Is It Important to Check Car Safety Ratings?

Whether you buy a new or used car, you must make countless decisions. Perhaps the most important is how the vehicle measures up in terms of safety.

Each year, countless drivers and passengers get into car accidents. Although many of the accidents are fender-benders or minor incidents, some are catastrophic. The safer your car, the higher the likelihood you will experience fewer personal injuries and associated costs.

How exactly can you check almost any car’s safety ratings? The process is easy and can be done from any digital device.

How to Look Up NHTSA Vehicle Safety Ratings?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is an organization that rates most vehicles based on a five-point scale. As long as you know a car’s year, make, and model, you can easily use the NHTSA site. Once at the landing page, just type in your vehicle’s information. From that point, you can see how the vehicle rates from one to five stars in numerous categories.

Since this look-up process takes only a few minutes, you have no reason to bypass it. You can even check out ratings while at a dealership or car lot. Just take out your phone and compare the vehicle types you like. You may discover that there are greater safety differences than you realized.

How to Look Up IIHS Car Safety Rankings?

The NHTSA is not the only place that offers online car safety rankings. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) does as well. All IIHS rankings are based on the organization’s independent crash and other tests. The IIHS does an excellent job of testing vehicles under a variety of real-world conditions. Therefore, it is worth your time to visit the site.

As with the NHTSA site, you will need to know your car’s year, make, and model. With that data, you can find out all about the vehicle. You may even discover that it earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ rating. Top Safety Picks are the highest honors given to any vehicles. Only those with exceptional test performance receive Top Safety Pick awards.

Again, you will see that the IIHS uses a five-point scale. You may even see the IIHS ratings on a car’s window sticker if you are shopping in person.

When Should You Check Car Safety Ratings?

The best time to explore car safety ratings is before you have signed any binding contracts. If you are not in a rush to buy a vehicle, you may want to take time to weigh the safety ratings of numerous cars. The better educated you are as a consumer, the better you will know how well a car is likely to perform during a rear-end, T-bone, head-on, rollover, or another type of collision.

What if you are buying a used car on the private market? In that situation, your only way of knowing if a car is safe is to conduct research yourself. Even if the seller claims that a vehicle is “very safe,” you need to do due diligence. A used car offered by a private seller may seem like a great bargain, but it could turn out to be a risky investment if it is not safe.

Can I Make a Car Safer?

You cannot do anything to change a car’s NHTSA or IIHS safety rankings. However, you may be able to improve a car’s safety elements by outfitting it with after-market car safety features.

Some of the top add-ons that many car owners invest in are rear camera systems, collision avoidance and warning systems, and blind spot monitoring detectors. Even if you have to pay someone else for the installation, you can avoid a high-cost accident later.

What Are the Benefits Associated with Checking Car Safety Ratings?

Unless you inherit a car, you are under no obligation to buy any vehicle. Even if you do inherit one, you can opt to sell it or donate it if you discover it is unsafe to drive. You are a consumer and as a consumer, you deserve to protect yourself and your investment.

Looking up the safety ratings of a vehicle assures you of several key things:

  • You fully understand how much risk you are potentially incurring by owning and driving a vehicle.
  • You have a good idea of how the car will react in different crash scenarios.
  • You can feel more confident that your vehicle will protect you, your passengers, and any other drivers.

Will a Safer Car Keep Accident Injuries to a Minimum?

Buying the safest vehicle you can afford makes sense. Yet even if you drive a car that passed roof strength tests, rollover tests, side impact tests, and other tests, you could get into an accident. Even safe drivers operating safe cars can be hit by irresponsible, negligent, aggressive, and/or distracted drivers.

In Washington DC, you are required by law to have a minimum amount of coverage. Your coverage allows you to recover damages from your insurance carrier under the no-fault rule. In other words, regardless of who was at fault, your insurance will pay your medical costs up to a maximum amount.

With that being said, you have the option to opt out of no-fault insurance within 60 days of your car accident and attempt to recover damages from the other driver. This may be a better choice if your injuries are extensive or will affect you for life. Contacting a lawyer who practices car accident law in Washington DC within 60 days of your crash can help you decide which route to take. Lawyers frequently offer free consultations so they can understand your situation and give non-binding advice based on their experience.

Above all else, you want to make sure that you do everything you can to pay nothing out of pocket if you were properly insured, drove a safe vehicle, and ended up becoming an accident survivor. Your job is to recover, not to stress about finances.

Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Clients Recover from Their Accident

It is important to have a vehicle with good safety ratings. Unfortunately, this does not eliminate the chances of having an accident. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision, reach out to the Washington DC car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. We will protect your rights and fight to get the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington DC, Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we work with clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.