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According to Alan Perrott starters’ guide to buying a safe car, most accidents are down to human error.

A Ministry of Transport report into vehicle accidents in 2012, says the biggest contribution from car design to collisions was blind spots. While it is possible that roading plays a part in the enormous number of accidents, human failings are more likely to blame.

  • 72 accidents were the results of drivers using the wrong pedals
  • 174 were down to smoking or adjusting radios
  • 89 people had accidents while emotionally upset
  • 122 were too busy chatting.

The total of all accidents that involved anything to do with brakes, lights, steering or windscreens was 102. Car manufacturers can do only so much.

However, if you want to pick a safe car, sites such as rightcar.govt.nz provide information on just about every vehicle type available in the country, along with pages of safety advice.

All cars come with some safety features, some of which are compulsory if you want to get a warrant of fitness. Others are extras that you can choose when you buy a car. A car with better safety features can reduce your risk of being in a crash and improve your chance of surviving one.

Cars' safety ratings are drawn from the efforts of the independent Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) and the Vehicle Safety Research Group. Ratings are also given for fuel economy, air pollution and carbon dioxide production.

The AA provides a similar, if less detailed, service in which they recommend some models and years as safe picks.

Source: NZ Herald

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