The Safest Cars for Your Next Road Trip

Buying a car before your next road trip? You'll need tips on finding the safest cars. There's plenty of information online about frontal and side impact tests, braking distance, and overall reliability. We'd also like to give you a few pointers on narrowing down your options.

Creating Your "Safest Cars" List

As you may have noticed, we at Road Trip Ready are compulsive list-makers. Any time we've shopped for a new car, we've begun by making a list of the vehicles that meet our criteria for size, style, reliability, fuel efficiency, and price range.

That may seem like really obvious advice, but it's not. So often, people get hung up on car safety and start their research by finding a list of possibilities. They then have to waste a lot of time sifting through that list to find the handful of vehicles that meet their needs in other categories.

Keep in mind also that compared to the vehicles of yesteryear, today's cars are built to sacrifice themselves while protecting the passengers. It used to be that cars would survive crashes with only minor damage, but the drivers would suffer whiplash and concussions. Today's cars tend to crumple on impact, absorbing the force of a collision so that you can walk away relatively unscathed. 

This is not to say that you should ignore car safety ratings and just buy the coolest car you can afford. But do rest assured that even a car with a middle-of-the-pack safety rating today will probably keep you much safer than the typical car of, say, the 1980s.

Car Safety Resources for You

Of course, car safety is about much more than just buying the model with the highest crash test ratings. Here's some information to help you make the best overall decision as you continue to shop.

Car safety rating. Get clear, concise information about the safety performance of specific makes and models.

Safest car color. The best color is the one that allows you to be seen in the widest variety of driving conditions. Here's how to find it.

Buy a new car online. Want to use the web to help you find your safe road trip car? Here are three reasons why it could work for you - and four myths you'll want to ignore.

Mazda 5. We're biased in favor of this multipurpose vehicle from Mazda, because it's what we drove on our epic road trip. But we do believe it's one of the safest cars out there.

Car makers have made tremendous strides in overall safety in recent years - and the cheap "death trap" models of the 1970s are a distant memory. But spend some time with car safety ratings before you make your final decision.

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