What Makes A Car Safe?

If you’re on the hunt for your next car, you’ve probably done your research into the make and model that best suits your lifestyle and budget. However, you might not have considered whether the car you’re buying is actually safe on the road.

Just like anything in life, you can’t judge a book by its cover. While your dream car’s appearance might be shiny and newer than the one you’re trading in, what’s to say it’s even safe? Before you set your heart and sights on a car, we’re inviting you to take a step back and view it objectively.

Of course, it must be noted that there are three factors that contribute to the elimination of road trauma on Australian and New Zealand roads: safe road users, safe roads, and safe vehicles. While an individual is accountable to a degree, it is also the manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure that their make and model is doing their bit to keep the driver and occupants safe should an accident occur.

How to tell if your next vehicle is safe

Gain driver confidence and security knowing that your next vehicle is safe as houses. Here’s our curated list of all the things you should consider while researching your next car’s safety level.

1.      Check crash-test ratings with ANCAP

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program, generally known as ANCAP Safety, is Australia and New Zealand’s independent vehicle safety authority. Cars are given a rating between 0 to 5 stars. Naturally, the more stars, the higher the level of safety the car will provide in the event of a crash. The safety rating also takes into consideration the ability to avoid, or minimise, the effects of a car accident. Taking just 5 minutes to research your car’s crash-test rating may provide you with the peace of mind you require in knowing that your vehicle has passed the test.

2.      The age of the car matters

You may be surprised to discover that seat belts weren’t even considered standard equipment until about 50 years ago. It’s a known fact that the newer the car, the safer it will be. Thanks to advanced engineering and automotive technology, newer vehicles are built better and packed with more safety features to protect the occupants. Think crumple zones, high-strength steel, and even alerts that can help a driver avoid an accident in the first place.

3.      … As does weight

In controlled crash testing, studies have revealed that when a lighter vehicle (such as a Toyota Camry) and a larger vehicle (like a Holden Colorado) collide, the former will always be at a disadvantage. This is due to a number of reasons, such as lighter vehicles have the potential to be pushed into oncoming traffic in a collision or the heavier vehicle will experience a lower deceleration, which in turn lowers forces on the occupants. It might not be a commonly asked question when it comes to your new car, but it’s important to ask yourself, “How much does this car weigh?” Of course, it should be said that heavier vehicles do consume more petrol to operate.

4.      Built-in, automated safety features

Passive safety features and safety assist technology in cars can help prevent or manage the force of impact. While every passenger car in Australia is standard fitted with airbags and antilock brakes, as well as Electronic Stability Control (since 2013), there are other automated safety features you should look for in your next car. Just some of these are listed below:

  • Blind Spot Monitoring: While you shouldn’t neglect your usual driving habits, such as shoulder checks and adjusted side mirrors, Blind Spot Monitoring can offer an extra pair of eyes. As the name suggests, this system monitors a driver’s ‘blind spot’ and can warn the driver with an alarm should another vehicle present itself.
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking: By detecting the speed and distance of objects in front of the vehicle via sensor technology, the car will automatically brake if the driver does not respond in the estimated time.
  • Lane Keep Assist: With the ability to recognise lane markings, the driver is alerted through an alarm if the vehicle they are in is leaving the lane without indicating. In some cases, the active systems may steer the vehicle back in its correct lane if the driver doesn’t do it first.
  • Reversing Collision Avoidance: This type of driver aid uses reversing cameras or sensors to identify objects in the path of the reversing vehicle.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are many other automated safety features that can help determine how safe a car is.


The most important safety feature of all: Car insurance

According to ANCAP, approximately 90% of crashes on the road involve some form of human error. Accidents can and do happen, which is why you’d want to be protected for those ‘just in case’ moments. A comprehensive car insurance policy can keep you on the road and cover you for accidents, damage, and theft. Alternatively, third party property damage will cover the bill from the damage you cause to other people’s cars.

Speak to CCI Personal Insurance today on 1800 107 603 to discuss the right car insurance to suit your requirements.