations in safety, and influence on industry standards, the following cars (not in a strict order) have been recognized for their outstanding safety over the years:
- Volvo 240 Series (1974-1993): Volvo has a long-standing reputation for safety, and the 240 series is iconic in this regard. The car featured a number of safety innovations and was built with a strong safety cage.
- Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W126, 1979-1991): The S-Class has always been a pioneer of many safety innovations, with the W126 model introducing the airbag and traction control system.
- Saab 900 (1978-1993): Saab was known for its commitment to safety. The 900 was designed with real-world crash data, resulting in a robust safety cage and headrests that reduced whiplash.
- Ford Taurus (1986): This car introduced crumple zones to the mass market in North America and came with anti-lock brakes and dual front airbags.
- Volvo XC90 (First generation, 2002-2014): The XC90 introduced the Roll Stability Control system to prevent rollovers, and no fatalities were reported in the UK in this model during the first 16 years of its existence.
- Tesla Model S (2012-Present): The Model S achieved one of the best safety scores ever from the NHTSA and introduced several advanced safety features related to its electric architecture and driver assistance systems.
- Subaru Legacy/Outback (2009-Present): Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology and the brand’s commitment to safety have made the Legacy and Outback consistent top performers in IIHS safety tests.
- Mercedes-Benz E-Class (W213, 2016-Present): This model introduced a number of semi-autonomous driving features and advanced safety technologies, such as evasive steering assist.
- Honda Odyssey (2018-Present): Minivans are designed with family safety in mind, and the Odyssey consistently ranks at the top with advanced safety features and impressive crash test results.
- Toyota Prius (2016-Present): Toyota’s flagship hybrid is not only environmentally friendly but also consistently earns top marks in safety tests, especially when equipped with the Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver assistance features.
While these vehicles have historically been recognized for their safety, it’s important to note that modern cars, in general, are safer than older models due to advancements in technology, stricter safety regulations, and better design practices. Always refer to current safety ratings from organizations like the IIHS and NHTSA when considering the safety of a modern vehicle.
What makes a car safe
Vehicle safety is a multifaceted concept encompassing various design principles, technological features, and construction methods. Here’s an overview of what makes a car safe:
- Structural Integrity and Design:
- Crumple Zones: These are areas of a vehicle designed to deform and crumple in a collision. This absorbs some of the impact’s energy, reducing the force transferred to the occupants.
- Safety Cage: A strong passenger compartment, often referred to as a safety cage or cell, helps protect the occupants by maintaining the integrity of the passenger space in a crash.
- Safety Features:
- Airbags: Deployed in the event of a significant collision to cushion occupants and prevent them from striking hard surfaces inside the vehicle.
- Seatbelts: Help restrain occupants during a crash, reducing the risk of injury. Pre-tensioners and load limiters can further enhance their effectiveness.
- Anti-lock Braking System (ABS): Prevents wheels from locking up during hard braking, maintaining steering control.
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC): Helps drivers maintain control of their vehicle during extreme steering maneuvers.
- Driver Assistance Systems:
- Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB): Can detect an impending crash and automatically apply the brakes if the driver doesn’t act in time.
- Lane Departure Warning (LDW) & Lane Keeping Assist (LKA): Monitors lane markings and warns or assists the driver if the vehicle starts to drift out of its lane.
- Blind Spot Detection: Alerts drivers when there’s a vehicle in their blind spot.
- Adaptive Cruise Control: Adjusts speed to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead.
- Rearview Cameras and Parking Sensors: Help drivers avoid obstacles when backing up.
- Traction and Stability:
- Vehicles designed with a low center of gravity are less prone to rollovers.
- Traction control systems help prevent wheel spin during acceleration.
- Tire Quality and Maintenance:
- Good quality tires with proper tread depth and inflation can significantly influence a vehicle’s handling and braking performance.
- Properly designed headlights, taillights, and signal indicators are crucial for nighttime visibility and communication with other road users.
- A well-designed cabin with ample window space and minimized blind spots helps drivers see their surroundings.
- Child Safety Features:
- LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system for securely attaching child seats.
- Child safety locks on rear doors to prevent accidental opening.
- Pedestrian Safety:
- Some modern cars have features designed to reduce pedestrian injuries, such as pop-up hoods that create a cushioning effect.
- Emergency Response Systems:
- Systems like GM’s OnStar or Mercedes-Benz’s mbrace can automatically notify emergency services in the event of a crash.
- Reliability and Maintenance:
- Regular maintenance ensures that safety systems (like brakes) are in good working condition.
- Rollover Protection:
- Strong roof structures and curtain airbags help protect occupants in the event of a rollover.
Safety is a combination of passive systems (which protect during and after a crash) and active systems (which prevent or mitigate crashes). In recent years, the emphasis on active safety systems has grown with the advent of semi-autonomous technologies. When evaluating the safety of a vehicle, it’s essential to consider both its crashworthiness (how it performs in a collision) and its crash avoidance capabilities.