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Traffic has returned to pre-pandemic levels, but an increase in the size and horsepower of vehicles Americans are driving has led to higher impact severity in crashes. As such, when shopping for a new – or new-to-you – vehicle, safety is sure to be high on most people's wish lists, but what features should you be on the lookout for to ensure you're protected in case of an accident?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) suggests considering the following when shopping for a safe vehicle:

  • Larger, heavier vehicles will protect occupants better than smaller, lighter ones as there is more structure to absorb energy from a crash.
  • The safest vehicles have "crashworthy" designs; meaning they have a strong occupant compartment, crumple zones to absorb force in a crash, side structure to manage the force of striking an object or vehicle and a strong roof that will hold up in a rollover.
  • Crash avoidance features, which can include things from headlights all the way to advanced driver assistance systems can help prevent accidents.

In the slideshow above, we'll look at the IIHS's small and midsize SUV Top Safety Pick + winners for 2023.

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Brittney Meredith-Miller

Brittney Meredith-Miller is assistant editor of PropertyCasualty360.com. She can be reached at [email protected].