Understanding Crash Safety Ratings
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is part of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a non-profit organization funded by auto insurance companies.
NHTSA Crash Tests
Frontal Crash Test: Forecasts how well the vehicle’s safety features and restraints protect occupants in a head-on collision when the front of the vehicle hits a fixed barrier at 35 miles per hour.
Side-Impact Test: Forecasts the chances of severe injury when one side of the vehicle is hit by a fixed barrier at just under 40 miles per hour and also when the vehicle is launched sideways at 20 miles per hour into a narrow pole.
Rollover Resistance Test: The dynamic test evaluates a vehicle with five passengers aboard and a full tank of gas. It simulates an emergency lane change and measures tire movement. If two of the tires lift two inches or more off the ground simultaneously, the vehicle is more likely to roll over.
For the latest crash test data, check out the NHTSA website.
IIHS Crash Tests
IIHS evaluates vehicles on crashworthiness – how well it protects its occupants from injury – and crash avoidance – technology that can help prevent or mitigate a crash. IIHS issues an evaluation of good, acceptable, marginal or poor, and top performing vehicles can earn the group’s “Top Safety Pick” rating.
IIHS determines a vehicle’s crashworthiness with five tests: two front impact tests, side impact, roof strength and effectiveness of head restraints and seats. IIHS also conducts detailed assessments of child seat attachment hardware and vehicle headlight systems.
For the latest crash data from IIHS, check out their website.
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