Choosing a vehicle to lease or own is a major decision. Consumers should take the time to research features of different models before purchasing a vehicle. One of the most critical vehicle features is safety. In fact, a Consumer Reports National Research Center survey confirmed that 65 percent of buyers believe that safety should be their top priority when shopping for a car, truck, or SUV. While all contemporary vehicles are equipped with a host of safety equipment, not all perform the same in a car accident. Car safety ratings are readily available to help consumers make educated decisions when purchasing a vehicle.
What Features are Included in Car Safety Ratings?
Car safety tests vary for different auto agencies and government safety groups. The following list contains common features examined in controlled safety experiments every year:
Accident Avoidance: Accident avoidance is a vehicle’s overall ability to avert a crash. This is not one particular system or equipment. An accident-avoidance rating reflects the efficacy of several different parts working together. Effective emergency handling and braking are essential as they enable the driver to stop and steer in time to dodge a collision with another object or person.
Airbags: Airbags are designed to deploy automatically in the event of a crash. As a cushion between the human body and the interior of the vehicle, they significantly reduce the chance of serious injuries and fatalities. Vehicles with the highest safety ratings generally have curtain, front, knee, and side airbags.
Anti-Lock Brakes: An anti-lock braking system prevents the wheel from freezing as the driver applies pressure to the brakes. It helps maintain good traction and keeps the vehicle from skidding during a stop. Anti-lock brakes are especially beneficial in parts of the country that see a lot of snow and ice.
Electronic Stability Control: Electronic stability control allows the driver to maintain control of the vehicle if they must quickly swerve to avoid a hazard.
Rear-Impact Protection: Rear-end accidents rarely involve fatalities, but they can cause painful head, neck, and back injuries. Head restraints are a large part of rear-impact testing. Safety experts recreate these types of collisions to evaluate how head restrains protect passengers from whiplash and other common neck and spinal cord injuries.
Resistance to Rollovers: Taller vehicles, including SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks, have a higher center of gravity that makes them more likely to tip over. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will not recommend a vehicle if its inside tires lift off the ground in a safety test.
Roof Strength: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also tests the roof strength of various vehicle models to determine if they remain intact when the vehicle rolls over. When a vehicle roof becomes crushed or caves in, the likelihood of serious head and neck injuries is high.
Seat Belts: Seat belts protect passengers and drivers during a crash. According to the NHTSA, nearly half of those killed in motor vehicle accidents each year were not wearing seat belts. Crash safety tests assess the effectiveness of seat belts when a vehicle traveling at an average speed makes impact with another object.
What Types of Accidents are Tested?
All safety features are analyzed during highly controlled crash tests. Crash test ratings are valuable because they suggest how a particular vehicle responds in different accident scenarios, such as:
- Head-on collisions
- Read-end crashes
- Rollover accidents
- Side-impact collisions
The NHTSA and the IIHS both conduct crash tests involving front collisions, rollovers, and side-impact crashes. Their car safety ratings fall somewhere on a five-star scale, with the vehicles receiving the most stars are those less likely to cause severe injuries. The IIHS conducts five tests, including roof strength, overhead restraints, and side impact. The agency classifies vehicles as either poor, marginal, acceptable, or good.
How Do Crash Tests Work?
To conduct a rollover test, the NHTSA operates a test vehicle along a track at speeds between 35 to 50 miles per hour. As the test vehicle swerves to avoid an object in the road, special instruments measure how the car responds. The data is used to tell how likely a vehicle is to roll over. During a front crash test, a standard vehicle is driven toward a barrier. During a side-impact accident test, a barrier slams into the vehicle’s sides. Experts analyze how each vehicle survived the crash and if occupants would have been hurt in a real-world collision. Since the NHTSA and the IIHS tests for different features and results, it is best to check out a few online sites for a better understanding about vehicle safety.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
Even the most well-designed vehicle is vulnerable to damage, especially when it impacts a larger object, like a commercial truck or a structure. An individual who has been hurt in any type of car accident should know they have rights under the law. If it can be shown that the other driver caused the accident and resulting injuries, the injured person can bring a legal claim for financial compensation. Compensation from a personal injury claim can help take care of the financial costs of medical care and repairs.
What are the Elements of a Successful Car Accident Claim?
To be successful, a personal injury claim must prove the following:
Duty: The person or company that caused the plaintiff’s injuries owed them a duty of care. For example, it is the responsibility of a manufacturer to provide safe vehicles to consumers.
Breach: The driver who caused the accident breached a duty of care through an unsafe driving behavior, such as drunk driving, distracted driving, or speeding.
Causation: The other party’s breach caused the accident that directly led to the plaintiff’s injuries. Insurance companies like to debate this element, which is why a lawyer’s assistance is important.
Harm: The accident caused harm to the plaintiff in the form of physical injuries and mental anguish. Financial losses are also considered harm under the law. When a claim is proven, the injured party generally recovers the costs of medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
How can a Lawyer Help with My Case?
Legal guidance is important, a lawyer will make sure the victim’s rights are protected. Insurance companies try to downplay liability and minimize their payouts. A lawyer will advise their client to not accept a quick settlement offer. Every person wants to believe their vehicle will protect them during an accident, but some collisions are unpreventable. After receiving proper medical care and reporting an accident to the police, consulting with a lawyer should be the next step. During an initial case review, the lawyer learns more about the accident, explains the legal process, and recommends the best course of action going forward.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Secure Damages for Injured Victims
Car safety ratings are extremely important to consider when shopping for a new vehicle. Even with a safe car, an accident can still happen. Our Philadelphia car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC understand that collisions severely impact the lives of victims. We can help you with your case. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 215-569-8488. Located in Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.