Is Your Favorite Car Actually Safe to Drive? Use This Tool to Check Your Car's Safety Rating!

Is Your Favorite Car Actually Safe to Drive? Use This Tool to Check Your Car’s Safety Rating!
Do you check your car for safety ratings? This might not be your first priority. However, there are two online tools you could use to automatically check on a car's safety ratings. Photo : Win McNamee/Getty Images

Do you check your car for safety ratings? This might not be your first priority. However, there are two online tools you could use to automatically check on a car's safety ratings.

The ratings are provided by the federal government and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Car safety ratings are a matter of life or death for the driver and its passengers. Aside from the safety factor, the ratings create competition between vehicle manufacturers, influencing them to improve their vehicles.

According to Road Safe Toolkit, car safety ratings are typically ranked between one to five stars. One star means passengers have a higher chance of injury or death during a crash, while five stars means better security and higher survivability.

For reference, car safety tests are typically conducted by cars colliding head-on to obstacles. The test would observe engine status and passenger injuries, especially on body parts like the head, neck, chest, and femur.

Read Also: Elon Musk Debunks Major Concern About Self-Driving Cars: It Doesn't Need Connectivity!

Per National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are four scenarios for the test:

  • Frontal Crash Test Scenario
  • Side Barrier Crash Test Scenario
  • Side Pole Crash Test Scenario
  • Rollover Resistance Test Scenario

To use the available online tools, you must know your car details like year make and model. You could get this information from the car manual provided on purchase. If you misplaced or did not receive their manual, the dealership paperwork or insurance card will also supply it.

After getting all this necessary information, use one of the two online tools available.

NHTSA Online Database

The NHTSA is the government agency responsible for evaluating cars on the five-star scale. To learn about your vehicle rating, follow these steps:

  • Head to the website nhtsa.gov/ratings
  • Provide your vehicle year make and model
  • Search on the list of results on the car model similar to yours

The online database also has a subpage with a lot of in-depth information on the vehicle. This will be available in the link under the "Vehicles" subtext. Clicking on the link will redirect you to the vehicle's crash result tests and further analyze its star rating. Any significant recalls or owner complaints on the model will also be listed.

IIHS Online Database

Another online database available is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). This agency typically conducts independent tests on their vehicles that NHTSA miss out. Similar to the first database, owners have to provide their car year make and model on this webpage.

IIHS has a lot more details on its reports than the NHTSA. Often, it will break down crash reports to active safety equipment and headlight status. IIHS also has a database rank for cars as "Top Safety Pick" or "Top Safety Pick Plus award," per Cnet.

If you want to see a safety star rating on your vehicle, use NHTSA. However, if you want to break down safety features, use IIHS. Hopefully these two online tools will help you understand more on your car's safety rating.

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