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_accident_crash_automobile

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)

Australia

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.