Following up on Eric's post, how do you know that the car you're in the market for is safe? Consumer Reports says it's important to weigh several factors, including equipment offered on the vehicle, as well as governmental and independent safety test results. Pay attention to both Insurance Institute of Highway Safety ratings as well as NHTSA's. To get the safest vehicle, buy cars or trucks with electronic stability control (ESC), "smart" air bags, good anti-lock braking systems, three point safety belts and head restraints that cushion the entire head. If you have kids, make sure to check that the vehicle's rear seat belts are compatible with your child-safety seat.

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