Selecting a Safe Vehicle for Your Family

selecting-used-carThis time of year, car dealers and manufacturers offer countless deals and incentives to entice buyers to make a new vehicle purchase. In many cases, the end of the year can be a great time to buy. Dealers are eager to move their inventory and make room for the next model year.

If your car is racking up the miles, or if you are considering buying a vehicle for your teenage son or daughter approaching driving age, safety is likely to be a major factor in your decision. Here are a few factors to think about when comparing different makes and models of vehicles.

Crash Test Ratings

Vehicles are crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA). Vehicles are rated based on a series of crash tests, and auto manufactures use data from these tests to improve the safety features of vehicles. Be sure to review crash test ratings online about any make of vehicle you are considering. Also, vehicles with strong roofs are more likely to remain intact in the event of a rollover crash, so be sure to check roof strength test ratings.

Vehicle Class and Size

Super lightweight vehicles have better fuel economy than larger vehicles, but this often comes at the expense of sacrificing safety. Larger vehicles such as SUVs tend to offer better protection. A 2013 study found that in a crash between an SUV and a car, a fatality was 7.6 times more likely for the driver of the car vs. the SUV. Also, larger vehicles that sit higher off the ground tend to offer greater visibility.

Backup Cameras

Many cutting-edge safety features, such as adaptive headlights, automatic braking and lane departure warning systems, are only available in a limited number of models. Backup cameras are becoming more common. These are an important feature, as it is common for accidents to occur in parking lots and other areas where sudden movements are common and visibility is limited.

Vehicle History

If you purchase a used vehicle, be sure to get the full story on the vehicle you are purchasing to determine if it has been involved in an accident. Vehicle history reports, offered on web sites like CarFax and VinAudit, can reveal red flags and save you from buying a lemon. Buying a safe vehicle requires time and research, but it’s easier than ever before to get the facts and make an informed buying decision before visiting a dealer showroom floor.

When you purchase your new vehicle, be sure to keep it safe by performing regularly scheduled maintenance! Give us a call or bring your new vehicle to any of our three convenient Triangle locations for service.