When you’re out on the road, you don’t want to worry about how well your vehicle will hold up in the event of an accident. A lot of car companies boast the safety ratings of their vehicles, but these ratings may not come from reliable sources. These ratings also won’t tell you everything you need to know. Sure, your vehicle may be reliable, but is it actually safe to drive?
How to Check the Safety of Your Vehicle
You probably won’t need to know if your vehicle could withstand a jet blast, but you will need to know how it stands up to strong impacts, inclement weather, and rough road conditions. In this guide, we will discuss some of the best ways to research your vehicle’s safety before you get out on the road. So, let’s take a look at the top 3 ways to check the safety of your vehicle:
Find the NHTSA Rating
As previously stated, your vehicle’s safety rating won’t tell you everything, but it’s not meaningless data, either. There are a few different ways to get your vehicle’s safety rating from reliable sources. The first source is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This government organization is a division of the US Department of Transportation and helps conduct research on safety standards for roads and vehicles.
When you visit the NHTSA website, you can find your vehicle’s safety rating by putting in the Year, Make, and Model. For example, let’s say that you drive a 2006 Toyota Corolla. You will put this information into the search bar and get your results within seconds.
The NHTSA safety rating judges vehicles using 5 metrics. Pre-2011 models have slightly different metrics than post-2011 models. Assuming you drive a 2006 Toyota Corolla, your car will be rated using a star system (1-5 stars). These metrics include Front Driver, Front Passenger, Side Crash Driver, Side Crash Passenger, and Rollover 4×4 or 4×2. If you drive a post-2011 vehicle, the metrics are Overall Rating, Frontal Crash, Side Crash, Rollover, and *Recommended Safety Technology.
*This last metric does not include a star rating.
Find the IIHS Rating
You should never just rely on one safety rating. That’s why we recommend checking the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for a second opinion. This institute is a private organization that runs similar research regarding vehicle safety.
However, the IIHS using different metrics to rate vehicles. When you visit the IIHS website, you will still need to input the Year, Make, and Model of your vehicle. The IIHS provides much more in-depth ratings, but it summarizes the information using 3 subsets of “crashworthiness.” These metrics include Moderate Overlap Front, Side, and Head Restraints & Seats. These are rated using the following letters: G (Good), A (Acceptable), M (Marginal), and P (Poor).
Watch the Footage
Finally, there’s no better way to see how your car stands up to collisions than watching crash dummy videos. This may not always be pleasant, but it will show you how well your car reacts and how likely you are to be injured in the event of a collision.
There are many ways to find crash dummy footage for your vehicle. The IIHS website provides crash dummy videos for most vehicles when you research your car’s safety rating. You will just need to scroll down a little to see them. However, if you can’t find crash dummy footage through IIHS, you can generally use “Year/Make/Model + crash dummy video” in a search engine to find the right footage.