Which car would be best to drive down Interstate 35 from Georgetown to Austin? Some might opt for the fastest car around or the flashiest, biggest or most expensive vehicle available. But if you are interested in safety, you might opt for one of the eight cars to receive the highest rating in tests of new high-tech accident prevention systems.

If you’re on a budget, you might pick the 2014 Chevrolet Impala: it’s the only non-luxury car in the group to receive the highest rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The group put to the test vehicles featuring crash prevention systems that give drivers warnings of potential impending collisions and can automatically apply the brakes. The institute gave “superior” grades to the vehicles featuring both technologies.

In addition to the Impala, seven others received the “superior” grade: the BMW X5 and BMW 5 Series, the Hyundai Genesis, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Cadillac CTS and Cadillac XTS, as well as the Buick Regal.

The safety systems use a combination of lasers, radar and cameras to determine if your car is getting too close to a vehicle or other object in front of it. Drivers are in those situations warned with a sound or seat vibration (or both). Brakes are readied by the vehicle for maximum braking power when they are applied.

Sometimes the vehicles apply the brakes on their own, helping reduce speed, the Institute said, but not necessarily preventing accidents. However, reduced speed can minimize the force of impact and help lessen injury severity.

While these cars can help reduce injuries and accidents, they can’t eliminate crashes completely. When people are injured in wrecks caused by careless drivers, they should consult a personal injury attorney before discussing compensation with an insurance company.  

Source: KTTC, “8 vehicles earn top rating for collision warning,” Dee-Ann Durbin, May 29, 2014