Do crash test ratings actually help identify which vehicles are safer?

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Car companies often use their crash test ratings as a selling point. If the vehicle is rated very highly, manufacturers and dealers try to promote it on the basis that it will help keep you safe when someone else hits you. You can’t always prevent an accident, but you can be safer.

But do these ratings actually mean anything? If you got into an accident in the highest-rated vehicle, would you be safer than in the lowest-rated vehicle?

Not all stars are the same, and most vehicles rate highly

It’s not that they don’t matter, but they can be deceptive. For instance, did you know that the number of stars a vehicle gets is only relevant for that type of vehicle, not for all of them? For instance, a sedan and an SUV could both get five stars. That doesn’t mean they offer you the same level of safety, as they’re in different weight classes. Heavier, taller vehicles tend to be safer.

Another potential complication is that all vehicles tend to rate well. Some reports claim that 96% of all vehicles from the last decade have been given one of the top two ratings. So, while you are technically deciding between vehicles with five different rating options, you really don’t have as many choices as you think. Is the “safest” car actually that much better than your other option if there are only two levels that you’re choosing between?

You can get injured in any vehicle

Finally, no matter what rating your vehicle gets, you can get injured in an accident that another driver causes. If you do, be sure you know how to seek compensation for your medical bills and other costs. Learning more about your legal options is always to your advantage.


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