View of car backup camera console

Who determines whether a car is safe or not? Researchers do the work so you don’t have to find out the hard way how your vehicle will perform in a collision.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) are two organizations that conduct rigorous testing and evaluations of vehicles on the road today. The data they compile can help drivers choose safer cars, and keep car manufacturers accountable.

How Cars are Tested for Safety

The NHTSA has a 5-Star Safety Ratings Program to test cars. Factors they gauge include:

  • Frontal Crash Tests
  • Side Barrier Crash Tests
  • Side Pole Crash Tests
  • Rollover Resistance Tests

These tests are conducted with various speeds, road conditions, and passenger scenarios. Comparisons are made between vehicles of comparable sizes, with all crash test dummies properly belted. The IIHS rates vehicles on crashworthiness and crash avoidance. They look at not only how well a car does in the event of a crash, but how its technology and safety features prevent collisions or reduce collision damage. 

Investing in a highly-rated vehicle may be a bit of an initial expense upfront, but you could save time and money scheduling Bountiful car repairs in the long run.

What Makes a Car Safe for Teen Drivers?

Long gone are the days of piling onto bench seats in a vehicle with nary a seatbelt in sight. These days there are not only lap belts, but shoulder belts and additional anchors for children’s car seats.

Besides seat belts, what else makes a car safer for teen drivers? New cars offer a lot of safety features that can help you breathe a little easier when your teen is behind the wheel, even if you’re still white-knuckling the grab handle above your window.

Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

Cars manufactured after 2012 are required to have electronic stability control. This feature assists with steering and braking when road conditions deteriorate, or the road is curvy. 


Help your teen driver have more confidence by purchasing a vehicle with a backup camera or having one installed. While it’s no substitute for physically turning to look in one’s blind spot, a rear-view camera is a great assist for any driver. Additionally, blind-spot monitors can let a driver know if they’re about to change lanes when something is in the way.

Automatic Braking System (ABS)

Some vehicles use video, lasers, and radar to detect if you’re too close to another object on the road. The ABS will alert the driver of potential hazards and automatically slow the vehicle or even bring it to a complete stop.

Collision Warning

If you can’t be in the car to call out when you think your teen driver is getting a little too close to the car ahead, you can invest in a vehicle with collision warning. This system can alert the driver of potential impact and hopefully provide enough time for them to slow down and stop.

Lane Monitoring

Similar to ABS, lane monitoring systems implement the use of video, infrared sensors, or lasers to monitor a vehicle’s lane position. If a driver veers too far to one side or another and crosses the line, the system will warn him/her.

Adaptive Lighting

Vehicles these days have better headlights than ever before. Not only can some follow the curves of the road, but they can lower the beams when passing oncoming vehicles. This can create a better driving environment for everyone on the road.


While there is no substitute for learning how to drive in a safe environment with involved instructors and parents, there are cell phone apps that can help. No, an app can’t teach your teen to be a better driver, but it can reinforce good driving habits. When installed on your teen’s cell phone, these apps can monitor driving speed, cell phone use while driving, location monitoring, and more. Check out the following and see if one is right for you.

Top Safety Picks for New Drivers

Used or new, Master Muffler found the following vehicles to be ranked as some of the safest for new drivers.

  • Mazda 3 (sedan or hatchback)
  • Toyota Prius
  • Subaru Crosstrek
  • Honda Accord sedan
  • Volkswagen Jetta
  • Honda CR-V
  • Hyundai Kona
  • Nissan Murano
  • Honda Odyssey

Always ask for vehicle history if you’re purchasing a previously-owned car so you know what kind of damage it has sustained, and what car repair it has undergone. Collisions can reduce the effectiveness of safety features that you’re counting on to keep your driver safe.

Our Bountiful car repair team is familiar with many of these makes and models. So If your teen does get into a fender bender, we can help.

Top Safety Picks for Family

In family-friendly vehicles, you want to look for airbags in all the right places, seats that can safely fit multiple infant carriers, five-point harnesses or booster seats, and so much more. You want a vehicle that responds well to defensive driving and can help you stay alert to potential hazards. You may no longer have the anxiety of a new driver, but you have the responsibility to safely transport a whole lot of precious cargo. Here are some vehicles that include features such as dynamic stability control, stain-resistant fabric, side-curtain airbags, and lots of cargo space.

Family-Friendly Sedans

  • Kia Optima SX
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Toyota Camry

Best Small and Mid-Size SUVs for Families

  • Acura RDX
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Kia Sorento
  • Subaru Ascent

Large SUVs Families Love

  • Chevrolet Traverse
  • Toyota Venza
  • Kia Telluride
  • Hyundai Tucson

For Bountiful car repair, whether it’s routine maintenance or new tires, we can help you get your car back on the road. Contact us HERE today.


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