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Cars are an important part of modern society and yet they are also a very dangerous part of it, something which is easy to forget when flipping through Carcraft magazine. However, some are more dangerous than others. Choosing a safe car for your child to ride in is an important task for a parent and should be given its due consideration.

People tend to have their own opinions about which cars are safest based on personal experience. Many people believe that larger vehicles are safer including SUVs and minivans. While these vehicles make good options for large families, they are not the safest cars, statistically speaking.

The overall safest group of vehicles is large four-door sedans. Less prone to rollover issues than SUVs and big enough to hold their own on a the road, the traditional family car is often the safest option for a family. However, the class as a whole may be the safest but individuals vehicles within the class can still be more or less safe so it is important to choose carefully.

It is worth noting that modern SUVs are safer than older ones. Rollover accidents are the main reason why SUVs are not considered as safe as cars and electronic stability control systems can reduce one-vehicle rollover accidents by up to 77 percent. As of 2012, all new SUVs sold in the U.S. are equipped with electronic stability control systems.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provide most of the data on the safety of various cars. They use tests designed to assess the impact of a crash on various parts of the vehicle and on the dummies inside who stand in for the driver and passengers. Some of the assessments made by both groups are similar and some are different.

IIHS and NHTSA ratings can differ because of their slightly different tests. It is difficult for a car to score extremely well on both tests so a vehicle that has moderate ratings from one and high ratings from the other is probably a good, safe choice. The rare vehicle that does score highly on both tests is definitely a good safety pick.

Cars are compared against other vehicles in the size class to determine the final safety score. This means that larger vehicles with high safety scores are safer than smaller vehicles with high safety scores. Large sedans are, statistically speaking, the safest vehicles on the road. Interestingly, the same does not seem to hold true for SUVs which have similar rates of fatalities across all available sizes.

Bill Matheson. Brian is an avid car and car safety nut, he takes an active interest in industry activity through magazines and online publications such as Carcraft’s used car magazine.