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Buying a Safer Car

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How to Buy a Safer Vehicle

Deciding which new or used vehicle to buy can be overwhelming, but here are some must-have safety features to help narrow down your list. In our opinion, these 6 are the non-negotiables (i.e. if the vehicle doesn’t have it, we wouldn’t buy it).

After the must-have safety features, we discuss the crash test ratings by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as well as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Must Have Safety Features

Click the pink names below to learn more about each.

 

Vehicle Design Features that can be Problematic for Car Seats

Crash Test Ratings

Two separate organizations – one governmental (NHTSA – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and one independent (IIHS – Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) offer crash test ratings for new and older vehicles. Both the IIHS & NHTSA evaluate the crashworthiness of the vehicle, meaning how well the vehicle will protect its occupants in a crash. While both the IIHS & NHTSA now focus attention on crash avoidance and mitigation technologies that can prevent a crash or lessen its severity, the IIHS has been more proactive by factoring this technology into their most recent ratings.  These technologies are not part of the current NHTSA 5 star ratings.

Other differences in the ratings: IIHS factors in head restraint and whiplash protection, while NHTSA does not; NHTSA factors in rollover resistance, while IIHS does not per se, although ESC was part of their ratings for many years before it became a standard feature, and ESC decreases the risk of a rollover. More info on how IIHS tests.  More info on how NHTSA tests.

Since 2013, IIHS offers 2 levels of recommended vehicles – Top Safety Pick (TSP) and Top Safety Pick + (TSP+). Please note that criteria for earning a TSP and TSP+ get more difficult every year – to encourage manufacturers to keep enhancing their vehicles to make them as safe as possible. 

Please keep in mind that some vehicles which received a high rating in previous years may receive a lower rating in subsequent years.  This does not mean that the older vehicle is unsafe.  Due to more vigorous testing and requirements to achieve a certain rating, a vehicle that once received an excellent rating may receive a lower score in a subsequent year even if no changes have been made to the model.  The IIHS consistently adds additional requirements to the minimum needed to earn a Top Safety Pick, with the goal of pushing the development and availability of additional safety features.

Informed For Life, an independent organization, aggregates the crash test ratings from both the IIHS and NHTSA and then adds in their own calculation as to how the weight of the vehicle will affect crash performance.

Still overwhelmed?

We suggest scanning through the IIHS’s list of vehicles that make their Top Safety Pick +.  If you find a vehicle in that list that meets your family’s needs (budget, passenger capacity, fuel efficiency, etc)… go with it and enjoy your new car.  If you need some more options, take a look at those earning the Top Safety Pick.  Compare with NHTSA’s 5 star rating to get a fuller picture of the safety of the vehicle.  Please note, from our experience when it comes to crash avoidance technologies, the information on the NHTSA page may not be accurate as to what is available in that vehicle.  We recommend googling the vehicle and the specific crash avoidance technologies you’re interested in to see which are available and which are not (since vehicle manufacturers love to give these technologies unique names, we found that just looking on the vehicle’s website was sometimes a confusing way of trying to figure out which technologies were offered.  We had more luck starting with a google search).

 

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

Newer vehicles are coming with a variety of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) all with the goal of helping the driver avoid a crash. There are 3 categories of ADAS – those that aid the driver, those that warn the driver, and those that assist the driver. The assist ones are the most helpful in avoiding a crash.

Advanced Driver ASSIST Systems

Key Take Away Points: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is a smarter cruise control that represents one of the beginning steps in autonomous driving. ACC is where you set your desired speed and following distance and the car will slow down or speed up to maintain these. ACC systems vary in several important ways. Some will provide partial braking, while others will bring the car to a complete stop when necessary. ACC that works at highway speeds is increasingly common, but ACC that works down to a full standstill - called ACC with Stop and Go - is an next important step in managing bumper-to-bumper traffic. ACC is great for everyone - but especially those who do lots of highway driving and those who are prone to motion sickness.


Adaptive Cruise Control

https://youtu.be/hefNqVVEn-w

The video above shows a Volkswagen Golf with Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go (for traffic jams).

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is available on a growing number of newer cars (starting around 2014) and is one of the early steps towards autonomous driving. Just like regular cruise control, with ACC you set the speed you want to maintain. The difference is that with ACC you also set your following distance - or the gap between you and the car in front. This lets the car know how aggressive of a driver you want it to be. ACC not only maintains your set speed, but if traffic in front of you slows down, ACC will slow your car down to maintain your desired gap. Once the ACC detects that there is sufficient space between you and the car in front, your car will accelerate up to your set speed. 

Those who get motion sick will be the first to tell you that some drivers make them feel much sicker than others - particularly due to how the driver accelerates and brakes. ACC is the most gentle driver of all - as the car can accelerate and brake much smoother than a human can. And a gentle ride is a ride where you are less likely to feel sick. 

All car manufacturers' ACC works a little differently. Many versions of ACC only work at set speeds above 25-35mph. This means that many will NOT work for driving around town where speed limits are typically under 35mph. Many versions also shut off when the car goes below a certain speed - meaning that if you are on the highway and find yourself in stop and go traffic, the ACC won't work. Some versions have ACC with Stop and Go - which means that the ACC will continue to work even in bumper-to-bumper traffic, bringing you to a full stop and then accelerating when the car ahead moves within a given timeframe. 

Ever felt like losing your lunch in stop and go traffic - with all the constant lurching forward and back as the driver speeds up and slows down every few seconds? We can't get you out of a traffic jam, but ACC with Stop and Go can decrease the lurching your body experiences in stop and go traffic because the car is a much smoother driver than a human. With Stop and Go ACC, the driver only has to steer the car while stuck in a traffic jam on the highway. ACC with Stop and Go can be a godsend for those who get motion sick - and for those who have commutes that involve a lot of bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Click here to learn more about Adaptive Cruise Control. 

Brake Assist

Traffic Jam Assist

Key Take Away Point: Electronic stability control (ESC) is a computerized technology that makes the vehicle more stable by detecting and then reducing skidding which prevents many single-vehicle crashes and especially rollovers. ESC is expected to save more lives than seat belts - because ESC prevents certain crashes from ever happening. It is standard on most vehicles since 2012 in the US and available on some older vehicles. 


Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is a critical safety feature as it reduces the number and severity of crashes. ESC was first introduced in the mid-90's and is now required on all but the heaviest vehicles in the US since the 2012 model year. By 2019, all vehicles - including large truck tractors - will have ESC. The safety benefits of ESC are so tremendous that it should be a non-negotiable

How does ESC work?

ESC is looking for differences between the direction of the steering wheel (meaning the direction the driver wants the vehicle to travel) and the actual direction the vehicle is headed. When there is a difference between these two directions, ESC makes the necessary corrections  - by controlling the braking of individual wheels and the car's speed - to match the vehicle's direction of travel with the direction the driver wanted. 

ESC helps prevent both over and understeering. Oversteer is when the car turns farther than the driver wanted, causing the rear wheels to slide and the car to spin. Understeer is the opposite of oversteer and it happens when the front wheels don't have enough traction and the car continues straight ahead rather than turning.

During emergency maneuvers, ESC can help a driver maintain control and prevent the sideways skidding and loss of control that can lead to a rollover. ESC can also prevent running off the road on a sharp curve by reducing the vehicle's speed.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MCRLKRluk1w

How effective is ESC in preventing crashes?

If all vehicles were equipped with ESC, as many as 10,000 fatal crashes could be avoided each year in the US. ESC reduces fatal single-vehicle crash risk by half for cars & SUVs. ESC is particularly effective at preventing rollover crashes; it reduces the risk of fatal single-vehicle rollovers by about 75% for SUVs and cars.1 Federal studies also show large benefits. NHTSA estimates that ESC on large trucks could prevent 40 to 56 percent of rollovers and 14 percent of loss-of-control crashes.ESC is required on all large trucks by 2019.

Watch & Learn more about Electronic Stability Control

Key Take Away Point: Automatic Parallel and/or Perpendicular Parking can help you find a spot and prevent you from hitting other cars while it helps you pull into the spot.


Automatic Parallel Parking helps find a viable spot by making sure there is enough room for your vehicle to fit between the two cars. Automatic Parallel Parking helps guide you into a spot by steering the car - but you must brake, shift gears, and keep a close eye on your surroundings while it steers the car. This feature can help prevent you from hitting other cars while parallel parking. 

Watch & Learn more about Automatic Parallel and/or Perpendicular Parking Assist

https://youtu.be/RtomEyPQhtM

Advanced Driver WARNING Systems

Key Take Away Point: You want a vehicle with Forward Collision Warning + Autobrake as this technology is the best thing we have for preventing your car from crashing head-on into something (car, tree, etc).


Forward collision warning (FCW) is exactly what it sounds like - it is a warning when you are about to crash head-on into something. The type of warning varies - it can be a flashing light, a beep, a vibration of the steering wheel, a visual display on the instrument panel, or even a vibration or tightening of your seat belt.

Forward Collision Warning (without Autobrake)

↓27% Front-to-rear crashes

↓20% Front-to-rear crashes with injuries

↓7% Claim rates for damage to other vehicles

↓14% Claim rates for injuries to people in other vehicles

The above data is from IIHS. It shows that forward collision warning is effective in reducing the number of crashes that occur as well as in preventing injuries when the crash wasn't avoidable. But FCW will never eliminate all front-to-rear crashes because sometimes the warning comes too late - and you don't have enough time to react and brake to avoid the crash. That's why many new vehicles have FCW + autobrake - also called automatic emergency braking, or AEB.

Forward Collision Warning + Autobrake

↓50% Front-to-rear crashes

↓56% Front-to-rear crashes with injuries

↓13% Claim rates for damage to other vehicles

↓21% Claim rates for injuries to people in other vehicles

Autobrake, also called automatic emergency braking, is also like it sounds. Autobrake is where the vehicle automatically brakes in an emergency situation. Cars with FCW + Autobrake will not only warn you that you are about to crash head-on into something, but the vehicle will take over and apply the brakes for you to help prevent the crash from occurring. Not all crashes are preventable - as it can take 170 feet for a car going 55mph to stop - but autobrake will reduce the speed at which the crash occurs (when the crash wasn't preventable) which thereby decreases the risk of injury in that crash.

Watch & learn more about FCW & Autobrake

Forward Collision Warning (FCW)– With Rick & Scout
Automatic Emergency Braking - Move your mouse & your head to see automatic braking in 360
Front crash prevention
Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) - With Rick & Dan
Crash Prevention - Automatic Emergency Braking

Key Take Away Point: You want a vehicle with Blind Spot Detection as it is proven effective in both preventing lane-change crashes and decreasing injury when the crash was not preventable.


Blind spot detection

↓14% Lane-change crashes

↓23% Lane-change crashes with injuries

↓9% Claim rates for damage to other vehicles

↓12% Claim rates for injuries to people in other vehicles

As you can see from the above IIHS data, blind spot detection is an effective safety feature at reducing the number of crashes and injuries within the crashes that still occur.

Watch & Learn more about Blind Spot Detection

Blind Spot Monitoring - Just move your head or your mouse to see traffic on all sides
Blind Spot Monitoring and Sideview Camera – With Rick & Scout
Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) - Quick Guide Animation
Sideview Camera - Quick Guide Animation
Blind spot detection

Key Take Away Point: You want a vehicle with Lane Departure Warning as it is proven effective in both preventing crashes and decreasing injury when the crash was not preventable.


Lane Departure Warning (LDW) is exactly what it sounds like - it is the car warning you when you are veering out of your lane. The type of warning varies - it can be a flashing light, a beep, a vibration of the steering wheel, a visual display on the instrument panel, or even a vibration or tightening of your seat belt.

Lane Departure Warning

↓11% Single-vehicle, sideswipe and head-on crashes

↓21% Injury crashes of the same types

Lane Departure Warning, as shown from the IIHS data above, has proven itself effective in reducing the number of crashes that occur as well as in preventing injuries when the crash wasn't avoidable.

Watch & Learn More about Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, and Lane Centering

Lane Departure Warning & Lane Keeping Assist - Test Drive in VR 360
Are lane departure warning systems effective?
Lane departure warning and prevention
Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping  Assist - With Rick & Scout
Lane Departure Warning (LDW) - Quick Guide Animation
Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)- Quick Guide Animation

Key Take Away Point: Rear Cross-Traffic Alert systems are effective at reducing crashes that occur while backing up.


Rear Cross-Traffic Alert systems can detect cars that might be crossing as you back up - but may not detect pedestrians or cars behind you when parking spaces are angled. These alerts have been shown to reduce backing crashes by 22%. Rear Cross-Traffic Alert is an enhanced feature found in some back-up cameras.

Watch & Learn more about Rear Cross-Traffic Alert

Rear Cross Traffic Alert - Quick Guide Animation
Back-up Camera, Back-up Warning & more with Rick & Scout
Back-up Camera – Quick Guide
Back-up Warning - Quick Guide Animation
An Extra Set of Eyes!  Backup Cameras may help save lives.

Rear Cross-Traffic Alert - at MyCarDoesWhat.org Deeper Learning about Rear Cross Traffic Alerts

Parking sensors alert you to the position of objects around your car as you park - using cameras, sensors, and/or tones. Some even include lines that appear in your back-up camera. These sensors can help you avoid objects that are both in front of and behind your vehicle.

Watch & Learn more about Parking Sensors

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fifh8SuIZKU

Parking Sensors - at MyCarDoesWhat.org

Key Take Away Point: Drowsy driving kills thousands and injures tens of thousands in the US every year. Do your part to ensure you aren't driving drowsy - and look for a vehicle that might be able to warn you if you are losing attention due to fatigue. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013. However, these numbers are underestimated and up to 6,000 fatal crashes each year may be caused by drowsy drivers.


Drowsy Driver Detection systems do exactly what they sound like - they detect when the driver is drowsy and offer a warning.

How does it sense drowsiness? Some systems borrow from lane departure warning systems and monitor how much you are drifting out of your lane - as it is assumed that an alert driver will stay in their lane. Other systems learn your driving patterns while fully alert and then warn you if they sense that your driving is slower or erratic. Other systems use facial recognition technology to detect the eyelid droop & head bobs to tell if you are starting to fall asleep.  

Early studies suggest that drowsy driver detection technology will help prevent crashes - but a warning is only as effective as the driver's response to it. Specifically - does the driver find a spot to pull over and take a nap or change drivers - or does the driver ignore the warning and continue driving drowsy?

Learn the warning signs of drowsy driving

  • Yawning or blinking frequently
  • Difficulty remembering the past few miles driven
  • Missing your exit
  • Drifting from your lane
  • Hitting a rumble strip on the side of the road
If you experience any of these warnings signs, pull over to rest or change drivers. Opening the window or turning up the radio are not effective ways to keep you alert. For more warning signs visit American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Watch & Learn more about Drowsy Driver Detection

Drowsiness Alert - Does my car really know if I'm drowsy? Take a VR 360 test drive.
CNET On Cars - Smarter driver: Drowsy-driving tech
Drowsiness Alert - With Rick and Scout
Drowsiness Alert - Quick Guide Animation

Drowsy Driver Detection - on MyCarDoesWhat.org

Key Take Away Point: Pedestrians account for at least 1/6th of all fatalities on our roads - and they die because vehicles drive head on into them, or backover them. Technology in vehicles that enhances the driver's view (like back-up cameras) and brakes for the driver (autobrake) can help prevent these tragedies.


In 2015, 5,376 pedestrians were killed and at least 70,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes on public roadways in the United States. Pedestrians can get hit in 2 different ways - the front of the car crashes into them, or the car backs into or over them.

Frontal crashes: Pedestrian detection systems look for pedestrians in front of the car and warn the driver if a crash is likely. Some systems will also apply the brakes to further help prevent hitting the pedestrian. The majority of pedestrian deaths happen at high speeds or in low light situations - and some pedestrian detection systems are only for low speeds and require good lighting, which obviously reduces the system's effectiveness. An IIHS analysis of 2005-2009 crash data "estimated that such pedestrian detection systems could potentially mitigate or prevent up to 65 percent of single-vehicle crashes with pedestrians in the three most common crash configurations and 58 percent of pedestrian deaths in these crashes.7"

Backover crashes: There are several technologies that can help prevent back-over crashes - which is where the driver backs into (and worst case scenario runs over) a pedestrian. Rearview cameras and park assist systems can help prevent backover crashes by letting the driver see what is behind the car that can't be seen in the rear or side mirrors. The best technology is rear autobrake which applies the brakes if the driver is backing up into something - a pole, a car, or a person.

Watch & Learn more about Pedestrian & Bicycle Detection

Your Car is Talking, Are You Listening? Pedestrian & Bicycle Detection - With Rick & Scout
Backup Camera Monitoring - in VR 360 - move your head or your mouse to see your surroundings.
An Extra Set of Eyes!  Backup Cameras may help save lives.

Forward Collision Warning

Key Take Away Point: You want a vehicle with Forward Collision Warning + Autobrake as this technology is the best thing we have for preventing your car from crashing head-on into something (car, tree, etc).

Forward collision warning (FCW) is exactly what it sounds like - it is a warning when you are about to crash head-on into something.

The type of warning varies - it can be a flashing light, a beep, a vibration of the steering wheel, a visual display on the instrument panel, or even a vibration or tightening of your seat belt.

Forward Collision Warning

↓27% Front-to-rear crashes

↓20% Front-to-rear crashes with injuries

↓7% Claim rates for damage to other vehicles

↓14% Claim rates for injuries to people in other vehicles

Forward collision warning, as shown from the IIHS data above, has proven itself effective in reducing the number of crashes that occur as well as in preventing injuries when the crash wasn't avoidable.

But FCW will never eliminate all front-to-rear crashes because sometimes the warning comes too late - and you don't have enough time to react and brake to avoid the crash. That's why many new vehicles have FCW + autobrake - also called automatic emergency braking, or AEB.

Forward Collision Warning + Autobrake

↓50% Front-to-rear crashes

↓56% Front-to-rear crashes with injuries

↓13% Claim rates for damage to other vehicles

↓21% Claim rates for injuries to people in other vehicles

Autobrake, also called automatic emergency braking, is also like it sounds - it is where the vehicle automatically brakes in an emergency situation. Cars with FCW + Autobrake will not only warn you that you are about to crash head-on into something, but the vehicle will take over and apply the brakes for you to help prevent the crash from occurring. Not all crashes are preventable - as it can take 170 feet for a car going 55mph to stop - but autobrake will reduce the speed at which the crash occurs (when the crash wasn't preventable) which thereby decreases the risk of injury in that crash.

Watch & learn more about FCW & Autobrake

Forward Collision Warning (FCW)– With Rick & Scout
Automatic Emergency Braking - Move your mouse & your head to see automatic braking in 360
Front crash prevention
Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) - With Rick & Dan
Crash Prevention - Automatic Emergency Braking

Lane Departure Warning

Key Take Away Point: You want a vehicle with Lane Departure Warning as it is proven effective in both preventing crashes and decreasing injury when the crash was not preventable.

Lane Departure Warning (LDW) is exactly what it sounds like - it is the car warning you when you are veering out of your lane.

 

The type of warning varies - it can be a flashing light, a beep, a vibration of the steering wheel, a visual display on the instrument panel, or even a vibration or tightening of your seat belt.

Lane Departure Warning

↓11% Single-vehicle, sideswipe and head-on crashes

↓21% Injury crashes of the same types

Lane Departure Warning, as shown from the IIHS data above, has proven itself effective in reducing the number of crashes that occur as well as in preventing injuries when the crash wasn't avoidable.

Watch & Learn More about Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, and Lane Centering

Lane Departure Warning & Lane Keeping Assist - Test Drive in VR 360
Are lane departure warning systems effective?
Lane departure warning and prevention
Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping  Assist - With Rick & Scout
Lane Departure Warning (LDW) - Quick Guide Animation
Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)- Quick Guide Animation

Blind Spot Detection

Key Take Away Point: You want a vehicle with Blind Spot Detection as it is proven effective in both preventing lane-change crashes and decreasing injury when the crash was not preventable.

Blind spot detection

↓14% Lane-change crashes

↓23% Lane-change crashes with injuries

↓9% Claim rates for damage to other vehicles

↓12% Claim rates for injuries to people in other vehicles

As you can see from the above IIHS data, blind spot detection is an effective safety feature at reducing the number of crashes and injuries within the crashes that still occur.

Watch & Learn more about Blind Spot Detection

Blind Spot Monitoring - Just move your head or your mouse to see traffic on all sides
Blind Spot Monitoring and Sideview Camera – With Rick & Scout
Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) - Quick Guide Animation
Sideview Camera - Quick Guide Animation
Blind spot detection

Drowsy Driver Detection

Key Take Away Point: Drowsy driving kills thousands and injures tens of thousands in the US every year. Do your part to ensure you aren't driving drowsy - and look for a vehicle that might be able to warn you if you are losing attention due to fatigue.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013. However, these numbers are underestimated and up to 6,000 fatal crashes each year may be caused by drowsy drivers.

Drowsy Driver Detection systems do exactly what they sound like - they detect when the driver is drowsy and then offer a warning. How does it sense drowsiness? Some systems borrow from lane departure warning systems and monitor how much you are drifting out of your lane - as it is assumed that an alert driver will stay in their lane. Other systems learn your driving patterns while fully alert and then warn you if they sense that your driving is slower or erratic. Other systems use facial recognition technology to detect the eyelid droop & head bobs to tell if you are starting to fall asleep.  Early studies suggest that drowsy driver detection technology will help prevent crashes - but a warning is only as effective as the driver's response to it. Specifically - does the driver find a spot to pull over and take a nap or change drivers - or does the driver ignore the warning and continue driving drowsy?

Learn the warning signs of drowsy driving

  • Yawning or blinking frequently
  • Difficulty remembering the past few miles driven
  • Missing your exit
  • Drifting from your lane
  • Hitting a rumble strip on the side of the road

If you experience any of these warnings signs, pull over to rest or change drivers. Opening the window or turning up the radio are not effective ways to keep you alert. For more warning signs visit American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Watch & Learn more about Drowsy Driver Detection

Drowsiness Alert - Does my car really know if I'm drowsy? Take a VR 360 test drive.
CNET On Cars - Smarter driver: Drowsy-driving tech
Drowsiness Alert - With Rick and Scout
Drowsiness Alert - Quick Guide Animation

Drowsy Driver Detection - on MyCarDoesWhat.org

Pedestrian & Bicycle Detection

Key Take Away Point: Pedestrians account for at least 1/6th of all fatalities on our roads - and they die because vehicles drive head on into them, or backover them. Technology in vehicles that enhances the driver's view (like back-up cameras) and brakes for the driver (autobrake) can help prevent these tragedies.

In 2015, 5,376 pedestrians were killed and at least 70,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes on public roadways in the United States.

Pedestrians can get hit in 2 different ways - the front of the car crashes into them, or the car backs into or over them.

Frontal crashes: Pedestrian detection systems look for pedestrians in front of the car and warn the driver if a crash is likely. Some systems will also apply the brakes to further help prevent hitting the pedestrian. The majority of pedestrian deaths happen at high speeds or in low light situations - and some pedestrian detection systems are only for low speeds and require good lighting, which obviously reduces the system's effectiveness. An IIHS analysis of 2005-2009 crash data "estimated that such pedestrian detection systems could potentially mitigate or prevent up to 65 percent of single-vehicle crashes with pedestrians in the three most common crash configurations and 58 percent of pedestrian deaths in these crashes.7"

Backover crashes: There are several technologies that can help prevent back-over crashes - which is where the driver backs into (and worst case scenario runs over) a pedestrian. Rearview cameras and park assist systems can help prevent backover crashes by letting the driver see what is behind the car that can't be seen in the rear or side mirrors. The best technology is rear autobrake which applies the brakes if the driver is backing up into something - a pole, a car, or a person.

Watch & Learn more about Pedestrian & Bicycle Detection

Your Car is Talking, Are You Listening? Pedestrian & Bicycle Detection - With Rick & Scout
Backup Camera Monitoring - in VR 360 - move your head or your mouse to see your surroundings.
An Extra Set of Eyes!  Backup Cameras may help save lives.

Parking Sensors

Parking sensors alert you to the position of objects around your car as you park - using cameras, sensors, and/or tones. Some even include lines that appear in your back-up camera. These sensors can help you avoid objects that are both in front of and behind your vehicle.

Watch & Learn more about Parking Sensors

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fifh8SuIZKU

Parking Sensors - at MyCarDoesWhat.org

Rear Cross-Traffic Alert

Key Take Away Point: Rear Cross-Traffic Alert systems are effective at reducing crashes that occur while backing up.

Rear Cross-Traffic Alert systems can detect cars that might be crossing as you back up - but may not detect pedestrians or cars behind you when parking spaces are angled. These alerts have been shown to reduce backing crashes by 22%. Rear Cross-Traffic Alert is an enhanced feature found with some back-up camera systems.

Watch & Learn more about Rear Cross-Traffic Alert

Rear Cross Traffic Alert - Quick Guide Animation
Back-up Camera, Back-up Warning & more with Rick & Scout
Back-up Camera – Quick Guide
Back-up Warning - Quick Guide Animation
An Extra Set of Eyes!  Backup Cameras may help save lives.

Rear Cross-Traffic Alert - at MyCarDoesWhat.org

Deeper Learning about Rear Cross Traffic Alerts

2 Responses to “Buying a Safer Car”

  1. Dee says:

    Help! I was planning to purchase a toyota sequoia prior to moving my 4 year old forward facing so that she could be in the center seat position with rigid latch anchors and seatbelt for her clek foonf. Now I am reading more about crash mitigation systems which sequoias only seem to have the blind spot alarm. Some of the other us based large SUVs seem to have more crash mitigation systems but only have 2 latch anchors on the center row instead of three like the sequoia. At this point we only have one child but since we may have more I liked the idea of three across with latch and tether. Also I cannot find any safety data on large SUVs at all. I am assuming larger (heavier) is safer based on death stats but I can’t find any actual ratings for large SUVs. Any help you could provide would be sincerely appreciated. What does the car seat lady drive? Thanks!

    • The largest SUVs are often not tested by IIHS or NHTSA – which means that we simply have no idea how well they perform… and since a bad rating from IIHS is often a really good motivator for a vehicle to improve their crash test performance, vehicles that are never tested don’t have this motivator for improvement. If you want 3 LATCH in a really safe vehicle, take a look at the Honda Odyssey with the 8 passenger option – it was a Top Safety Pick + from IIHS.

      What do we drive – Subarus with iDrive (their crash avoidance technology package).