I’ve teamed up with Consumer Reports and am proud to be one of their paid brand ambassadors; my personal opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Consumer Reports.
At FitFluential, we talk a lot about health, wellness and longevity. From what you eat, how you work out, sleep and more, there’s a lot we can do to stay healthy and feel great. Still, it’s not just nutrition and fitness that supports our well-being. The products we use everyday also play a role. That’s why Consumer Reports works for and with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier marketplace by testing and ensuring the safety of thousands of products – including cars.
As someone who has experienced several losses due to car accidents, driving safely has always been a top priority (in fact, I’m probably that person other drivers become annoyed with for driving exactly the speed limit and coming to a complete stop at traffic signs). But it’s not just driving that keeps us safe on the road – how a vehicle is manufactured, its safety features and which vehicle we choose are also huge factors.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting The Consumer Reports Auto Test Center, sprawling across 327 acres in rural Connecticut. At the Auto Test Center, I witnessed first-hand the true extent of automobile testing (between 60 and 80 cars per year and over 900,000 miles worth to be exact!), and how Consumer Reports has a continuous impact on improving the safety of hundreds of vehicles on the market.
Want to learn more? Here were two of my favorite demonstrations from my Auto Testing Center visit!
Car Seat Safety
80 percent of car seats are installed incorrectly. That’s a staggering statistic. Consumer Reports helps lower that percentage by testing every aspect of car seats, including ease of installation. While all car seats available on the market are considered safe by national safety standards, Consumer Reports works off a “basic, better and best” formula that serves as a comparative rating to differentiate nuances in a seat’s crash safety potential. How do they do this? Each car seat goes through as series of simulated crash tests and an average of 40 installations in many different vehicles. Looking for a car seat? Don’t assume that the most expensive option is also the safest. According to the demonstration from Consumer Reports, many low-priced products rate just as well (or better) as ‘top-of-the-line’ models.
Tip: Better safe than sorry. Take your carseat to your local fire or police station to ensure proper installation.
Automatic Emergency Brake Features
No one is a perfect driver. There will always be times when we become distracted, reach across the passenger’s seat or simply make a mistake. Does your car have the right features to help keep you and your passengers safe? The team at Consumer Reports showed us an eye-opening demonstration that might make you think twice about your vehicle’s brake features. Automatic emergency braking (also known as AEB), uses sensors to track cars ahead and automatically slam on the brakes in an impending crash. Moving at just 10 miles per hour, the CR team performed an Automatic Emergency Brake demo in a Subaru Impreza. Sitting in the backseat, I was thrown forward when the vehicle automatically stopped just before colliding with the test object. Had I not been part of this experience AEB wouldn’t be something I’d know to look for!
Did you know? Many automotive publications evaluate vehicles lent to them by manufacturers. Consumer Reports buys all of the cars they test. That way, they can maintain their independence and test cars with options people actually buy, as opposed to special versions the manufacturers want to showcase.
In addition to the demonstrations mentioned above, the Consumer Reports team also discussed tire safety and maintenance, automatic shifters and self-driving cars (and why we’re not in love with that term yet).
Ready to drive one of the top-rated cars on the market? After stringent track tests and extensive owner surveys, Consumer Reports named its 10 Top Picks of 2017! Check out which cars hit the mark for reliability, safety and satisfaction.