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Safe cars - which is the world's safest car?

27 maaliskuu, 2022

Is there such a thing as a "safe car"? How much does it really matter which car you are sitting in if the accident were to happen? In fact, the risk of being involved in an accident is ten times higher in the least safe car than in those with the highest rating.

There is one car brand that dominates when it comes to safety in the event of an accident. When Folksam examined accident statistics from 184,000 Swedish traffic accidents between 1994 and 2020, 55 out of 383 car models were classified as "at least 40%safer than the average car". Of the seven safest cars in the survey, five come from Swedish Volvo .

What is the world's safest car?

In the list below, you will find the seven car models that ranked highest in the statistics. They have started from an average value, and then they list the cars according to how much lower the risk of being involved in an accident or serious injury is, compared to the average car.

1. Volvo S80/ V70 2010-2016 : 48% lower risk of death or injury.

2. Toyota RAV4 2015-2018 : 45% lower risk.

3. Mercedes E-Class 2015-2016 : 44% lower risk.

4. Volvo V40 2012-2019 : 43% lower risk.

5. Volvo S60 / V60 2010-2018: 42% lower risk.

6. Volvo S90/ V90 2016- : 41% lower risk.

7. Volvo XC60 2008-2017 : 41% lower risk.

See how safe your car is with Folksam.

Safe small car – does it exist?

Generally speaking, large cars are safer than small and mid-size cars. They are also generally safer the newer they are. But there are old cars that are over 40%safer than the average car, e.g. BMW 3 Series from 1998 and Mitsubishi Charisma from 1996.

But no rule without exception. A safe choice, according to the survey, among older small cars is the VW Golf from 2004-08. It is small and light, but is also 40%safer than the average car.

Which is the safest small car?

It is not easy to single out a specific small car as the safest. But we return to the survey's long list and sort out "smaller small cars". There we find 12 cars that are classified as Good Choice, which means that they received the highest rating in their investigation of accidents or in Euro NCAP's crash tests, as well as the highest rating for whiplash, anti-skid and autobrake as standard.

All are from 2017 or newer. Topping the list is the VW Polo model year 17 . Here are also among others:

There is thus no doubt that even small cars can be considered safe cars. But in the end, it is still you as the driver who is responsible. There is no car that is so safe that it cannot be crashed into.

What is Euro NCAP crash test?

Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme) is a collaboration between several European countries, including Sweden, car manufacturers and voluntary organisations. This road safety cooperation aims at a safer traffic environment and fewer injuries and deaths in traffic.

Euro NCAP tests have been around since 1997 and are today the most respected crash test and more or less regarded as the yardstick for car safety. It is voluntary for car manufacturers to test, but most do it anyway. A good test result often has a positive effect on car sales.

NCAP crash test on cars

In Euro NCAP's crash tests, ratings are given on how well adults, children and pedestrians are protected and which safety aids are available - for example driver support, cruise control, automatic braking and more. Tests with frontal impact as well as side impact and pole test are carried out.

This is how the tests are performed:

  • Frontal collision: The car drives into a fixed, deformable barrier at 64 km/h.

  • Side impact: A barrier is driven into the car from the side at 50 km/h.

  • Pole test: The car drives into a pole from the side at 29 km/h.

They also test how seriously a pedestrian is injured in connection with accidents. When the test is done, the results are compiled in the form of stars. The maximum number a car can receive is 5 stars.

Safety tests of cars are an important part of road safety work

The crash tests carried out by Euro NCAP are an important part of the work to improve safety on the roads. It is one of the main sources of information to the public about how well a car can withstand a crash. This gives consumers a good basis for choosing a car that is as safe as possible.

However, the crash tests are done on new cars. After the cars have been out in traffic for a few years, the picture is supplemented by Folksam's surveys, which show results and statistics on how safe the cars are in real accidents.

And the statistics clearly show how safety among cars has improved over the years. A comparison between cars launched in 1981-1990 and cars launched in 2011-2020 shows that the risk of dying in a car accident has decreased by 60-70 percent. The risk of being disabled has been halved.

Car safety over the years

The first cars that rolled out of the factories at the end of the 19th century were anything but safe cars to drive in. But since then, a lot has happened on the safety front. One of the most important inventions historically came in the 50s with the launch of the three-point seat belt. However, it would take until 1988 before there was a law on seat belts in Sweden. Another important milestone for automobile safety was the airbag, which was introduced in the United States in 1971.

It is said that 90% of all accidents are due to "distracted" drivers. It may be as it likes, but in modern times a lot of work has been done on so-called driver support systems. And the cars are becoming increasingly advanced and equipped with technical systems that assist the driver.

These systems do more than just warn and alarm. Some actively step in and adjust the speed, brake at obstacles ahead or keep the car in the right lane. There are even systems that slow the car down, pull to the side and stop, if you don't have your hands on the wheel – for example, if you were to nod off while driving. The system is found, for example, in the Ford Focus.

All clever inventions notwithstanding – snow, fog, rain, dirt and bad lane lines can affect the operation of any driver assistance system. So it is important not to trust them blindly. You are the one driving - even if there are "self-driving" cars.

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