Nobody wants to be involved in a car accident, but should it happen to you – how would your vehicle perform? There are 2 main sources of crash test information in the United States. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) whose mission is to “save lives, prevent injuries and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes, through education, research, safety standards and enforcement activity.” The primary difference between the testing methods of these two organizations is that the IIHS testing uses frontal offset crash testing, while NHTSA uses full-frontal crash testing. IIHS believes that their frontal offset crash testing is more “real world”, as the impact is concentrated on one side of a vehicle’s front end. And they’re right – statistically, few accidents happen the way the NHTSA tests – with a head-on full-frontal collision. However the test results from these two organizations truly complement one another, and consumers should consider safety data from both when evaluating a vehicle’s safety. Vehicle crash test ratings from IIHS can be found on their website, and NHTSA crash test results can be found on the website. For more information about the recently released IIHS Top Safety Pick award winners and some surprises, please read our related article.


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