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How to Evaluate A Used Vehicle’s Crashworthiness

Posted on January 28th, 2014

miami 8In November 2013, Business Insider did a feature on the best-selling vehicles in the United States. The website showed a map that represented the top sellers in every state, and the map showed that in most states, the Ford F-Series were the favorite.

Arizona was one of the thirty states where Ford F-Series ranked number one.In Arizona’s capital and largest city, the people’s love for pickup trucks is apparent. Used pickup trucks in particular have high demand in Phoenix.

If you were planning on getting a pre-owned pickup of your own, be sure to choose wisely. Your safety on the road depends mostly on your choice of vehicle, and safety must be a crucial consideration in a city where car crashes are common. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) suggests that you evaluate the crashworthiness of your pre-owned ride based on the following:


Frontal and side crashworthiness

In most accidents, it is the vehicle’s front-end zone that receives the impact. Frontal crashes are common and often fatal. If you were to choose a vehicle, make sure it has good ratings in frontal tests. In the event of a serious frontal crash, the driver of the vehicle with a good rating in frontal tests is more likely to survive.

Because not all crashes are frontal, you will also need protection for other types of crashes. Small overlap and oblique crashes can also be fatal. This is why it is important that the used vehicle you pick also have good ratings for side crashworthiness. If the truck you get was rated good in a side barrier test and you unfortunately found yourself involved in an side crash, you can take comfort in the fact that you are more likely to survive.

When it comes to side crashworthiness, side airbags play a key role. These have been proven to lower one’s fatality risk. Side airbags can help protect you in the event of a rollover. Hence, when you choose a car, try to get one with these airbags as a standard feature. Most 2008 models are equipped with these.


Seat/head restraints

In a rear-end collision, the driver could suffer from severe whiplash injuries. Such injuries can be reduced if the vehicle driven came with seat/head restraint combinations. Look for a used vehicle that has a good seat/head restraint rating. Also, regardless of the vehicle you choose, make sure the head restraint properly fits behind your head before driving.


Roof strength

Car buyers usually don’t choose used vehicles based on roof strength, but you should. A strong roof could save your life in a rollover crash because they do not crush too much. A weaker roof will not hold up as well, and therefore, cause you more harm. You can also check ratings to assess roof strength.



ESC stands for electronic stability control, an extension of antilock brake technology. What it does is assist drivers in maintaining control on slippery surfaces and curved roads. According to the IIHS, this feature—standard on 2012 models and present in some earlier ones—reduces fatal single-vehicle crash risk by half and fatal rollover risk by 80 percent.

Note: Find out which vehicles got good ratings by visiting the IIHS website. You can also visit safercar.gov, a website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), to view safety ratings of autos.

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