What’s the first thing you ask when you buy a car? Is this car safe? This is the key element when you go to a car dealer and you ask for a car. The law says that the new models can’t go on the market if they do not pass certain safety tests before they are sold. But legislation provides a minimum statutory standard of safety for new cars, so there are agency that test the cars and encourage manufacturers to exceed these minimum requirements.
Every year there are been made crash tests on new cars, light trucks, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), and vans. After beeing tested these vehicles are then rated on how well they protect drivers and passengers during frontal and side collisions using a five-star vehicle rating system. Five stars indicate the highest safety rating and one star the lowest. It is important to know that of the nearly 2 million injury-causing crashes each year, the majority are either frontal or side crashes.
Frontal Impact Test
How it works? Usually frontal impact takes place at 35-40 mph, and both driver and front passenger seats are buckled in. This crash test is equivalent to a head-on collision between two identical vehicles (same weight class) each moving at the same speed.
This test measures the force of impact to each dummy’s head, chest, and legs. The resulting information indicates a belted person’s chances of incurring a serious injury (one that may be life threatening and that requires immediate hospitalization) in the event of a crash.
How cars are beeing rated considering this test? If the risk of serious injuries is 10% or less the car is beeing rated with 5 stars. From 11% to 20% the car gets 4 stars, from 21 to 35% - 3 stars, 36 to 45% - 2 stars and 46% and more 1 star.
Side impact test
How it works?Usually side-impact test takes place at 30-38.5 mph and a trolley - covered with crushable material to replicate the front of a vehicle - is towed into the driver’s side of the car to simulate a side-on crash.
This test mesure the chanceof a life-threatening chest injury (also a a serious injury is one that may be life-threatening and that requires immediate hospitalization.)for the driver, front-seat passenger, and rear-seat passenger.
How cars are beeing rated considering this test? If the risk of serious injuries is 5% or less the car is beeing rated with 5 stars. From 6% to 10% the car gets 4 stars, from 11 to 20% - 3 stars, 21 to 25% - 2 stars and 26% and more 1 star.
This are the basic test that are beeing made to rate a car. Beside that there are test to measure the pedestrian impact and the pole test.
Pedestrian Impact Test
How it works? This test replicates the accidents involving child and adult pedestrians. The impact takes place at 25 mph.
Many of the serious-to-fatal accidents (arround a quarter) result from side impact collisions. Many of these injuries occur when one car runs into the side of another. In order to encourage manufactureres to fit head-protection devices (side impact airbags) this test - pole or head protection - may be performed
In this test the car is driving at 18 mph and at this speed is propelled sideways into a rigid pole (relatively narrow in order to deeply penetrate the side of the car). If the collision take place and the driver to not have a head-protecting side airbag he might suffer a fatal injury or might even be killed.
If the car do not have a side impact airbag a head injury criterion of 5000 is possible, but if the car has this airbag as a standar equipment the head-collision injuries goes to 100 to 300.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests the Kia Sedona and Subaru Impreza are the best performers in a group of minivans and small cars. According to Institute Sedona is the only one that earns good ratings in all three tests, also it seems that frontal crash test performance is an improvement compared with the previous model. About the Subaru the Institute says is a gold standard among small cars. manufacturers made major improvements in how their vehicles protect people in frontal crashes, now they’re making similar improvements for side and rear impact protection. Subaru reinforced the pillar behind the rear passenger door and upgraded the side airbags to standard in the 2006 Impreza.
Top safety cars according to IIHS
- Gold: 2006 Ford Five Hundred with optional side airbags: good performance in front, side, and rear tests
- Gold: 2006 Mercury Montego with optional side airbags: good performance in front, side, and rear tests
- Silver: 2006 Audi A6: good performance in front and side tests; acceptable performance in rear test
- Gold 2007 Hyundai Entourage: good performance in front, side, and rear tests
- Gold 2006 Kia Sedona: good performance in front, side, and rear tests
- Gold 2006 Honda Civic: good performance in front, side, and rear tests
- Gold 2006 Saab 9-2X: good performance in front, side, and rear tests
- Gold 2006 Subaru Impreza (except WRX models): good performance in front, side, and rear tests
- Gold 2006 Saab 9-3: good performance in front, side, and rear tests
- Gold 2006 Subaru Legacy: good performance in front, side, and rear tests
- Silver 2006 Audi A3: good performance in front and side tests; acceptable performance in rear test
- Silver BMW 3 series: good performance in front and side tests; acceptable performance in rear test
- Silver 2006 Volkswagen Passat: good performance in front and side tests; acceptable performance in rear test