April 7, 2014

What Does a 5-Star Safety Rating Mean?

Most vehicles for sale today tout safety as a major selling point. Cars and trucks today are safer than they’ve ever been, but not every vehicle is made equal. If you’re concerned about safety while shopping at The KEY’s buy here, pay here car lot, you want to purchase a vehicle with a 5-star safety rating. But what does that rating really mean?

Car safety ratings are given by the National Highway Transport and Safety Administration (or NHTSA) to new cars and trucks sold in the United States. Each car that is tested is given a rating from one to five stars in three categories: front impact resistance, side impact resistance, and rollover resistance. Since 2011, cars have also been tested on a new side-impact pole test. The tests use crash-test dummies to determine how likely it would be for the vehicle’s occupants to be injured.

The star ratings are simple to break down. A score of 3 stars is “average,” meaning the people in the vehicle have an average chance of being injured in an accident. A score of one star means you have a much higher chance of being injured than average, and a score of 5 stars means you have a much lower chance of injury.

In 2011 the NHTSA also started giving cars an “overall” score that represents their general safety. They also made the crash test criteria more taxing, meaning vehicles from 2011 or beyond with a 5-star rating are safer than those with a 5-star rating from 2010 or before. This doesn’t mean that earlier vehicles are unsafe – just that more vehicles tested today are safer, which has changed the “average” chance of injury in an accident.

Many vehicles today also carry special accident avoidance technology that helps the driver keep the car under control or signals possible danger. These include Electronic Stability Control and Lane Departure Warnings. Many new vehicles sold today include these systems, so make sure you ask about them when shopping at our buy here, pay here car lot.

The KEY carries a number of vehicles with 5-star safety ratings, making them perfect for families and drivers with highway commutes. If you want to find the safest cars on the market but don’t have the credit to shop new, come to The KEY today! We’re Oklahoma City’s number one buy here, pay here car dealer, and we can get you into a late model used car with a stellar safety rating. Visit our car lot today, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates and special deals!


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