Can You Put a Price Tag on Safety?

Purchasing a new, or just a new-to-you, a luxury car can raise some questions. You may even wonder if a luxury vehicle is worth the cost, especially when it comes to driver safety. It can be tough to decide because it’s easy to get caught up in the price.

Imagine a Lexus sedan next to a Ford sedan. While there is a considerable price difference, they both do the same thing — drive down the highway at a fast speed. So the question remains: Is the more expensive Lexus a safer vehicle? Or does it just look good in your driveway?

You Get What You Pay For

Everyone has heard the saying that you get what you pay for, and it’s especially true about cars. Luxury cars have the perks, like the extra safety features, that most other cars do not have. In some cases, you may be able to get an upgrade, but you are missing certain things that should be considered standard.

As you think about purchasing a new vehicle, there are several safety features you should consider. Before taking the plunge, decide on what is important to you. Selecting a car is an emotional decision for many. If you do your research first, though, you will be better off deciding what you are willing to pay for safety.

For example, think about what it feels like to drive at night. Sometimes, the road almost seems to glare up at you because of your headlights. Adaptive lighting changes that because it improves night vision. Lights adjust based on several different factors and light up the road depending on what your car needs at that time. Not only do you see better, but other drivers will also see you more easily if they have adaptive lighting too.

A blind-spot warning device is another huge asset as a safety feature. Accidents happen when you cannot see something. It is not surprising because it’s in your blind spot, and everyone has one when they drive. A blind-spot warning is excellent to help you avoid hitting something that you cannot see. You will hear a sound come from your car to let you know you’re too close and you need to be extra careful.

Pedestrian and bicycle detection are somewhat related to blind spot warnings. With a monitor that keeps an eye on pedestrians in your path, it automatically brakes if your car senses one. With bicycle protection, you will get an alert to let you know there is a bicyclist either up ahead, in the back, or even on the sides, so you are aware.

Automatic emergency braking is excellent to have, too. This safety feature uses sensors to track traffic up ahead of you. As the braking system monitors the road ahead, the brakes automatically come on to protect you if there is an impending crash or accident. While it will not always prevent an accident, it can make it less severe.

Safety Improves Over Time

Vehicle safety has made significant strides over the past few decades. In a not-too-distant past, cell phones made their first appearance on the scene. Mobile phones led to new distractions that vehicle manufacturers had to adapt to and keep people safe in the process.

While distractions cannot be eliminated entirely, manufacturers work to minimize them as much as possible. Most luxury vehicles have a head-up display (HUD) that shows navigation settings on the windshield instead of a touch screen in the middle of the dashboard.

Even speeding is made known to a driver, especially in luxury vehicles. Cars from BMW and Audi display current speeds to your dashboard while you are driving. The reasoning behind this comes from wanting to help drivers be more aware of their speed.

Lighting has improved, too, as many vehicles have automatic high beams that turn on and off as needed. In BMWs, automatic high beams are also intelligent and detect approaching traffic, so when traffic is close, the beams dim to keep you from blinding oncoming traffic.

Luxury vehicles are also equipped with night vision cameras designed to detect animals or other obstacles so that you will hear or see a cue telling you as much. Passive night vision cameras detect a heat signature to warn you if there is something there. Active night vision uses infrared light to detect potential hazards in front of you.

Technology advancements continuously prompt automakers to create features that keep drivers and their passengers safe. What were once luxury features have since become standard in most cars today, like Bluetooth hands-free connectivity.

Stay Safe and Protected

Luxury doesn’t mean what it used to—it means even more than just the sophisticated stylings or feelings of grandeur. Today, it also means meeting and exceeding the highest safety expectations of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Tesla has proved itself as a luxury vehicle that is more than just a status symbol. The 2021 Tesla T3 has an excellent crash performance rating from the IIHS and has earned top scores from the NHTSA. Its advanced automatic braking system, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keeping assist all deserve recognition on how these tech features protect the drivers.

Moving down the list of luxury cars that earn the highest safety ratings, you will want to check out the 2021 Acura TLX. Safety was a top priority in the design as it also earned the highest safety ratings from both IIHS and NHTSA. Adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection with automatic emergency braking, driver attention monitoring, and road sign recognition are signs of just how important safety is for this car.

Another luxury vehicle that is newer on the scene, the 2021 Genesis G70, has earned Top Safety Pick+ courtesy of the IIHS. It has also earned top marks from the NHTSA for crashworthiness. Lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, and driver attention monitoring are only a few of the safety perks offered by the G70.

Volvo is no stranger to safety tech, and the tradition remains true with the 2021 Volvo S60 as it has also earned Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS. While the S60 earned a four-star rating in front crash testing, the car earned five stars for its overall rating. Like other luxury vehicles on this list, the S60 has cyclist and pedestrian detection, curve-adaptive headlights, rear cross-traffic alert, and additional safety features.

Don’t Forget About Used Cars

Luxury cars have high standards, and slightly older models will likely have some of the best safety features. The latest models always have the newest safety features, but you will find outstanding safety features and ratings even in previous years. If you want to go with a lesser price tag for a luxury car and still get quality and safety, used cars can be the way to go.

Looking at a 2020 Genesis G70, G80, and G90 is an excellent idea. All three of these models from Genesis received perfect scores from the IIHS, and the G80 got a perfect rating from NHTSA. Standard safety features include pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, driver attention monitoring, and so much more.

Going back to 2020 again, you could see several luxury cars from Volvo’s line, including the XC40, S60, and S90. The XC40 and S60 earned a Top Safety Pick+, while the S90 earned a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS. Cameras and sensors are standard, along with traffic sign recognition, driver monitoring, a HUD, and lots of other safety features.

Something to note about Tesla is their 2020 Model X was the very first SUV ever to earn a perfect crash test rating from the NHTSA. The Model X was tough to roll over due to its outstanding design. The other 2020 models, the Model 3 and Model S, also earned excellent ratings too.

Many used luxury cars end up back in circulation. Just because they are not brand new does not diminish their safety ratings in any way. You will get the luxury and the safety features at a lower price tag. If you choose to go this route, you may want to get an extended warranty to get more out of your car.

Making a Final Decision

Whatever vehicle you choose, your safety features are still only as good as the person driving. You can have all of the safety features in the world, which is helpful, but there will always be the human factor. People will be unaware and even negligent in their driving, so the best you can do is be prepared to protect yourself.

While they are a bit pricier, luxury cars will likely better protect you and keep you safe, which is why they are worth every penny. All of the features you’ll find in luxury cars are tools made available for you to use. Luxury car manufacturers are doing their best to protect you by giving you the means to protect yourself. In the end, it is up to you to use the tools and be a better driver.

Cedric Jackson is a contributing writer. His writing draws on his rich life experiences, time spent traveling, and years working with the written word. He is passionate about internet marketing, automotive, travel, and the entertainment world. When not busy writing, he spends his time traveling, reading, and keeping up with world events. Visit his blog here:

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

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One Response to “Can You Put a Price Tag on Safety?”

  1. Alex says:

    If you have blind spots, you don’t know how to adjust your mirrors. Most people improperly adjust the drivers side mirror by adjusting it so that they can see the side of their car. That guarantees a blind spot right as someone is passing you. If you adjust your mirror further out so that you see cars adjacent to you, you eliminate your blind spot. Then between the three mirrors in your car you can see all three lanes with no blind spots.

    I don’t mind paying for helpful safety devices, but some like blind sport monitors are stuff I don’t want, need nor want to pay for. Back up cameras are true safety devices that I would gladly pay for as they provide real safety benefits. That is about the only safety device I have found to be worth paying for.