Choosing a Safe Car
Crash tests can help you determine how well a vehicle will protect you in a crash. Here are different organizations that perform crash tests and rate vehicles:
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crashes vehicles head-on into a wall and bashes them broadside to test their ability to protect their occupants. NHTSA focuses on evaluating vehicle restraints such as air bags and safety belts.
- The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety performs a different test that uses offset-frontal car crashes to assess the protection provided by a vehicle's structure.
- Consumer Reports' auto issue rates vehicles in terms of overall safety. Its safety score combines crash test results with a vehicle's accident avoidance factors, such as: emergency handling, braking, acceleration, and even driver comfort.
- The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System provides information about a vehicle's history and condition, including information about its title, odometer reading, brand history, and, in some cases, theft.
To find out whether a vehicle has been recalled for safety defects, contact NHTSA. If a vehicle has been recalled, ask the dealer for proof that the defect has been repaired. Used vehicles should also have a current safety inspection sticker if your state requires one.