The Costs of a Car Crash

2012-11-08T20:52:52+00:00Health & Fitness, Insurance|

While many were eating dinner on this Easter holiday, I spent Good Friday eating an airbag. My “better half” and I were driving along the highway past a big farm when an oncoming truck unleashed it’s rear dual wheels in our direction. Flying wheels are not something you want to see heading towards you on Good Friday, or any Friday for that matter. But flying wheels is what I got, and while the rubber was spinning and before the airbags deployed I got to thinking about stuff. I got to thinking about car safety. You know, important safety features like seat belts, number of airbags, automobile impact ratings, and crash protection features.


Car safety is important stuff to think about during a car crash, but it’s probably more important to think about car safety BEFORE spending your hard-earned cash on a car. The price paid for a car with a high safety rating doesn’t necessarily mean a higher price tag. For example, let’s compare the price of two small cars rated the same by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

2009 Honda Civic & 2009 Toyota Corolla
Both are IIHS Top Safety Picks for 2009 and rate the same.

Similarly equipped (2009 4 door sedan, manual transmission), the MSRP of each vehicle in CDN is:

Toyota Corolla CE: CDN $14,835
Honda Civic DX: CDN $16,990
Difference: CDN $2,155

In the United States, the Corolla and Civic cost almost the exact same, so let’s consider another set of cars for an American example.

2009 Honda Civic & 2009 Subaru Impreza
Both are IIHS Top Safety Picks for 2009 and rate the same.

Similarly equipped (2009 4 door sedan, manual transmission), the MSRP of each vehicle in USD is:

Honda Civic DX: USD $15,505
Subaru Impreza 2.5i: USD $17,495
Difference: $1,990

Whatever your country or currency, the point is price is not the key factor when looking to purchase a safer car. There are savings to be found by looking under the hood, researching safety ratings, and finding the safest car for your family.

Finding Car Safety Ratings in Your Country

Sure, price is important. The car might be the right price and perfect size for you family’s needs, but are your car’s safety features likely to protect you and your passengers? Is your car likely to harm others on the road? Here are some key features to consider when looking to buy a new or used car:

  • Your Country
  • Driver Safety Features
  • Passenger Safety Features
  • Child Safety Features
  • Driving Condition Features
  • Class of Vehicle
  • Year of Vehicle
  • Vehicle Maintenance
  • Crash Avoidance Features
  • Crash Protection Features

… and the list goes on…

The “safety features” you choose when buying a new or used car depend on your personal and passenger needs. Because automobile safety features and ratings vary from country to country, I’ve rounded up a few sites to help you determine how safe is your car?

North America (United States and Canada)


United Kingdom and Europe

In hindsight, I’m happy my “better half’ did the car safety research before buying his 2005 Subaru Impreza. I’ve never been a huge fan of cars, but I’m thrilled to have walked away from my freak car crash just a few days ago. While I hope you never spend a holiday eating an airbag or watching rogue wheels spin into your direction, I do hope your car’s safety features protect you and the ones you love.


  1. David April 13, 2009 at 8:48 am

    So glad you guys are OK! And that’s one of the reasons we bought a Subaru for my wife to drive. Are they going to total it out or fix it?

  2. Mrs. Micah April 13, 2009 at 8:49 am

    How horrible! I think that really does count as a freak accident.

    So glad to hear you’re doing ok. Kudos to your better half for buying a safe car. *hugs*

  3. Kerry April 13, 2009 at 8:52 am

    @David I’m still in a daze over this incident. If the wheel had bounced into the windshield I might not be here. The insurance adjuster still needs to examine the Subaru to determine if it’s done or fixable.

    @Mrs. Micah My “better half” specifically got this car due to it’s impact ratings.

  4. Nicole April 13, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Glad you are ok! Nice compiling of information. Way to have a clear enough head post-accident to think of all this stuff!

  5. guinness416 April 13, 2009 at 9:12 am

    Glad you’re okay. Krystal at Give Me Back My Five Bucks got into a wreck too, some weekend. We ran into a deer in my husband’s wee hyundai a few years ago and came off the worse, he was mad for safety when he replaced that one. I’m confident that my subway cars are pretty safe 🙂

  6. Riscario Insider April 13, 2009 at 9:43 am

    I’m glad you’re okay. Thanks for explaining how the accident happened and posting the photo. It’s great that your car protected you.

    Price and size are no guarantees of safety, even in expensive cars. If you look at 2009 Large Luxury Cars, IIHS found flaws with: Lexus GS/LS, Infiniti M35/M45, Cadillac STS, BMW 5-Series, Lincoln Town Car.

    Incredibly, the dealers defend their cars. Last year, the BMW 5-Series had problems too. When I asked how this could be, the rep suggested the test was done poorly (i.e., the dummy may have slipped) and that since the car handles very well (which is true), it’s much easier to maneuver out of harm’s way (which is questionable). No sale.

  7. Amphritrite April 13, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Holy snot! I’m so glad you two are okay…. I would have had a heart attack before the wheels hit!!

  8. neimanmarxist April 13, 2009 at 10:10 am

    holy moly, SF! I am so glad you are okay. what a scary thing to have happen.

  9. Jerry Hung April 13, 2009 at 10:15 am

    +1 for a crazy weekend (Krystal at Give Me Back My Five Bucks as someone else mentioned, her weekend trip got ruined). At least everyone is all okay, that’s the important thing

    Yes, safety is what my parents only cared about, not the price but safety, and we have had 2 accidents in winters that totalled both cars to know how important safety is (no airbags deployed ever though, all side damages)

    Ruined my goals of driving my cars to the ground, resulting in 4 cars in 10 years. I am happy in a way to try so many cars….

  10. FupDuckTV April 13, 2009 at 10:44 am

    I’m glad to hear you are both safe. Safe cars is very important. Did the airbag feel like you were getting slapped?

  11. Vered - MomGrind April 13, 2009 at 11:11 am


    I’m glad you’re OK.

  12. Dana April 13, 2009 at 11:25 am

    Ouch, to be in an accident, and still thinking of your blog and writing, that is commendable. I’m glad you are doing all right!

  13. Chiot's Run April 13, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Another thing to think about is the insurance cost. A safe car is often cheaper to insure, we have a MINI cooper that’s super safe and it’s so much cheaper to insure than any car we’ve owned.

    Glad to hear you’re both OK!

  14. J. Money April 13, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    2 bloggers crashing in the same weekend = no good 🙁 i’m SO sorry to hear that, just look at all this love around you!!! happy to see you’re back in action and working on recovering 100% 🙂

  15. Bible Money Matters April 13, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    wow, thank goodness you walked away from that, I’ve heard of rogue semi wheels killing people before, they’re no laughing matter!

  16. Emily@remodelingthislife April 13, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    so glad you are okay!!

  17. Sagan April 13, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    That’s awful, thank goodness you’re okay!! Definitely important to have a really safe vehicle.

  18. Jean April 14, 2009 at 1:58 am

    Wow! You were lucky that wheel rolled instead of bounced or you might not be here to tell us about this. So thankful that you are okay. Blessings to you both.

  19. Craig April 14, 2009 at 3:40 am

    Glad you’re okay. One of the reasons I drive a Subaru Forester is for safety. It isn’t for looks!

  20. mapgirl April 14, 2009 at 5:36 am

    GEEZ. I am glad you guys are ok.

  21. marci April 14, 2009 at 6:31 am

    A set of duallys is NOT something I’d want heading my direction either – how freaky! Glad it turned out as well as it did.
    Safety ratings are why I bought my Subaru forester 9 years ago – when I decided that I wasn’t going to haul my grandkids around in a car that was not as safe as could be! And I still drive them in it. But with all the log trucks, milk trucks, and lumber trucks in this area, I feel even safer up higher off the ground, so mostly drive my 4×4 pickup with it’s great safety ratings also. I feel safe in it also.

  22. Aman@BullsBattleBears April 14, 2009 at 8:57 am

    glad to hear your okay! cars can be replaced.

    Also, when comparing, talk to your insurance agent. My broker was really helpful when I was comparing two cars.

  23. That One Caveman April 14, 2009 at 9:39 am

    I’m so happy you’re ok. What a horrific experience! Take some time to count your blessings.

  24. Stevie April 14, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Honey! That’s just like my motorcycle bail last summer. Egad. BTW… check out your “it’s” in the first paragraph, you sure that’s right, tech writer? 🙂

  25. Iva @ Horizontal Yo-Yo April 14, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    I’m so glad to hear that y’all are okay!

  26. El Cheapo April 14, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Glad to see that no one was hurt. Just watched on the news this morning about fuel efficiency vs. safety. Best video was a Mercedes C-Class and a Smart Car crashing into each other… the Smart Car was literally in the air and did a full 360 degree spin. Kind of scary to imagine if that was a Smart Car and a SUV or a Semi.

  27. Michael McKim April 14, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    Glad you’re okay, Fox!

  28. Catgurl April 14, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Holy doodle! What a weird accident. Glad you guys are okay.. well.. you can’t say that this Easter weekend was uneventful! 😛

  29. Kathryn April 20, 2009 at 10:32 am

    I’m late at chiming in … still, it’s no less heartfelt. I’m SO glad you and Better Half are okay. Thanks for the post to remind everyone that safety matters.

  30. David May 26, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    I’m late to the party here (was just directed to this by a friend who knows my family is looking at buying a Subaru Impreza), but there’s a point I’d like to raise.

    Let us consider your second example of “Similarly equipped” cars. Being a Subaru, the Impreza has full-time all-wheel drive, while the Civic is front-wheel drive. The Impreza also has vehicle dynamics control, traction control, and brake assist, all of which the Civic lacks. Finally, the Impreza has a more powerful engine, and a higher power to weight ratio.

    While they may get the same crash test ratings, the $2000 worth of additional features/equipment on the Impreza may help you avoid a collision outright.

    I guess my point is that safety ratings don’t necessarily tell the whole story where safety is concerned, and there is also safety to be found by looking under the hood and researching vehicle specifications.

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