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Do You Care About Safety Ratings?

Illustration for article titled Do You Care About Safety Ratings?

Automakers not only want you to survive a crash, they want the five-star rating so they can convince people to buy their cars. Does it work? Do you care about safety ratings?

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We're of two minds on this one. When it's a performance-oriented car we'll be driving we don't care. We'd rather drive like the wind and not be weighed down by too much safety equipment and, honestly, if you're buying a ZR1 or a Gallardo and you ask to see the safety ratings there's probably something wrong with you. On the other hand, if our wife/mom/kid/grandma/husband/lover/cousin is driving, we do care. Given the many variables in a crash it's hard to be for sure what will and will not save you. Is a car with a four-star side impact rating and a five-star front impact rating safer than a car with a five-star side impact rating and a four-star front impact rating? On the other hand, we're not letting anyone we love drive around in a Chinese car that barely passes the government or IIHS's ratings. But what say you?

(QOTD is your chance to answer the day's most pressing automotive questions and experience the opinions of the insightful insiders, practicing pundits and gleeful gearheads that make up the Jalopnik commentariat. If you've got a suggestion for a good "Question Of The Day" send an email to tips at jalopnik dot com.)

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Photo Credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

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DISCUSSION

I don't care much for the safety rating when I'm looking at cars, but it's the fact that people get complacent about their driving because they feel 'safe' in their 5-start vehicle that brings up some emotion in me. You'd never pull out your phone and start texting in a car you thought would kill you if you hit a small pebble. But texting at night doing 95 in the wet on a country lane with farm tractors doing 20 is OK because you have a 5-star safety rating and 300 air bags, ABS, TC, and blindspot monitoring. We spend loads of money to make the cars safer, but not on making the drivers safer. I'm not saying we shouldn't spend that money to make the cars safer. No, I'm saying that there are two problems to be solved and we are spending too much time, effort, and money on the one which offers the lowest rate of return.