Do you research safety ratings when you buy a new car? Our poll results

September 22, 2016

Depending on your point of view, the internet can be an information superhighway, or it can be the express lane into the dark, bottomless, timesucking hole of Facebook. Based on some responses to a recent Twitter poll, we have a hunch about which camp our readers belong to.

Earlier this week, we asked our followers whether or not they researched safety ratings when shopping for a new car. It's an interesting question because many consumers seem to focus on "proactive" auto elements--features that benefit drivers every day and allow you to do certain things. Infotainment systems, for example, allow you to sync your smartphone to your car. Certain powertrains help you save money at the pump or drive a little faster to work.

But safety features like airbags and automated emergency braking are reactive: you only use them when trouble arises. And so, we wondered, would consumers value those features less because they don't use them on a daily basis?

Apparently not:

As you can see, well over half of you review all the safety ratings you can find, including those from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and any others that might pop up.

Another ten percent pore over ads from automakers to learn more about the safety ratings of particular cars--which is good, though not quite as good as doing a deeper dive.

As for the 13 percent who said that safety is key but they don't do research, that response seems a bit of a contradiction. If it's key, why wouldn't you want to know more about it?

And to the 20 percent who said that they don't explore safety ratings because all cars are safe these days...well, you might want to look up the word "ratings". The very fact that ratings exist means that some cars are safer than others. And with upwards of 30,000 people dying on U.S. roads each year, do you really want to make assumptions?

If you responded to the poll and want to explain your answer more fully, feel free to do so in the comments below. If you missed it and want to make your opinion known, by all means do that, too.

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