Picking out a new car can be a daunting task. Details like how powerful the engine is or how many features the car comes are important but never forget about how safe the vehicle is. While no one is expecting to wind up in a crash or some other kind of accident, knowing what your vehicle can handle can better prepare you for inevitable. Our technical consultants at East Hills Jeep (Greenvale, NY) explained to us that there are 2 major safety rating agencies. Lets look at each one.
There are two groups dedicated to testing vehicles and setting automotive safety standards. The first is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, an agency that’s part of the Department of Transportation. The NHTSA determines how well people are protected during accidents through a series of safety tests and well-equipped vehicles are when it comes to new safety technology. The NHTSA tests new vehicles each year and assigns them a rating on a five-star scale. This makes it easier to compare crash performance among different model vehicles.
The second group is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS. This independent, scientific and educational organization is dedicated to reducing damage, injuries and deaths, from car crashes. The IIHS focuses their research on environmental factors and the human factors. Keeping these issues in mind, the IIHS evaluates a vehicle’s crashworthiness as well as crash avoidance and mitigation, or what technology can do to prevent a crash. The IIHS puts vehicles through six tests then rates vehicles as poor, marginal, acceptable as good depending on their test performance. The same kind of ratings are applied based on how many and what quality of safety features the vehicles utilize.
When considering a new vehicle its a good idea to look it up on both the NHTSA and IIHS websites. The more stars it’s been rated on the NHTSA website, the better your safety will be while the same can be said of vehicles that rate good or at least acceptable with the IIHS. While it may seem complicated with two groups and a plethora of different test names being thrown at you, generally it comes down to a simple rating. “Good” obviously sounds better than “poor” and five stars are always going to look better than just a few. So for your next vehicle just take a few moments to look up its rating, you’ll be all the more comforted and all the safer for knowing.