Karl Newman, President
Darrin Sanger, Communications Director
NW Insurance Council
Phone: (206) 624-3330
Fax: (206) 624-1975
Shopping for a car? Think safety & insurance first
SEATTLE - Not all cars are the same, so it's no surprise that some cars
are safer than others. While shopping for a car, it's important to carefully
examine its safety features the cost to insure it before signing on the
Though all new vehicles must meet minimum federal safety standards, occupant
injuries and vehicle damage vary widely in crashes, making some cars dramatically
safer than others.
"Vehicles built more durably and equipped with more safety features may
cost more, but a safer car also can save your life," said Karl Newman,
NW Insurance Council president. "And discounts due to safety features such as anti-lock
brakes often save you money on your auto insurance policy."
Here is a list of safety features you should consider when shopping for
- Structural design - A good structural design has a strong
occupant compartment, also known as the "safety cage." Front and rear
ends are also designed to buckle and bend in a crash to absorb the
force of a crash. These "crush zones" should keep damage away from
the safety cage.
- Crashworthiness - Vehicles that perform well in crash tests
have a reduced risk of death and serious injury when a crash occurs.
To review a rating of crashworthiness by vehicle make and model, check
the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's website at http://www.highwaysafety.org.
- Size and weight - Larger and heavier vehicles are safer than
lighter and smaller ones. Small vehicles have tNW Insurance Councile as many occupant
deaths each year as compared to larger vehicles.
- Restraint systems - Seat belts, airbags and head restraints
all work collectively with a vehicle's structure to protect people
in serious crashes. Lap and shoulder belts hold you in place. Side
airbags protect your chest. They are also designed to prevent your
head from hitting interior or intruding objects.
- Head restraints are designed to keep your head from snapping
back and injuring your neck during a collision. Look for cars with
locking head restraints that are close and directly behind the back
of the head.
- Anti-lock brakes - Conventional brakes can lock and cause
skidding and lack of control for the driver. Anti-lock brakes prevent
lockup and allow you to keep the car under control. Anti-lock brakes
may help control steering, but they may not help you stop more quickly.
- Daytime running lights - These are generally high-beam headlights
at reduced intensity or low-beam headlights at full or reduced power.
- Daytime running lights help increase contrast between vehicles
and backgrounds, making vehicles more visible and reducing the risks
of daytime accidents.
To find out what kinds of insurance discounts you can receive based on
safety features, contact your insurance agent or company. For more information
on shopping for safer vehicles, contact NW Insurance Council at (800) 664-4942 or visit
http://www.NW Insurance Councilonline.org.
The NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, consumer education organization
funded by member insurance companies.