Safety All Year Round

As we enjoy the beginning of the new year, many of us are likely contemplating whether this is the year or not that we’ll finally buy that new car that we’ve been longing to get. The old car has run admirably up till now, but it’s time to upgrade. There’s only one problem: how can we know whether or not the car we want is really the safest model we can buy?

As car repair specialists, we at the South Salt Lake Master Muffler know that some safety features are worth their weight in gold and that the only acceptable goal is to have zero fatalities on the road in 2022. 

To that end, we’d like to help you determine what the safest cars on the market are, by understanding how safety is judged today and what manufacturers are doing to entice drivers like you who are looking for something new.

What Safety Looks Like

Meet the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an organization designed for two purposes:

  • To help the common layperson understand what the safest models are on the market today.
  • To put pressure on manufacturers to throw more resources into safety features.

They do this by running a series of tests on every make and model of car or truck to adjudicate how they perform under certain conditions; conditions such as impacts, skidding, and mechanical failure. 

At the end of their yearly tests, they publish a list of the safest cars a person can own. These ratings are then made known to people in and out of the industry, and (hopefully) changes are made to improve the car’s performance for the future. It is the IIHS that determines what, exactly, a safe car looks like today.

The Categories

If you were to look up a standard IIHS judgment sheet on a particular car, you would see its safety rating broken down into a series of categories. These include:

  • Driver’s Side Small Overlap Front: A frontal crash covering 25% of the width of the vehicle — essentially the size of a street lamp or tree. 
  • Passenger Side Small Overlap Front: Similar to the driver’s side test, but on the other side of the car.
  • Moderate Overlap Front: A head-on collision covering 40% of the width of the car, such as two cars hitting one another. This tests the vehicle’s crumple zones and the effectiveness of the passenger safety cage. 
  • Side Impact: A large object collision against the side of the car. This is where side airbags are monitored.
  • Roof Strength: A test is carried out to determine if the roof’s integrity will hold if the vehicle goes turtle.
  • Head Restraint Tests: A rear-end collision is performed and the neck of the dummy is observed to determine the severity of whiplash injuries.
  • Front Crash Prevention Systems: Meant to engage new safety features such as cameras, automatic braking, and chassis sensors.
  • Headlight Rating: Evaluating the performance of the car’s headlights, including how much glare is created in the eyes of oncoming drivers.

Naturally, those cars with high ratings are less likely to be in need of frequent car repair maintenance. Unless there is a freak accident, many car owners of highly-rated cars and trucks can get away with the standard tune-up once a year.

The Safest Cars

If you are interested in which cars are deemed the safest on the road today, the IIHS has compiled a list of the very best, and labeled them “Top Safety Pick+,” their highest rating possible. Just for your information:

  • The Tesla Models X, S, and 3 have earned the lowest overall probability of injury of any vehicle ever tested by the US government.
  • The new electric vehicles from Ford and Volvo have earned the highest ratings from the IIHS. You can verify what their scores mean here.
  • Injury claims for accidents involving electric cars are 40% lower, thanks to how heavy their chassis tend to be. That’s a lot of protection, even for cars that are typically lower to the ground.

If you are interested in learning more about how our South Salt Lake car repair specialists keep your vehicle roadworthy, feel free to drop by our Master Muffler today. When it comes to mufflers and exhaust systems, we are second to none.