What is the Safest Car to Drive?

Written by | Updated October 12, 2018

The safest vehicle is one that ranks high according to national crash testing organizations. In 2018, cars like the Subaru Forester and Mazda 3 scored high marks from both major testing agencies.

If you’ve ever felt confusion around how to pick the safest car available for your specific needs, you’re not alone. Luckily, we live in an era where seat belts and airbags are standard, and automatic emergency braking and other accident avoidance features are becoming more common. This makes cars safer than ever before.

Keep reading to learn more about car safety testing so you can find the safest car for you and your family.

Who Tests the Safety of Cars?

There are two main organizations that do safety testing: the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Both groups provide vehicle safety crash testing for the benefit of consumers.

In addition to testing different crashes and scenarios, both the IIHS and the NHTSA make note of features like forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking.

Why Are Both Organizations Important in Determining Safety?

Each of these organizations tests different safety features on cars. That’s why when you are buying a car, it’s important to look at ratings from both the IIHS and the NHTSA. By choosing a car that ranks high on both scales, you’re ensuring that you get a vehicle that has been thoroughly vetted in multiple ways.

What Is the Safest Car to Drive in 2018?

When you take the scores from both safety rating organizations, you can find the safest cars. Here are some of the highest-rated cars from 2018.

Small Cars: Chevrolet Volt, Hyundai Elantra, Mazda 3, Toyota Corolla

Midsize Cars: Volkswagen Jetta, Subaru Outback, Nissan Altima

Small SUVs: Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester

Van/Minivan: Chrysler Pacifica

Truck: Honda Ridgeline

Luxury: Genesis G80

If you still can’t decide between your favorite makes and models, you can always look at side-by-side ratings with the NHTSA’s comparison tool.

When it comes to picking a safe car, you have several options. Your decision will often depend on what type of car you want, what make and model appeal to you, and which of your favorite cars has a five-star rating from the NHTSA as well as a top rating from the IIHS.

Once you’ve picked a safe new vehicle, you can make it even safer by adding a few new safety features like an alarm or dash cam. Check out our guide to dashboard cameras to learn more.