Consumers can easily be confused regarding selection of vehicles for purposes of safety. Many times, consumers rely upon the “star ratings” from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However the “star ratings” do not provide the details consumers need for selecting a safe vehicle.
Vehicle safety is based largely on design attributes of a vehicle. For example, the stability of a vehicle is different from how the vehicle performs in an impact during a crash. Vehicle stability is considered “crash avoidance.” Occupant protection involves how the vehicle protects you in the event a crash.
So where should consumers look to determine a safe vehicle? A good source of information is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It provides pictures and short videos of crash tests undertaken by the institute of various vehicles.
Technical data and crash films are found on the Vehicle Database of NHTSA. It can be found here.
This is not a particularly user-friendly site. However, you can inquire by vehicle make, model, and year to see crash reports/films. For example, when looking up a 2018 Honda Pilot, you will find a number of photos pre-test and post-test. The following photos are pre- and post- testing for side-impact:
There will be test reports associated with every test. However, what information should consumers attempt to obtain from the photographs, films, and reports listed on this site? Understanding crash dynamics and how a vehicle will protect you and your loved ones in a crash is challenging. The devil is in the details. Remember that the entire crash sequence will be over in approximately 100 milliseconds, faster than the blink of an eye. Therefore, how the vehicle protects you in avoiding the collision or during the collision is critical.
In further posts, CKK will provide additional information regarding vehicle attributes consumers should look for to protect themselves.