Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Car safety guide

I have been a driver for nearly 15 years since I passed my test all those years ago when I was 17. Living in the countryside I was keen to pass my test as soon as possible so that I could give my mum a rest from being taxi and gain a little more independence. I worked hard to pay for my money to pay for lessons with a driving instructor and my theory and practical tests.

When I passed my test I could not wait to spend my hard earned money on a little car to call my own. All those years ago when buying cars along with making sure it was safe, mechanically secure and had MOT, my priorities were how the car looked, the car’s colour and whether it had a good stereo.

My first car was a lovely little Punto which served me well as a cheap, practical and reliable car. Whilst I loved the car and I did like how it looked, loved the colour - a deep red, and it had a smashing stereo installed it was not my dream car.

After countless hours searching online ads and specialised car groups I finally found my dream car - a Mexican VW Beetle. Being a mix of vintage and modern it was ideal for me. Having always loved vintage VW Beetles whilst looking for a classic Bug I learnt about Mexican VW Beetle cars. Styled and designed the same as classic Beetles with a few modern accessories and made in more recent years in the 1990’s and early 2000’s in Mexico with some imported to the UK, I knew that a Mexican VW was ideal for me.

Then I found the one. A beautiful blue 1.6 fuel injection 2001 Mexican VW Beetle. It had the classic sound of a VW Bug with the beautifully sounding and working aircooled engine in the rear and drove like a dream. I had my beloved Bug for many years and it was what Lee learnt to drive in when we met and he moved to Wales from Leeds.

Whilst I loved my Bug and it had been my dream car for many years, never letting me down and was easy to fix - I learnt to service the car myself - when I fell pregnant with our first born I found myself considering my car priorities. Even though I would have loved to keep the car and know some families have children and classic Beetle cars I knew practically the car was no longer the one for me (the lovely boot at the front of the car was not practical for a travel system pushchair and there was limited space inside the car for a growing family) and not being able to afford to have 2 cars on the road it was time to say goodbye to my VW Bug and look to the future and cars best suited for my new family.

As a mum my priorities for a car for my family changed with car safety, boot size, comfort and room inside, and 5 doors rather 3 doors being top priorities. Gone were trivial concerns about car colour, stereo, and stylish accessories such as alloys when making car choices. A car looking good or being a colour I liked were second and a mere lucky bonus compared to the safety features and ratings.

When we extended our family with our second born and needed to upgrade our car to one with more room to accommodate our growing family I felt like a ‘proper grown-up’ looking at cars based on safety rather than looks, picking a classic family car that is often seen at the school gates during school run times - a Ford Focus.

Whilst the Ford has been a brilliant family car for us for the past 2 years we are looking to trade it in for a new car. With so many makes and models on the market it can be a minefield on what is the best family car to get especially when car safety is a priority over personal preference of car style and colour.

Thankfully The Accident Advice Helpline have created The Safest Cars 2016-2017: An Interactive Guide which compiled safety data and ratings to find the safest cars for drivers, passengers and pedestrians. The very useful and informative guide allows you to look at 3 ratings: driver, passenger and pedestrian safety rating, and filter car type such as super mini, MPV or pick-up to help you make an enlightened decision on the best car for you to stay safe on the roads.

As we are looking to upgrade to an MPV to suit our growing family I was pleased to see that one of the cars that is top of our list features highly on the safety guide - the Renault Scenic. I appreciate the fact that it has good safety ratings across the board and has a high passenger safety rating of 82% which is reassuring for my family’s safety if we get one of these cars and is a strong bonus for us when choosing our next car.

What are your priorities when choosing a car?

Does your car feature on the safety guide?

* Collaborative post *

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