Are Teslas Safe? The Truth About Tesla Safety

If you’re thinking of buying a new car, safety is probably one of your top priorities. And when it comes to Tesla, you may have heard mixed reports and scare stories in the media (for example, about Teslas catching fire). So, are Teslas safe?

In this article, we’re going to share Tesla’s safety ratings, explain Tesla’s safety features, and compare the safety of a Tesla to other leading car manufacturers. 

Tesla’s Safety Reputation and Ratings

Tesla’s vehicles are renowned for their safety features and high ratings from various safety organizations. In this section, we’ll delve into Tesla’s safety reputation by examining the ratings the company has received from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP).

NHTSA Ratings

The NHTSA is a United States agency responsible for evaluating vehicle safety. Tesla has consistently earned high marks from the NHTSA. For example, the Model X became the first SUV to score a perfect five-star rating in all categories, and this impressive performance continued for its 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 models.

Similarly, the Tesla Model 3 has a 5-star rating for front and side crash tests and a rollover risk of just 6.6%. Furthermore, the NHTSA has verified that safety features such as forward collision warning and lane departure warning come standard with all Tesla vehicles.

IIHS Ratings

The IIHS, another reputable organization focused on road safety, has also given Tesla vehicles high ratings. While specific ratings may vary depending on the model and year, Tesla vehicles have consistently ranked highly for their crashworthiness, crash avoidance, and mitigation features. 

IIHS evaluates vehicles based on categories like front crash protection, roof strength, head restraints, and seat performance, and Tesla’s commitment to safety is evident in its vehicles’ consistently strong results.

Euro NCAP Ratings

Euro NCAP is an organization that assesses vehicle safety performance in Europe. In their evaluations, Euro NCAP subjects each vehicle to a series of tests, including front and side-impact crashes, pedestrian protection, and safety assist systems. 

Tesla has received favorable ratings from Euro NCAP as well, with the Model 3 and Model Y both receiving five-star ratings in their tests.

Autonomous Technology and Autopilot Systems

When discussing the safety of Teslas, it’s important to explore the autopilot system, as it plays a crucial role in driving safety and is a feature that gives some people safety concerns.

Automated Safety Features

Teslas come equipped with several automated safety features designed to protect you and your passengers. These features work together in real-time to monitor your surroundings, avoid potential accidents, and ensure a safe driving experience. 

Examples of active safety features include:

  • Lane departure warnings
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Traffic-aware cruise control

These features assist the driver to help minimize the risk of accidents and are constantly being improved through software updates.


The Tesla autopilot system is a set of advanced driver-assistance technologies that enables your Tesla to steer, accelerate, and brake autonomously in certain conditions. 

While autopilot has been lauded for its potential to reduce accidents, it has also come under scrutiny as drivers must always remain attentive and responsible for the vehicle’s actions. When using autopilot, it’s essential to follow Tesla’s guidelines, such as keeping your hands on the steering wheel and being prepared to take control if necessary. 

Automatic Emergency Braking

One of the key features built into Tesla’s autopilot system is Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB). AEB is designed to detect possible collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians, or obstacles and automatically apply the brakes to avoid or mitigate the impact. This technology has been proven to be effective in reducing the severity of crashes and lowering the risk of injury.

It’s worth noting that while AEB is a powerful safety feature, it’s not infallible. As a driver, it’s crucial to remain vigilant, anticipate potential hazards, and be ready to intervene if necessary.

Structural Design and Safety Features

Strength and Durability

Teslas are designed with a focus on strength and durability to ensure your safety on the road. The reinforced structure comprises high-strength steel and aluminum, making the car resilient against impacts and providing optimal protection for passengers.

Low Center of Gravity

The design of Tesla vehicles incorporates a low center of gravity, which is achieved by strategically placing the battery pack at the bottom of the car. This attribute not only reduces rollover risk but also enhances handling and stability, allowing you greater control while driving.

Crumple Zones

Teslas are equipped with crumple zones, which are designed to absorb and dissipate energy in the event of a collision. These zones allow the vehicle’s structure to deform in a controlled manner, thereby reducing the force exerted on the occupants and increasing their safety.


Your Tesla comes with advanced airbag systems to provide protection in case of an accident. These airbags are strategically placed throughout the vehicle, including frontal and knee airbags for the driver and front passenger, as well as side-curtain airbags for head and upper body protection.

Battery Pack Safety

The safety of the battery pack is a critical aspect of Tesla vehicles. The battery itself is enclosed in a robust casing to protect against damage or puncture, while its placement benefits not only the car’s center of gravity but also acts as an extra barrier in the event of a side impact.

Comparing Tesla to Other Vehicle Brands

Are Teslas safe compared to other leading manufacturers? Let’s delve into the safety features of some competitors and see how their vehicles rank according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Consumer Reports.

Safety Features of Competitors

Many vehicle brands prioritize safety in their design and engineering. Here’s a quick comparison of some safety features offered by other manufacturers:

  • Volvo: Known for its commitment to safety, Volvo features City Safety, which includes collision avoidance systems and pedestrian detection.
  • Audi: Audi’s Pre Sense technology package includes forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, as well as lane departure warning.
  • Hyundai: Hyundai’s SmartSense package encompasses a range of safety features, such as forward collision-avoidance assist and lane keeping assist.
  • BMW: BMW boasts its Active Protection package that includes various preventive and protective measures, including city collision mitigation and lane departure warning.
  • Toyota: With its Safety Sense technology, Toyota offers features like pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and lane departure alert.
  • Ford: Ford’s Co-Pilot360 combines several safety features, such as automatic emergency braking and a lane-keeping system.
  • Subaru: Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and lane departure warning.

Insurance Institute and Consumer Reports Rankings

When comparing vehicle safety, the IIHS and Consumer Reports are two authoritative sources. Both organizations conduct rigorous tests and evaluations to rank vehicles. Here’s how some vehicle brands perform in these rankings:

BrandIIHS Top Safety PicksConsumer Reports Safety Scores
TeslaConsistently scores high, with all models receiving top picksUsually performs well
VolvoMultiple models ranked as Top Safety PicksOne of the highest scoring brands
AudiSeveral models received Top Safety Pick AwardsGenerally scores well in safety
HyundaiMultiple models consistently ranked as Top Safety PicksMost models receive good safety scores
BMWSeveral models considered Top Safety PicksHigh overall safety scores across the brand
ToyotaMany models consistently holding Top Safety Pick honorsHigh safety scores for most models
FordSeveral models holding Top Safety Pick titlesGenerally receives good safety scores
SubaruA leader in IIHS Top Safety Pick selectionsConsistently high safety scores

Impact of Software Updates on Tesla Safety

As a Tesla owner, you might be aware that one of the key features of your vehicle is the ability to receive over-the-air software updates. These updates not only improve the functionality and performance of your car but also play a significant role in enhancing its safety features.

Software updates can address potential safety issues by making quick fixes, such as adjusting the behavior of certain features or improving the accuracy of the vehicle’s sensors. For instance, Tesla has been able to deploy updates that re-enable Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) features on affected vehicles, ensuring they function properly and help prevent accidents.

However, relying on software for safety improvements also comes with certain risks. As cars become more like rolling computers, the potential for software glitches or vulnerabilities increases. Tesla has had to issue safety recalls for nearly 12,000 vehicles due to a software glitch affecting safety features. 

Conclusion: Are Teslas Safe?

Teslas are safe. Their excellent safety standards are evident in their safety records and in the results of independent safety tests conducted by the NHTSA, the IIHS, and Euro NCAP.

All Tesla models, including the Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model S, Tesla Model X, and Tesla Model Y, have earned 5-star safety ratings in various crash tests. 

In addition to their structurally sound designs, Teslas are equipped with a suite of standard safety features. Some of these include:

  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane departure warning
  • Advanced autopilot capabilities

These active safety technologies help prevent accidents and protect both Tesla drivers and others on the road.

So, if you’re thinking of switching to a Tesla, you can feel confident in its safety credentials. Between the exceptional crash test ratings, cutting-edge safety features, and robust structural design, Teslas stand among the safest vehicles available today.