When searching for your next new car, it’s only natural to focus first on appearance, price and performance. However, one of the most important factors that shouldn’t be overlooked is safety. Evaluating independent car safety ratings is crucial to determine the safest vehicle options and make an informed decision.

Why Safety Scores Matter in Vehicle Selection

What are Car Safety Ratings?

Safety ratings are assessments given to vehicles by independent organisations like ANCAP and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Vehicles undergo rigorous crash testing and are scored on their ability to protect occupants in various scenarios. Higher scores indicate better crashworthiness and accident avoidance capabilities.

These standardised ratings allow you to easily compare the safety of different vehicle makes and models. Results highlight those that excel at occupant protection as well as advanced driver assistance tech designed to prevent crashes in the first place.

Why are Safety Ratings Important?

Independent safety ratings shine a spotlight on how well manufacturers have prioritised safety in their vehicle designs. They identify those that go above and beyond minimum requirements to truly minimise the risks in the event of an accident.

While all new vehicles must meet basic safety regulations, not all are equal when it comes to life-saving occupant protection devices and crash avoidance technologies. Safety ratings help determine the safest options.

What Factors Influence the Ratings?

Here are some of the key criteria assessed:

  • Crash test performance – Scores are based on frontal, side and rollover tests simulating impacts from various angles and speeds.
  • Airbags – Number, type and placement of airbags to protect head, chest, side and knee areas. More advanced systems score higher.
  • Seatbelts – Pretensioners that tighten belts in a crash and load limiters that reduce chest force get higher marks.
  • Driver assistance tech – Scores factor in collision warning and prevention systems like auto emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist and rear cross traffic alert.
  • Structural integrity – Vehicle body and safety cage design to maintain survival space and minimise intrusion.

Clearly, there are many complex factors determining final safety scores. Checking ratings ensures you make the most informed decision to protect yourself and passengers.

Evaluating Safety Should be Priority #1

While pricing, performance and features naturally garner attention during the new car buying journey, evaluating safety ratings is arguably the most important research you can do. After all, you can’t put a price on the well-being of you and your loved ones.

By taking the time to understand independent safety ratings, you gain peace of mind knowing you’ve selected the vehicle that provides the highest level of occupant protection and accident avoidance technology.