How Safe Is Your Car

How Safe Is Your Car

How well would your car protect you in a crash? Your car's safety performance in a crash could mean the difference between life and death for you, your passengers and other roads users.

Our goal is to inform you of the safety ratings for various car makes and models so you can make more informed decisions about the cars you buy.

All new cars sold in Australia have to meet minimum specified safety standards, and over the years, the safety of new cars has continued to improve.

Data reveals that occupants travelling in cars manufactured between 1978 and 1982 are 28% more likely to be seriously injured than those in cars manufactured between 1992 and 1997. Newer cars perform even better in crashes.

In a crash situation, different cars offer varying levels of occupant protection. Car manufacturers can include different combinations of features which impact on the safety of your car. These safety features are generally grouped into three categories:

Crash Prevention - Features that help you avoid being in a crash, like electronic stability control (ESC), anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and traction control.

Crashworthiness - Features that protect you in an accident, like seatbelts, airbags and car crumple zones.

Driver Features - Features adding to the safety of your car by making driving easier and more comfortable such as seat height adjustment.

Integrated Safety Features
Driver and passenger protection depends on your car's structure, its occupant restraints and related protection devices working together as an integrated system.

Essential safety features include:

a strong occupant compartment that can withstand severe impacts.
crumple zones outside the occupant compartment to absorb the forces exerted in a car crash.
effective restraint of drivers and passengers to reduce the likelihood of injury from interior features of the car, to prevent ejection from the car and to reduce the potential for soft tissue injury such as whiplash.

Cars have to meet certain performance-based impact protection standards. These specify the results that must be achieved e.g. star safety rating, rather than the equipment or design approaches that must be used. Some manufacturers invest more into developing systems that not only meet but also exceed the standards.

You can make much more informed decisions about how well different cars perform and how manufacturers have integrated safety features by referring to the ANCAP and Used Car Safety Ratings.

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