How To Choose the Safest Vehicle for Your Family

Nothing is more important than the safety of your family. Whether you are planning a vacation to an amusement park or thinking of installing a swimming pool in your back yard you are constantly thinking of how your decision will affect the safety of your spouse and children. Buying a vehicle to shuttle your family to work, school and activities should be no different. When buying a car, many people think that every vehicle is essentially the same. It is important, however, to take into consideration things like safety features and ratings to help ensure that your family will be well-protected in the unfortunate event that you are involved in an accident.

When you are trying to choose the safest family vehicle you should consider the following.

What is the vehicle’s crash test rating?
One of the best ways to tell if a vehicle is safe for your family is by determining what the vehicle’s crash test rating is. A crash test rating is a measure of how well a vehicle sustains in a collision. Vehicles are sent through a brutal barrage of crashes to see how safe they are. Some of these crash tests include:

• Full-width frontal impact
• Frontal offset
• Side impact
• Rear impact

After a vehicle has been through the different tests it is given a rating. This rating tells the public how safe the vehicle is in a collision, such as:

• Excellent
• Good
• Acceptable
• Marginal
• Poor

Has the vehicle been involved in any recalls?

Another great way to determine the safety of a vehicle you are considering is to see if there have been any safety recalls for the model. The Office of Defects Investigation website at www.odi.nhtsa.dot.gov offers consumers monthly reports on vehicle recalls. Many people may be wondering what a vehicle with safety issues is doing on the roads. The answer is that not all safety issues are considered dangerous enough to actually remove the vehicle. This doesn’t mean that you will want to drive it, however, and searching the Office of defects Investigation website can help you make a smarter decision when you are trying to choose the safest vehicle for your family.


How stable is the vehicle?
Many people think that the bigger the vehicle, the better. Unfortunately, many larger vehicles can be very unstable and have a tendency to roll over very easily. To compensate for this, many newer vehicles offer stability controls which help the vehicle stay dirty-side down when the road gets rough or you need to make a hard break or sharp turn. Ask about the vehicles stability before you decide to purchase it for your family.

What kind of safety features does the vehicle offer?
Most vehicles offer standard safety features such as seat belts and driver’s side air bags because they are required by law. If you are trying to choose the safe family vehicle, however, there are many other safety features that are offered on some vehicles that will give you more peace of mind and help ensure your family’s safety if you are involved in a collision. Some of the safety features you should look for include:

• Air bags- Many vehicles are beginning to offer passenger-side air bags, side air bags, curtain air bags which protect the head and shoulders of the passengers and even knee air bags.
• Rear end collision warning lamps- inform the vehicles to your rear when your vehicle senses you decelerating and thinks you may be stopping soon.
• Directional headlights- allow drivers to see the roadway while turning a corner’
• Anti-lock brakes (standard in most newer vehicles)
• Traction control- activates brakes and reduces the vehicles speed when the vehicle senses the wheels begin to spin
• Side impact bars
• Collapsible steering column

These are just a few of the many available safety features that could make vehicles safer for you and your family. The more safety features a vehicle has, however, the more expensive the vehicle will be. Many safety features are unfortunately only offered on high-end luxury cars. Try to find a vehicle that has the most safety features for your budget to help ensure your family’s safety on the road. A benefit of choosing a vehicle with added safety features is that the car insurance companies take the safety features of a vehicle into consideration when quoting insurance policies for potential customers. The more safety features a vehicle has, the lower the insurance premiums may be.

Deciding how to choose the safest vehicle for your family can be a daunting task. The rewards for your time and energy are well worth the peace of mind you will feel knowing that you’ve done everything you can to keep your family safe.

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