Car safety has come a long way in the last few decades. In 1983, wearing a seat belt became compulsory by law in the UK and saved an estimated 50,000 lives over the next twenty years. In fact, statistics show that there are around 1,000 fewer road-related fatalities than in 1999.
In 2000, the government aimed to reduce the number of people killed or serious injured in road accidents by 40% by implementing improved car design, better road engineering, and attempting to change driver behaviour. The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), founded in 1997, has also helped by publishing crash test data on nearly all new cars released onto the market today. This can be referenced when assessing the safety of cars on the used market.
How Does the Tests Work?
Euro NCAP crash tests include front, side, and pole impacts as well as impacts with pedestrians. Experts look at the systems that work to prevent a crash from happening, rather than protecting those involved during the crash. This includes technology like electronic stability control that improves a vehicle’s stability by detecting and reducing a loss of traction.
The Best Car for Personal Use
Regardless of class, the safest car in the UK is the Volvo V40. This is the only car to average over 90 per cent across all four categories, receiving a perfect score in safety assist and a further 98% in adult occupant protection. Every V40 has a City Safety system as standard that assists in reducing traffic accidents at speeds up to 19mph. This technology detects whether a collision is imminent and activates the car’s brakes if necessary to avoid a crash. The V40 also pioneered the world’s first pedestrian airbag that deploys from the bonnet upon impact.
The Best Car for Professional Use
The best car in the executive class was the BMW 5-Series, which received another perfect score in the safety assist category and beat the V40 in child safety with a score of 83%. BMW equips each model of the 5-Series with six airbags and stability control as standard, as well as offering further safety options including adaptive cruise control, a head-ups display, and lane departure warnings. You even have the option of upgrading to a night-vision package with headlamps that can automatically identify and highlight pedestrians with a separate beam of light.
Statistically, travelling on the road is likely the biggest risk you take on a daily basis. The best way you can stay safe is to educate yourself on the most common causes of road accidents.