2015 IIHS Top Safety Picks

2016 Mazda 6 Small Overlap Crash Test
(Photo Credit: IIHS)

Cars keep getting safer and for 2015, the number of vehicles earning the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)’s Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ has increased from 39 to 71, indicating consumers now have more choices when shopping for a safe vehicle. According to this year’s report, Top Safety Pick+ standards were increased for many factors, driving auto manufacturers to improve vehicle performance in the new “small overlap front crash” test, as well as encouraging them to offer automatic forward-crash detection and autobrake systems on their cars.

The small overlap front crash test replicates what happens when the front corner of a car collides into another object, such as another vehicle, a tree, or utility pole. These types of crashes are very common and can be quite serious for occupants, as much of the energy-absorbing structure of the vehicle is bypassed in a small overlap. The IIHS and other organizations have been pushing manufacturers to look for solutions to overcome these vulnerabilities when designing their cars.

Historically, forward-crash detection/warning systems have been standard only on higher end vehicles. These systems are now being offered as an optional extra and sometimes even standard on more mainstream brands as the industry recognizes the benefits they can provide. The IIHS encourages manufacturers to go even further, with autobrake systems that don’t require a driver response in order to apply the vehicle’s brakes if the system detects an imminent collision. These systems can help avoid or mitigate the effects of crashes even if the driver isn’t paying attention to the road.

For more information on the IIHS’s report on their 2015 Top Safety Pick+ and Top Safety Pick winners, click here.