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Several large cars honored in safety tests

Three large car models that are popular with Iowa motorists have received top honors in safety tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Lincoln Continental, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Toyota Avalon were all named Top Safety Picks Plus by the IIHS, the arm of the auto insurance industry charged with promoting automobile safety. At the same time, the Tesla Model S, Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Impala were denied top honors in the tests.

The IIHS carries out crash tests to simulate the impact of real-life car accidents on vehicles such as trucks, cars and SUVs. One of the tests that helped to separate the large cars receiving top marks from those that did not is the small overlap front test. This test was first introduced in 2012 and measures the ability of a car to handle a crash when the impact comes on the front driver's side corner.

The vehicles that excelled in the test and received top honors all had strong airbag timing and appropriate safety belt tension which protected drivers, while their safety cages remained protected from crushing. This means that drivers and passengers inside the vehicle are better protected from personal injury in this type of crash. On the other hand, the Tesla, Impala and Taurus all struggled with this particular test. In the case of the Tesla Model S, the seat belt lacked sufficient strength to fully protect the driver. The crash test dummy struck its head on the steering wheel in the simulated crash. The other two vehicles similarly could leave a driver partially unprotected.

An auto accident can lead to significant harm. When the crash has been caused by the negligence or recklessness of another driver, an attorney could assist an injured victim in seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering through a lawsuit filed against the at-fault motorist.

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