Ricochet News

Road safety: How do you know if a car is safe?

Feb 26, 2020
Road safety: How do you know if a car is safe?

East London - When it comes to buying a car whether it is new or pre-owned, there are certain factors that need to be taken into account to understand what makes a car safe.

Based on the vehicle’s appearance, you cannot judge that a given car is safe. Even if you think you have found the perfect car because it’s the right price, looks good and it’s the perfect size for what you need there are three equally important factors you may not have considered.

Safety equipment

Will your car’s safety and design features protect you and your passengers? Safety equipment should be made a high priority when choosing a car model. Modern vehicles are increasingly equipped with safety technologies that are designed to prevent a collision from occurring in the first place.

Cars’ safety features, such as stability control and reversing camera, can be compared in order to pick the safest vehicle. Even though these advanced safety features might drive insurance premiums up, when open a car insurance policy, look around since some car insurance companies offer discounts to customers for having these safety features.

Crash-test Ratings

The Global NCAP and the Automobile Association (AA) South Africa conducts crash tests on vehicles. The results of these tests provide a wide range of safety performance from four to zero stars for adult protection – with the lowest ratings resulting in a high probability of life-threatening injury in a road crash.

The Association has tested South Africa’s best selling cars’ safety - the VW Polo Vivo, Datsun Go+, Toyota Etios, Renault Sandero and Chery QQ3- and their performance results can be consulted on the webpage of the Association.


Beyond safety equipment and crash-test ratings, proper maintenance of the vehicle is necessary for optimum safety. Bald tires, broken lights, dirty windows, and fading brakes can all increase the likelihood for loss of control and a collision. All vehicles are subject to wear and tear and unless maintained at regular intervals, this wear and tear may result in unsafe vehicles and vehicle breakdowns.

Regular planned maintenance is critical to ensure that a car is roadworthy and safe when in use on the road.

Even though it's simple to focus on price or elegant design when shopping for a car, safety remains a core element which buyers should consider.

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