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Is the car you are about to buy really safe - Check before you pay


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Before buying a car, there are several safety checks that you can to ensure that you get the best deal and avoid car accidents.

Don't be caught out - make a list of safety checks and ensure the dealership you are buying from has carried out their own safety procedures. If you're buying a used car, get your own safety check from the AA or RAC.

Reliability Index Visit the car dealership, collect information about the car, then go home and check the car against the Reliability Index ( before making a speedy purchase. You can view the top 100 most reliable cars on the Reliability Index and look at the very latest car trends. Vehicles are reviewed according to car accident test studies and given a star rating (e.g. five stars if they are particularly secure).

Insurance-industry crash-test ratings The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) carries out its own safety car accident tests. The IIHS scores its results as good, acceptable, marginal or poor. Ratings for all vehicles can be found at

Electronic stability control (ESC) ESC is a term for systems designed to improve a vehicle's handling, particularly where the driver might lose control of the vehicle and it is at risk of tipping or flipping over.

Larger cars like SUVs and pickups are not necessarily safer as they are relatively top-heavy. Studies show that about half of the 28,000 fatal passenger vehicle accidents that occur every year involve a single vehicle and that equipping cars with ESC could reduce fatal crashes by more than half.

The EU community wants all vehicles to have ESC by 2012.

Head-protecting side impact airbags Airbags have proved to be essential and are now required in all passenger vehicles. Check whether the vehicle you want to buy has front-end airbags and side-impact airbags. If you are involved in a car accident, an airbag can literally save your life.

From the 2006 model year, all passenger cars and light-duty trucks must have sensors which identify children and small adults to deploy airbags with less force or not at all. Some carmakers are now designing airbags that change the force the airbag employs and also the size and shape of the airbag to accommodate smaller passengers and prevent unnecessary personal injury.

Anti-lock brake system (ABS) Car experts recommend getting an antilock brake system (ABS), which comes as standard on most vehicles. ABS prevents wheels from locking up, which can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.

New car or used car? A used car won't have as many safety features as a new car, so it's worth investing in a nearly new car if you can. Buying a used car may get you the most amount of vehicle for the least amount of money, but it won't save you from a car accident.

Many car dealerships run a series of safety checks on used cars before they sell them to make sure that they are in the best possible condition. A 136 point check can be read at

If you are not buying a used car through a dealership, consider the AA or RAC safety check services. The AA site is at and the RAC is at

Other safety features Other types of safety features include built-in child safety seats, seatbelts and anti-lock brakes which keep wheels from locking up and skidding out of control. When you take your test drive, check whether the seat belts are manual or automatic and whether there are air bags, anti-lock brakes and child safety locks.

Other safety checks you can make may not be immediately obvious. They include:

Visibility: Does any part of the car block your vision? Road handling: Does the car handle the road well or do you feel it might slip? Parking: Does the car manoeuvre into a parking space well and does the wheel turn easily? Steering: When your grip is relaxed, does the car drift? Noise: Listen to the engine - a noisy engine may indicate trouble Brakes: Check the brakes respond quickly Seatbelt alarms: You won't be able to not put your seatbelt on if an ear-splitting alarm goes off if you don't Remote entry: Does the car have remote keyless entry, allowing you to get into the car quickly and nobody else to get into the passenger side?

About the Author

Car Accident Advice Line helps people to claim compensation after they have been injured in a car accident that was not their fault. You can call us now on 0808 143 43 42

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-01-08 14:23:52 in Legal Articles

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