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What Are Safety Ratings – 12 Key Points

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Stars for cars-flickr-lincolnblues
Photo credit: lincolnblues / Flickr

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) started the 5-Star safety rating program to give those looking to purchase vehicles an idea of crash protection. Whether you are looking to buy a reliable family car or just a hot ride for yourself, it is important to take safety into consideration. Here are 12 key points about safety ratings you should read before buying a new car.

12. Best To Worst

A five-star rating is the best. It means a vehicle is the safest when compared to cars with lower ratings. A one-star rating is the lowest. In general, the safest cars are those that are given a safety rating of four- and five-stars.

11. Save On Car Insurance

A higher rated car, one with a five-star safety rating for example, will help a consumer save when buying auto insurance. Cars that receive higher safety ratings are less expensive when it comes to car insurance. Insurance companies look at the various tests as well as the different safety features a vehicle has when determining what to charge to insure it.

10. How Ratings Are Determined

All vehicles are tested for frontal collisions. The vehicles are run into a wall while traveling 35 miles per hour. The results of the crash are then analyzed and all vehicles are given a rating from five stars to one star. The vehicles are purchased directly from the manufacturers. They are not supplied at zero cost to the NHTSA for testing, which many people believe.

9. Side Impact

Vehicles are also tested for side impact. A side impact crash has a greater likelihood for significant injury because the side of a vehicle is not able to absorb as much of the impact as when it is hit from the front or rear.

A variety of tests are usedfor side impact including striking a car or truck with a steel beam and then determining the results. Just as with frontal collision tests, the side impact tests utilize crash test dummies to help determine the impact of any collision on humans.

8. Rollovers

A vehicle rolling over is very dangerous. The NHTSA will test vehicles to see what happens when they rollover and to see if they roll over too easily.A very small fraction of accidents feature a rollover. Most rollovers occur only when a vehicle has hit something, such as a curb, that forces the vehicle to roll over.

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