Roadmap to Vehicle Safety

What goes into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 5-Star Test? (1)

Part 1: Protecting the Occupants

Crash tests evaluate how well a vehicle protects areas of a passenger's body during a head-on collision, a T—bone Intersection accident, sliding into a telephone pole on the driver's side, and a rollover accident.

Part 2: Testing the Vehicle

The NHTSA recommends buying a vehicle with three crash-avoidance technologies. Technologies tested according to the NHTSA’s requirements are:

  • Forward collision warning: warns when your vehicle is too close to others in front of you.
  • Automatic emergency braking: applies brakes, or aids the driver to fully brake, before or during a crash.
  • Lane departure warning: warns when your vehicle drifts from your lane without signaling.

More Ways to Stay Safe

94 percent of crashes involve human error. While the following automated technologies are not part of the NHTSA‘s 5-star rating, they can help prevent many accidents.

  • Lane-keeping support: corrects steering to stop drifting out of a lane unintentionally.
  • Blind spot detection: cameras and sensors warn a driver trying to change lanes that there‘s an unseen vehicle.
  • Pedestrian automatic emergency braking: automatically brakes if a pedestrian is in front of a vehicle and the driver hasn't tried to avoid an accident.

While a vehicle safety rating is a great place to start your research, bear in mind that older vehicles will not have some of these technologies available. But if you're purchasing a brand-new car, keep these features on your radar.

  1. Purchasing With Safety in Mind, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2017

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