IIHS explains what customers should seek in car safety

Published: February 22, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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A new report by the Globe and Mail delves into the inner workings of the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway (IIHS), which give the newspaper some key points on what consumers should look for in a safe car.

The IIHS tests vehicles to ensure they meet U.S. regulatory guidelines for safety. In a demonstration to the Globe and Mail, the institute tested a Subaru Impreza by slamming it into a barrier at 64 km/h.

“We exist to reduce injuries, fatalities and losses from crashes that occur on roadways,” says Raul Arbelaez, vice-president of vehicle research at the IIHS.

Contrary to perception, the IIHS is not a division of the U.S. government, but it funded by 90 percent of insurance companies in the United States, and even some in Canada. In the report, Arbeleaz gives advice on what customers can look for when deciding if a car is up to safety standards.

Naturally, a vehicle that has performed well on front, side, and rear impacts and rollover tests is a good bet. Other key features include collision avoidance systems. Arbeleaz also explains how a car crumples and handles force:

“At the beginning of the crash, what we get is the barrier loading the front bumper and a lot of those forces are then transferred directly to the front longitudinal structure that surrounds the engine compartment,” Arbelaez says. “Then we start pushing directly into the wheel and steering components, which then push directly into the occupant compartment … Hopefully, if the vehicle structure is strong enough, it can resist some of those forces.”

SOURCE: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/news/industry-news/what-makes-a-car-safe-in-a-crash-and-what-you-should-look-for/article34096899/