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Any driver who is considering the purchase of a new or used vehicle can find a wealth of information about safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at the Safercar.gov home website.

It is easy to compare one vehicle make and model to another using the 5-Star Safety Ratings system developed by the NHTSA which measures such important safety features as rollover safety and how a particular vehicle performs during a crash test. Vehicles awarded five stars mean that they offer the best protection for the occupants in the event the car is involved in a crash with another vehicle. One star is the lowest rating awarded vehicles.

Consumers can compare crash test results and safety ratings compiled by the NHTSA in one of two categories: vehicles produced between 1990 and 2010, and vehicles produced in 2011 and later. If a driver wants a vehicle that has been rated the highest in safety, it’s important to look for vehicles that have been awarded 5-stars following the series of testing developed by the NHTSA. A lot of effort goes into the testing done on a sampling of the most popular automobiles, using crash test dummies that approximate the size and weight of the average male and average female driver and passenger.

In addition to comparing safety ratings and learning about the safety rating process, which became much more stringent starting in 2011, consumers can also learn important information about child safety restraints, air bags, passenger van safety, tires, and the latest safety technology making more and more vehicles a safer drive while on highways as well as local roads. Although a vehicle may enjoy a 5-star safety rating from the NHTSA, it’s still an important step when purchasing any vehicle to discuss your liability, collision and comprehensive insurance needs with a qualified insurance agent to ensure that your coverage amounts and policy features meet all of your needs.

Even driving a vehicle with the highest safety rating, you need adequate insurance to cover you and your passengers against the risk of encountering unskilled drivers and vehicles with marginal safety ratings while on the roads.