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How Safe is Your Car?

Written by Jared Staver

Read Jared's Bio

Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents


Whether you are driving around in a 10-year-old vehicle or you purchased a brand new car off the lot recently, you need to know how safe your car really is. You may have concentrated on your budget and aesthetics when you were shopping. However, ultimately, the safety of your vehicle is what prevents collisions and reduces your risk of being seriously injured in a crash.

If you are hit while in a car with a poor safety rating, you are more likely to suffer significant injuries, leading you to need an experienced car accident attorney from Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. to help you recover compensation. Call us today at (312) 236-2900.

Review Your Vehicle’s Safety Features

All vehicles come with seatbelts for all seats and airbags for at least the driver and front passenger. However, your vehicle may also come with additional safety features like extra airbags, collision warnings, brake assistance, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, a backup camera, and more. The intention of many of these features, like collision, lane departure, and pedestrian warnings, is to avoid collisions. The visual and audio alerts notify you of a hazard before you may have noticed it, enabling you to brake or remain in your lane. Other features are there to not only reduce the risk of an accident, but also to mitigate the damage in a crash. For instance, brake assist features will hit the brakes if you don’t, at least reducing the speed at which you collide with another vehicle, object, or person.

Check Out Your Vehicle’s Safety Rating

Every vehicle sold in the U.S. is repeatedly tested in a variety of scenarios to determine how safe it is for drivers and passengers. Do you know how well your vehicle will protect you in a crash? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests vehicles on:

  • Crash avoidance and mitigation: This includes safety features used to avoid a collision or reduce the damage of an accident. Headlights are tested and rated as poor, marginal, acceptable, or good. For vehicles with front crash prevention systems, the IIHS looks at the type of system and performance during track tests. These systems are rated basic, advanced, or superior.
  • Crashworthiness: This measures how well a vehicle protects the driver and passengers during an accident. The IIHS conducts five tests based on different types of accidents: small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints. Based on the outcome of these five collision tests, vehicles are rated as either poor, marginal, acceptable, or good.

You can find out how the IIHS rates your vehicle by going to www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings.

You can also take a look at the one to five-star rating for your vehicle determined by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA tests how well vehicles handle various kinds of accidents, such as in a frontal crash, side impact, front side pole crash, and rollovers. One star is the lowest rating and least safe vehicle. Five stars is the highest rating and safest vehicle. You can look up your vehicle’s federal safety rating by going to www.nhtsa.gov/ratings.

If you’re doing your research ahead of buying a new vehicle, check out both sites. The IIHS and NHTSA rate different features and types of accidents. Reviewing both ratings can give you the best understanding of a car.

Look up Recalls

Recalls are not superficial. If a manufacturer makes a public recall that requires a repair to your vehicle, it is because a defect poses a threat to your safety. While it can be difficult to keep up with the news regarding auto recalls, it does not hurt to periodically check on your vehicle. Go to www.nhtsa.gov/recalls and enter your vehicle identification number to learn if your vehicle is affected by a recall. However, this search is not 100 percent comprehensive. It may not pull up recent recalls or those that are more than 15 years old. It also won’t help if you have a vehicle purchased abroad or made by a small, specialty manufacturer.

Why Your Vehicle’s Safety Matters in an Accident

Your vehicle’s safety features, safety ratings, and recalls all matter when it comes to an accident. The reasons are obvious for the first two elements. The more safety features you have and the higher the safety rating, the greater likelihood that you and your passengers are kept safe during a crash. A front-end collision in a car with a poor safety rating could mean you suffer broken bones and a traumatic brain injury. The same collision in a vehicle with a superior safety rating could mean you walk away with bruises instead. This helps you avoid injuries, pain, and difficult personal injury claims.

The importance of a recall on your vehicle during an accident may be less obvious. If the defect related to the recall caused the accident, claims for injuries may have to be brought against the vehicle manufacturer or a parts manufacturer. However, if you knew about the recall and chose not to fix your vehicle, you could be held partly responsible for the collision.

Contact a Lawyer for Help

If you were injured in an accident, contact a personal injury lawyer from Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. right away. We can investigate the cause of your accident and gather evidence of the other driver’s fault. Once we have the support we need, we can seek the maximum compensation for your injuries through an insurance claim or personal injury suit. No matter the best route to recovery, we will help you obtain:

    • Medical expenses
    • Lost wages
    • Disability
    • Disfigurement
    • Pain and suffering

To learn more about how we can help, call us today at (312) 236-2900 and schedule an initial consultation.

Free Consultation
(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
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