The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released its list of the safest cars in the US, and this year, headlight performance was a factor for winning the organization's highest Top Safety Pick+ award. To earn the honor, cars had to pass all crash tests with the highest "good" rating, have available forward collision avoidance technology, and have headlights that were either "acceptable" or "good."

A total of 38 cars took home the highest honors, but surprisingly, only seven of those cars had "good" headlights. Those cars were the Chevrolet Volt, Honda Ridgeline, Hyundai Elantra, Hyundai Santa Fe, Subaru Legacy, Toyota Prius v, and Volvo XC60. The IIHS also noted that HID, LED, and turning headlights didn't always earn a high rating in testing, and option packages on some cars can end up replacing fairly good lights with worse ones.

Headlight performance only applied to the highest Top Safety Pick+ award, and cars could also earn the award sans "plus." Forty-four cars managed to take home the regular Top Safety Pick award, bringing the total of top safety picks up to 82. To check out the complete list of vehicles, visit the IIHS website. You can also check out the video above for details on the organization's testing and on some of the cars that improved this year.

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