When deciding what vehicle to choose for your family, safety is paramount. Selecting the safest car for your family can be daunting, but some free online vehicle research tools can make this journey much easier. We will explore the factors contributing to vehicles with excellent safety ratings, crash ratings, accident statistics, and critical safety features. Many family vehicles on the market have all the latest safety features without sacrificing performance or value. The following guide will highlight key components in finding the safest family vehicle.
How To Find the Safest Family Vehicle
What Makes the Safest Family Vehicle?
The Importance of Vehicle Crash Ratings
Key Safety Features to Consider in a Family Vehicle
Active Safety Features
Advanced Safety Technologies
Vehicle Child Safety Features
What is the Most Popular Family Vehicle
What Are the Safest Vehicles of All Time?
Tips For Researching a Safe and Affordable Family Vehicle
Safest Family Vehicle – FAQs
Some key factors to consider when shopping for the safest vehicle for your family include crash ratings, vehicle safety features, and accident statistics. Two main organizations monitor these safety factors, make recommendations and set safety standards in the United States. The National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). These organizations offer recommendations and ratings to consumers to help identify the safest family vehicle. While both these organizations offer similar information, such as crash ratings and accident statistics, they also focus on slightly different aspects of vehicle safety.
Price is also a principal factor for almost everyone shopping for a vehicle, and in the last couple of years, there has been a significant increase in both used and new vehicles. People use a few well-respected brands to help them identify the best values, such as Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds. These vehicle evaluation websites allow consumers to find safe vehicles within their budgets and ensure they get a good rating at a fair price.
Crash ratings are critical when searching for a safe family vehicle. Organizations such as the IIHS and NHTSA conduct extensive crash tests and assign ratings based on a vehicle’s ability to protect its occupants during an accident. The IIHS and the NHTSA are the two main organizations that conduct vehicle crash testing, rate vehicle safety, and ensure that vehicles meet minimum federal safety standards. Both these organizations conduct vehicle crash testing and evaluate vehicle safety features; however, they each use a slightly different rating system.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a federal safety regulatory agency within the US Department of Transportation (DOT). The primary purpose of the NHTSA is to promote and regulate safety on the nation’s roadways. Here are some of the key objectives and responsibilities of the NHTSA:
The NHTSA plays a critical role in managing and enhancing the safety of motor vehicles, reducing traffic-related injuries and fatalities, and ensuring compliance with vehicle safety standards. The NHTSA website offers consumers a Free Vehicle Rating Tool that allows consumers to research vehicles by year, make, and model. It is a helpful resource that helps guide consumers to safer vehicle purchases.
The NHTSA crash rating system uses a 5-star rating system, with a 5-star rating being the best and 1-star being the worst. The NHTSA crash test ratings are an average of 3 categories: front crash test safety ratings, side crash safety ratings, and rollover safety ratings. The NHTSA focus is keeping people safe on the roadways and enforcing vehicle safety and performance standards. This government organization is part of the Department of Transportation (DOT), which mandates Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards in the United States.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) aims to reduce injuries, deaths, and property damage resulting from motor vehicle crashes. The IIHS is an independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization funded by auto insurance companies. The main objectives of this organization are as follows:
By focusing on research, testing, ratings, advocacy, and public awareness, the IIHS contributes to the improvement of vehicle safety standards, encourages the development of safer vehicles, and helps consumers select vehicles that offer higher levels of crash protection and advanced safety features.
The IIHS crash rating system uses two main aspects of safety: crashworthiness and crash avoidance mitigation. Instead of a 5-star rating system the NHTSA uses, the IIHS buckets safety criteria into four categories: Good, Acceptable, Marginal, and Poor. The IIHS will give its crash testing ratings at the beginning of the year because they conduct its crash testing in a laboratory before vehicles are released to the marketplace. However, accident safety ratings for cars are delayed by a year. This is because accident reporting is calculated from the beginning of January to the end of December, so the statistics for “safest car by accident” is delayed by a year. For example, the “safest car by accident” for 2023 won’t be available until the beginning of 2024.
“The “safest car by accident” for 2023 won’t be available until the beginning of 2024.”
Accident statistics can also provide valuable insight into a vehicle’s overall safety. By analyzing data on real-world accidents, you can identify trends and determine which cars have the best track record for preventing or minimizing injuries. Both the IIHS and NHTSA are standards that can be used to determine the safest family vehicle. They perform extensive crash testing, safety features, and collision avoidance systems. It’s a best-practice procedure to use both resources when determining the safest vehicle option for your family.
Modern vehicles boast advanced technology and standard safety features. Most new cars are now equipped with collision alerts, emergency braking systems, cameras, and sensors strategically placed around the vehicle to heighten road awareness. The NHTSA mandates some of these safety features for all new cars. According to NHTSA data, these federally enforced safety standards play a crucial role in saving lives, as they contribute to preventing and reducing vehicle crashes. Each year, with the advancement of technology, newer safety features are added to these safety features. A vehicle manufactured in 2023 has a significantly larger amount of
Price is a principal factor for almost everyone shopping for a vehicle. In the last couple of years, there has been a significant increase in the price of both used and new vehicles. People use a few well-respected brands to help them identify the best values, such as Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds. These vehicle evaluation websites allow consumers to find safe vehicles within their budgets and ensure they get a fair price.
In 2022, new car prices and car loan rates were up significantly, according to the February 2023 Consumer Price Index (CPI) for vehicles calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There was also an inventory shortage for the used car market, so the relative number of new cars with safer crash ratings increased in 2022, and according to the NHTSA, “Newer Cars Are Safer Cars.” This could be viewed as a positive aspect even with new vehicle prices increasing dramatically. Another thing to consider is the more technology and safety features a vehicle has will also lead to higher vehicle prices. For example, an airbag can cost from $1000 to $2000, which means the more airbags a vehicle is equipped with, the more that vehicle will cost. As federally mandated, newer cars have more required airbags, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). This is another reason newer vehicles cost more; safety can be expensive but invaluable if an accident occurs. With US traffic fatalities on the rise, spending a little more money on a safer vehicle might make sense, depending on what type of budget you are working with.
Selecting a family vehicle calls for prioritizing safety as a top concern. Modern vehicles are equipped with numerous safety features to prevent accidents, safeguard passengers during collisions, and improve overall driving safety. This section will delve into the essential safety features to consider when choosing a family vehicle.
Many of the 2023 vehicles have the following standard safety features:
Active safety features are systems that help drivers prevent accidents by actively assisting them in controlling the vehicle or avoiding hazards. Many of these active safety features come standard on newer vehicles. Many of these active vehicle safety features are also required and mandated by the NHTSA.
ABS prevents wheels from locking up during an emergency, maintaining traction and allowing the driver to steer the vehicle. This technology significantly reduces the risk of skidding and losing control in situations that require sudden braking.
ESC detects and reduces loss of traction by applying brakes to individual wheels and adjusting engine power. This helps the driver maintain vehicle control, especially in challenging road conditions or when taking evasive action to avoid an obstacle.
ACC automatically adjusts vehicle speed to maintain a safe distance from the car ahead, reducing driver fatigue on long trips. This system can be beneficial on highways and in heavy traffic situations.
LDW monitors lane markings and alerts the driver if the vehicle drifts out of the lane without a turn signal. This feature helps prevent unintended lane changes and collisions with other vehicles.
Passive safety features are elements of a vehicle designed to protect occupants during a crash. Many of these passive vehicle safety features are also required and mandated by the NHTSA on all new vehicles.
Airbags cushion the impact for vehicle occupants during a collision, reducing the risk of injury. Modern vehicles have multiple airbags, including front, side, and curtain, that protect against various crash scenarios. There have been advancements in airbag technology over the years that have improved safety and efficacy. Some of the latest innovations in airbag technology include:
Seatbelts restrain occupants during crashes, minimizing movement and impact on the interior surfaces of car seats. The three-point seatbelt, now standard in all vehicles, provides superior protection compared to older designs.
Crumple zones are areas of a vehicle designed to absorb and redistribute impact energy in a crash, protecting the passenger cabin. By controlling the deformation of the vehicle, crumple zones reduce the force transmitted to occupants during a collision.
Side-impact protection includes reinforced door beams and side airbags that protect occupants in a side collision. These features are crucial in reducing injuries caused by the intruding vehicle or object during a side-impact crash.
Advanced safety technologies leverage cutting-edge technologies, such as sensors, cameras, radar, and sometimes LiDAR, to enhance vehicle safety and assist drivers. These systems can help prevent accidents, mitigate collision severity, and improve driving safety. Here are some examples of advanced safety technologies:
AEB detects potential collisions and applies the brakes automatically if the driver doesn’t respond in time. This system can help prevent or mitigate the severity of frontal collisions, particularly with slower-moving or stationary vehicles.
BSD monitors areas beside and behind the vehicle, alerting drivers to vehicles in their blind spots. This feature helps drivers avoid collisions when changing lanes or merging onto highways.
RCTA warns the driver of approaching vehicles when backing out of a parking spot or driveway. This system enhances safety by reducing the risk of collisions with vehicles that may not be visible in the rearview mirror.
LDW monitors lane markings, and this system alerts the driver if the vehicle drifts out of its lane without signaling. LKA goes further by gently correcting the steering or applying brakes to individual wheels to help the driver maintain the correct lane position.
ACC automatically adjusts the vehicle’s speed to maintain a safe distance from the car ahead, reducing driver fatigue on long trips. Some advanced versions, called Traffic Jam Assist, can bring the vehicle to a complete stop and resume driving in stop-and-go traffic.
TSR uses cameras to identify and interpret traffic signs, providing real-time information to the driver. This can make road sign recognition include speed limits, no-entry signs, and other essential road signs, helping drivers adhere to traffic rules.
DMS uses cameras and sensors to monitor the driver’s attention and alertness. If the system detects signs of drowsiness or distraction, it will issue a warning or suggest a break, reducing the risk of accidents caused by driver fatigue or inattention.
Parking assistance systems use sensors and cameras to aid drivers in parking by providing visual and auditory guidance. These systems can help prevent collisions with objects, other vehicles, or pedestrians while parking.
Surround view camera systems provide a 360-degree view of the vehicle, combining images from multiple cameras to create a bird’s-eye view. This can be especially helpful when maneuvering tight spaces or navigating complex environments.
Understanding these key safety features of a new car and their benefits enables you to make informed decisions when selecting a family vehicle. Prioritizing safety will not only give you peace of mind.
Child safety features are essential for families with young children. Some safety features to consider when selecting a family vehicle include
The most popular family vehicle, by class, is the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV). The safest-rated and safest SUVs also have many standard safety features and a lot of extra room for gear and storage, so many people choose an SUV over a car or truck. SUVs also have more metal between the passengers and the road, giving them a safer crash-test rating than a car or minivan, as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rated. (i) In collisions, passenger deaths are nearly 60% higher in cars than in SUVs.
Many 2023 vehicles have the following standard safety features:
The IIHS criteria for safest vehicles are broken down into vehicle classes that include: small cars, midsize cars, large cars, SUVs, midsize SUVs, large SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks. The IIHS is also the standard many auto insurance companies use to evaluate vehicle safety. The following criteria determine the IIHS Top Safety Picks for 2023: crash test ratings, driver and passenger airbag tests, headlight ratings, and vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention systems. The IIHS safety criteria and standards are updated every year, and additional criteria may be added in future years as crash prevention and mitigation systems improve.
Of all these vehicle classes, the SUV is the most popular class of family vehicle, according to ConsumerReports.org and IIHS safety ratings. This class of vehicle has proven to be very resilient in accidents. Here is a breakdown of the safest car by class for 2023, as rated by the IIHS for crash test and collision avoidance ratings:
Most of these automobiles have received a 2023 Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ Award from the IIHS. Additionally, if the NHTSA has rated them, they will likely have achieved a five-star rating from this organization if you search for an economical city vehicle with impressive safety ratings and an abundance of standard safety features, this is the ideal choice for you. So, without further delay, here are the top-rated small cars in terms of safety for 2023.
The ranking of the safest pre-owned and new midsize vehicles is determined by our examination of crash test results and safety evaluations from the U.S. government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The SUV outperformed cars and minivans in 2023 crash test simulations and safety ratings. The NHTSA tested these vehicles to help people make more informed decisions. The crash test criteria determine how well a vehicle protects its occupants in an accident. The criteria include; front-side collisions, side collisions, and rollovers. Based on these criteria, the NHTSA has a 5-star rating system, with zero being the worst and five being the best. The top 5-star SUV pics of the NHTSA are
Midsize luxury SUVs to dominate the IIHS Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ winners list. According to Motortrends, these Are the Safest Luxury SUVs for 2023:
There is some debate as to the safest SUV of all time. Some speculate that the Tesla Model-Y is the safest midsize SUV for a family of 5 because it is an SUV that uses active safety features, such as autonomous driving technology, lane assist, collision assist and speed assist. However, there have been driving-related fatalities from this SUV, which technically disqualifies the Tesla Model-Y if zero fatalities are part of the criteria. Some of the deaths related to Tesla crashes have been reported due to issues with their autonomous driving technology. They are constantly improving upon this, and it has yet to be utterly autonomous driving; a driver still needs to be aware and behind the wheel. At some point, it is foreseeable that a fully autonomous driving SUV will make the list of safest vehicles of all time.
Many people question if SUVs are safer than minivans; the answer is it depends. It should be evident if you evaluate the IIHS crash test ratings of a specific make and model of minivan next to the particular SUV. Minivans and mid-sized SUVs rates are very similar in many safety categories, according to 2023 IIHS reporting.
The Toyota Sienna was the only minivan to secure a spot among the Top Safety Pick+ award winners. It received a “good” rating in every aspect of the test, except for pedestrian crash prevention, where the IIHS assessed it as “advanced.”
One of the key reasons the Rivian truck ranks the highest in the IIHS crash test rating is the truck’s roll-over rating. Since this electric truck has its batteries on the bottom of the vehicle’s frame, it has a lower center of mass, which makes it more stable and less likely to roll over than a conventional gasoline or diesel pickup truck. It also has additional airbags, such as knee airbags, that many of the pickups in this vehicle class do not.
Safety must always be a primary concern when buying a new vehicle. By opting for one of the safest electric cars available, you can simultaneously minimize your carbon footprint and ensure the well-being of your family. Whether you commute daily or embark on long-distance journeys, these electric cars promise to deliver a secure and pleasurable driving experience. While electric vehicles are not fully autonomous yet, they have many safety features that non-electrical vehicles do not.
Vehicles with five-star ratings, or the highest rating for the safest ratings of all time, are determined by how many driver or passenger deaths and injuries. The following are the top handful of vehicles reported by CBS as being the safest vehicles of all time. These vehicles have a five-star safety rating and zero accident deaths:
SUVs are the safest vehicles of all time. This vehicle class has become synonymous with vehicle family and high safety ratings. They can cost a bit more than a sedan or minivan, but obvious safety benefits come with this premium.
When looking for a safe family vehicle, it’s essential to consider various factors to ensure the well-being of your loved ones on the road. Here are some tips on researching and finding the safest family vehicle within your budget:
Selecting a safe family vehicle involves carefully considering crash ratings, accident statistics, and the availability of top safety pick awards for advanced safety and child-friendly features. By conducting thorough research in top safety and prioritizing cars with a strong top safety of record five stars, and top safety pick award, you can ensure that your family is protected and comfortable on the road, all while finding a vehicle within the family’s budget.
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Last Updated: 2023-04-17