No matter how good we are as drivers, only luck and the safety of our cars determine whether we can survive a serious accident. Which cars perform best in crash tests? Take a look at a few of the champions that set an example for everyone in the automotive world.
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The Safe Car: One Car Doesn’t Equal the Other
It used to be that airbags for the driver and passenger were the determining factor in the safety of any model. Today, the safest cars in the world avoid accidents thanks to autonomous systems which predict imminent danger and react accordingly.
Assistance systems also reduce steering and braking forces during sudden maneuvers that might otherwise end in a rollover. And, of course, robust bodywork that can protect against the fatal consequences of a collision has always been valued.
The results of the tests depend on who carries them out. NCAP committees in different countries assess cars according to international standards, as well as their own national accident statistics. They use a combination of road data and heterogeneous test results to determine which cars are the safest and most dangerous.
Manufacturers also conduct their own studies, but the results of their tests can be very different from the NCAP tests. Therefore, you may hear several opinions about the same vehicle from different sources.
However, it is wiser to trust the assessments of independent organizations, as manufacturers conduct such simulations more to assert superiority over competitors and show cutting-edge production direction than to actually investigate the durability of their vehicles.
Independent organizations, on the other hand, are not affiliated with any automaker, and crash-test vehicles do not come directly from the makers, but are purchased anonymously from dealerships. Some of the most reputable include:
- IIHS and NHTSA (U.S. laboratories);
- EuroNCAP (Europe);
- ANCAP (Australia);
- NASVA (Japan).
Basing on their data, let’s see what modern cars they recognize as the safest.
Renault Clio V
Clio leads the way when it comes to urban supercompacts. While this member of the mini segment didn’t get maximum points in all categories, it was unsurpassed in many ways – particularly in protecting adults (96%) and children (89%). These are exemplary figures. The effectiveness of driver assistance systems is rated at 75% – also good in the industry. The worst situation is with protection of accidentally run over pedestrians – 72%.
The king of the compact segment is the Mercedes A-Class. Sensational residual results cover 3 of 4 categories. In terms of adult, child and pedestrian protection, the model scored 96%, 91% and 92% respectively. Only the driver assistance systems received an unimportant score of 80%. Despite this, on the whole this “German” is the absolute leader in its segment by level of safety.
In the middle class the Arteon is a clear leader. In all 4 subcategories it got a score of 80% and higher. This means the protection of individual passengers, driver and pedestrians, as well as the operation of the auxiliary systems is at a sufficient level for the peace of mind of the user. Without a doubt, the new Arteons are the safest cars in their class and age categories.
In the small SUV segment, the Forester wins with a very good score: 5 stars overall, 97% for adult protection and 91% for child safety. Pedestrian support and assist system levels are 80% and 78%, respectively. Definitely number 1 in its class.
Is it any wonder that the “overall race” is won by Volvo, a brand that traditionally markets some of the safest cars in the world? Reliability is, in fact, the second name of the Swedish manufacturer.
The favorite, which received special recognition – Volvo XC60. In separate categories (adults, children, pedestrians, assistive technologies) it received 98%, 87%, 76% and 95%. It should also be noted that it is the only crossover that actually caught up with the Tesla 3 in terms of sensor efficiency, surpassing even the prestigious Mercedes.
Risk of death in different car models according to a U.S. study
Statistics on the safest and unsafe cars, based on a study of fatalities in different models, have been released in the States. Brief conclusions:
The safest cars have fewer than 6 fatalities for every million crashes;
“dangerous” cars have over 100 fatalities for similar conditions;
SUVs and 4x4s are especially safe.
The top ten safest models are:
- Mercedes GL-Class;
- Audi A4 Quattro;
- Lexus RX350;
- Honda Odyssey (minivan);
- Volvo XC90/4WD;
- Kia Sorento/2WD;
- Subaru Legacy/4WD;
- Toyota Highlander Hybrid/4WD;
- Toyota Sequoia/4WD;
- Honda Pilot/4WD.
Off-road and all-wheel-drive vehicles are more reliable than others
Of all vehicles, SUVs take the best care of people inside. Experts have concluded that with these cars, which have a reliable off-road design and stuffing, in a collision often nothing happens at all, while the risk of dying in a regular city small car is much higher.
In addition, all all-wheel-drive models are consistently safer than their 2WD counterparts, even if they are not SUVs. Pickup trucks, by the way, are not among the safest vehicles, although they are the most in demand in the U.S. market.
American researchers have included Hyundai Accent (we know it as Solaris), two Chevrolet products – Aveo and Camaro, and even such popular favorites as Kia Rio, Honda Civic and Ford Focus into the number of the most unsafe cars.
Of course, like any statistic, this data needs to be evaluated with caveats. They are valid for U.S. automobile traffic, which differs significantly from European traffic. Besides, American variations have construction and technological features, which are absent at European analogues, and transoceanic counterparts have their own requirements to safety.
Does the color of the car affect the safety of driving?
It is by no means a cliché, but the connection between color of automobiles and frequency of accidents definitely exists. Anyone who suggests that red models are the safest is unfortunately wrong. According to an extensive Australian study, darker cars are more likely to get into trouble than lighter ones.
The most common colors of wrecked cars are green, gray, blue, black and… red. Surprisingly, of the 17 shades studied, white is the most accident-free.
Also, the risk of an accident in artificial light is, on average, 10% higher than in daylight. The reason lies in poor visibility. The better perception of white cars is due to the fact that this color is much less common in our everyday environment compared to darker colors. It also reflects light more strongly. So, “white” wins in this competition too – the analysis of accidents for a 7-year period has proved it. Not without reason white cars become more and more popular last years.
Is a safe car all you need?
Definitely not. You can get out of an accident unscathed in such a car, but other road users may not be so lucky. We’re talking mostly about pedestrians – light, fragile, and in no way protected from deadly heavy vehicles. Even the safest structures weigh more than a ton, and when they collide with pedestrians, they are like a battering ram.
So don’t forget: No matter how safe a car is considered, it does not exempt the driver from responsible driving. Follow the rules and speed limits, be vigilant and always wear your seat belt. Only when combined with your good behavior can safe cars ensure that all road users are fully protected.