What Does It Mean to be an IIHS Top Safety Pick?

Headlights in the rain

When most people start shopping around for a new car, they have a mental list of what makes a car worthy of their investment. One of the major factors that can make or break a purchase is a vehicle’s safety.

This is why every year the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or the IIHS, tests and ranks over 20 models of new vehicles from all the major manufacturers.


But what does it mean to be an IIHS Top Safety Pick?


The IIHS has five crashworthiness tests to measure how well a vehicle performs during a crash: frontal crash tests, side crash tests, roof strength test, head restraints & seats test, front crash prevention tests, plus the headlight and LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) evaluations. They monitor the crash tests closely, and use crash test dummies to replicate how regular people would fare in different crash scenarios, these dummies range in size from the average American male driver to infants. According to the IIHS website, vehicles that have been given the Top Safety Pick approval give owners a 67% greater chance of surviving a collision over a vehicle with a moderate to poor safety rating.


For 2017 model year cars, only 38 vehicles received the coveted IIHS Top Safety Pick+ title. According to IIHS president Adrian Lund, “To qualify for 2017 Top Safety Pick+, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the five crashworthiness tests – small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints – an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention and an acceptable or good headlight rating.”


Why were so few given the top safety title?


Headlights were mainly to blame. This is the first year the institute has tested vehicles with their new, stricter headlight requirements, but, knowing that auto manufacturers want to have high safety ratings, they are confident that they will improve the quality over the next few years.

We think the IIHS plays an important role in keeping automakers accountable for the safety of the vehicles they produce, and anyone thinking of purchasing a car in the near future should weigh their ratings into his or her final decision. A fancy looking car may be fun, but you’ll be grateful for making a safety conscious choice should you get into an accident.

Do you think these increasing safety standards make auto-makers raise the bar for the cars they manufacture? Is safety a major issue for you when you purchase a new car? Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page!

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