The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently published its 2019 list of the safest cars. The list this year contains 30 vehicles qualifying for the Top Safety Pick Plus award, compared to just 15 in 2018. Another 27 vehicles were designated as Top Safety Picks, which were also rated high, except for lower scores on a passenger-side small overlap test and headlight tests.

The IIHS president said that carmakers have sought to improve how well their vehicles protect their passengers from being injured in a wreck. The Director of Auto Testing for Consumer Reports (CR) stated that for car buyers, safety features are a priority. According to CR data, 86 percent of these buyers are concerned with crash protection, and 65 percent reported that crash avoidance capability was important.

Test Components
To receive a Top Safety Pick Plus designation, the cars must rate well in small and moderate overlap front crash testing, side crash testing, head restraint, and roof strength. Most of these are for drivers as well as passengers. Each of the 57 models tested did well in crash testing evaluations and automatic emergency braking. IIHS also evaluated the cars’ passenger-side protection capability and overall headlight performance. The Director of Operations at Consumer Report’s Auto Test Center explained that headlights are particularly important, since so many accidents happen when it is dark.

The Top-Rated Vehicles
Subaru received the most accolades, with seven vehicles making the list, including the Ascent, Crosstrek, two Impreza models, Legacy, Outback, and the WRX. Hyundai Motor Company came in second with models including the Hyundai Elantra, Santa Fe, Kona, and Sonata, the Kia Niro, Forte, Optima, and Sorento, and the Genesis G70, G80, and G90. The Mercedes-Benz E-class, GLC, and GLE-Class models placed in several luxury vehicle categories, as did the Acura RDX, Lexus ES, and the BMW X3 and 5 Series.

Other companies still needed to improve their vehicles’ safety levels, especially regarding improved safety guidelines, better headlights, and passenger crash protection. Auto brands that did not receive recognition are Ford and its Lincoln brand, Fiat Chrysler’s Dodge, Jeep, and Ram brands, Tesla, and General Motors’ Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC brands.

Safe and Affordable
Car buyers must be able to find automobiles that have good safety features. This should be available in all price ranges, from small, inexpensive cars to luxury vehicles. The group strengthens its testing criteria every year to help encourage auto manufacturers to improve overall vehicle safety. IIHS is planning to run an additional test next year, which will focus on emergency braking systems that can sense nearby pedestrians. Testing will be started on small SUVs.

Improved auto technology and testing makes the roads safer, but driver error and other conditions still cause traffic accidents. Buying a high safety-rated car is the right move but practicing cautious driving should always be a priority.

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William L. Smith II

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William L. Smith II

Licensed since 1984

Member at firm Chappell, Smith & Arden, P.A.

AWARDS

AV Preeminent
Champion Badge Silver

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