Safety has been an issue of growing importance for motorists for some time and modern cars now come with a whole range of devices designed to protect the passenger and driver as standard.
To keep vehicles at their safest it is a good idea to replace any damaged car parts with a new or used substitute as soon as possible.
It is also a good idea when buying a vehicle to check how highly it ranks for safety and one of the best indicators for this is how it how high its Euro NCAP rating is.
Euro NCAP puts hundreds of the most popular car models through rigorous testing to reveal how well it is likely to protect drivers, passengers and pedestrians in the event of an accident.
This week has seen the organisation release its 'best in class results' for 2011, revealing which new car models in each category of vehicle have proved to be the safest.
The new Audi Q3 was found to be the highest scoring of all new small off-road 4×4 models tested by Euro NCAP last year, while the Volvo V60 topped the large family car category.
Ford's latest Focus range scored best among the small family cars, the Mercedes B Class was judged to be the safest small MPV and the Chevrolet Aveo won the supermini category.
To be awarded best in class, a vehicle must achieve the maximum five-star rating as well as perform well across each of Euro NCAP's judging areas: adult occupant protection, child occupant protection, pedestrian protection and safety assistance.
2011 was also the first year the organisation tested electric vehicles, with the Nissan Leaf becoming the first of this category to achieve a five-star rating.
The least safe new car of last year was found to be the Dacia Duster, which was awarded