Is that car safe or not?

Safety is important in everything, especially when buying a car. Of course, we tend to focus first on the style, color, price and fuel economy ratings, but safety should be at the heart of our concerns when purchasing a new or pre-owned vehicle.


If you want to know if a given vehicle is safe or not, here are a few things to check.

Crash test results

Two US agencies, the IIHS and NHTSA, evaluate hundreds of vehicles each year to determine how safe they are. They will simulate frontal collisions, side collisions and partial collisions, while assessing the damage to the cabin and its occupants. The ratings also take into account various active safety systems which may be offered on a given model. The organizations then classify each vehicle compared to others in their segment. It’s never a bad idea to check out these results before finalizing your purchase.


If there is one device that we take for granted, it’s the airbag. Yes, all cars are equipped with them, but the way they work is not always the same nor is the number of airbags found in one car to the next. There are always front airbags as well as side airbags, but there are also airbags that protect your knees and head in certain models. Moreover, certain airbags are progressive meaning that they deploy at the appropriate speed for the force of the collision.

Active safety systems

These systems are designed to take control of the vehicle in a dangerous situation. Most cars will feature traction and stability control, but you can also find a host of more innovative technologies on certain if not most models on the market. These will usually be optional and include adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and lane keep assist, as well as automatic braking.

Thank you to Kentville Mazda for their help with this article.

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