I don’t remember how I first came across them but IIHS’ small overlap videos caught my attention.
You probably aren’t aware of IIHS if you live in the UK but they’re the America equivalent of Euro NCAP.
In their small overlap crash tests, the IIHS send cars at 40mph into a solid barrier. The car impacts the barrier with only a small percentage of its frontal area.
This is quite a brutal test but it has a purpose: a quarter of all road deaths are attributable to this type of crash.
So I thought about my three star Euro NCAP 2003 Fiesta and the hairy road I have to drive on to get out of this village and decided a more modern car was in order. In the end I bought something newer with a five star NCAP rating.
Question is: was it money well-spent?
Road deaths per billion kilometres (621,371,192.237 miles) travelled in the UK were 3.6 in 2013. I travel about 10,000 miles per year in my car. This means I have approximately a 1 in 17260.31 chance of being killed on the road each year (In an average car).
If my five star Euro NCAP car halves my risk of being killed versus the 2013 average (Generous estimate), I now have a 0.0029% chance of being killed in a year, versus a 0.0058% chance before the new car.
The new car cost me a fair chunk of my savings. Was it worth it, solely on the safety criteria? I think not but in our new risk-averse world, safety sells.