Safe vehicles

Safe Vehicles

With vehicle age and relative safety being one of the key contributors to road fatalities, safe vehicle choices can have a significant effect on your survivability in a crash. Today’s vehicles can even help avoid a crash in the first place.

A ‘mistake’ on the road – whether it be yours or someone else’s – can be fatal, so making a safer choice when buying or riding in a vehicle could mean the difference between life and death.

When it comes to safety, not all cars are equal. Some safety features like front airbags come standard in most new vehicles, but other technologies don't. Important safety features to look out for in both new and used cars include:

  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Side Curtain Airbags
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking


Used Car Safety Ratings

The Used Car Safety Ratings brochure helps identify safer models among second-hand vehicles. 

The more stars, the safer the vehicle. 

Safety ratings are provided for used vehicles based on over 9 million vehicles involved in police-reported road crashes. 

The vehicle’s size and weight, design, and safety features, such as airbags and types of seatbelts, are all taken into account.

The 2023 ratings provide a score on Overall Safety, which is broken down into three separate components:  

  • Driver Safety - how well the vehicle protects its driver from being killed or seriously injured in a crash
  • Other Road User Safety - how well the vehicle protects other drivers, pedestrians, bicycle riders and motorcyclists from being killed or seriously injured in a crash
  • Crash Avoidance – how well the vehicle’s key crash avoidance technologies reduce the likelihood of being involved in a crash

The brochure also highlights 'Safer Picks'. These are vehicles that have achieved the maximum five-star occupant safety rating and are also fitted with key crash-avoidance technologies, such as Autonomous Emergency Braking and Lane Departure Warning. A 'Safer Pick' vehicle provides excellent driver protection and causes less serious injury to other road users in a crash.

Research by Monash University shows that you are ten times more likely to be killed or seriously injured driving the worst rated vehicle, than in the safest vehicle. 


ANCAP Safety Ratings

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) is Australasia's independent vehicle safety advocate.

ANCAP provides Australian and New Zealand consumers with independent vehicle safety ratings on new light vehicle models. ANCAP provides consumers with transparent advice and information on the level of occupant and pedestrian protection provided by different vehicle models in the most common types of crashes, as well as their ability - through technology - to avoid a crash.

The more stars, the better the vehicle performed in ANCAP tests. To achieve the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating, a vehicle must meet the highest standards in all tests and feature advanced safety assist technologies.

How safe is your car?

How safe is your car? helps car buyers find the safest car in their price range. It includes both ANCAP and Used Car Safety Ratings vehicles. Younger drivers face many challenges when learning the complex skill of driving and face a high risk of being involved in a crash. Despite making up only about 15 per cent of all licence holders, the crashes which involve younger drivers (aged under 26 years) account almost a quarter of annual road fatalities*. Many drivers don’t realise the difference a 5 star rated car can make in saving a life. All road users are encouraged to choose the safest vehicle within their price range.

P1 and P2 drivers are banned from driving high performance vehicles. Find out more on our P1/P2 vehicle search.

*Over the five year period 2015 to 2019p

Vehicle Safety Features

Newer vehicles provide increased protection in a crash and include a range of advanced safety features and technologies which can help you avoid or reduce the severity of a crash. Here are some of the vehicle safety features you should look out for when purchasing a used or new vehicle. These safety features may not be included in many used vehicles, especially older models, so it is important to check if you’re looking to purchase. Some vehicle safety features can also be added to older vehicles to improve their safety. Check with your car manufacturer or mechanic.


Autonomous Emergency Braking


Forward Collision Warning


Anti-lock Braking System


Blind Spot Monitoring


Electronic Stability Control




Lane Departure Warning


Lane Keep Assist


Reversing cameras and parking sensors