How Safe Are Tesla Cars? Top Safety Features Reviewed


In the past few years, Tesla cars started becoming an increasingly common sighting on US roads, and many people began considering buying one. Still, an important aspect to take into account is the safety of the vehicle. So in this article, we’ll investigate how safe are Tesla cars?

Tesla claims its cars are the safest in the world. The Model 3 has the lowest probability of injury of any car tested by the NHTSA since 2011, and the Model S and Model X come in second and third. In addition, three of the most important organizations that perform crash tests, the NHTSA, the IIHS, and the Euro NCAP, gave the Model 3 the best possible rating. 

As I said, Tesla cars are becoming mainstream in many states, and with more cars on the road, the number of accidents has increased.

This also came with a lot of media coverage where various questions were raised about the safety of Tesla cars. Here we’ll cover three main aspects: 

  • Occupant safety on crash
  • Autopilot and Active Safety Features
  • Reliability Issues

As a bonus, at the end, we’ll talk about concerns regarding Tesla fires, so stay tuned if you want to know about that. But, first, let’s start with safety on collisions.

Are Teslas Safe In An Accident?

For example, watch how the Model 3 performs in the side pole crash test compared to the Volvo S60. The pole does not intrude at all in the cabin of the Model 3. 

This is partly because of the battery pack placed underneath the car and provides extra rigidity to the chassis. 

Still, more importantly, the battery pack position means the car has a very low center of gravity which decreases the chances of a rollover, which are some of the most dangerous types of accidents.

This is a Model X that refuses to roll over even when it seems unavoidable. Tesla also has big glass roofs on top, which may raise the question: How strong is it? 

Just look at this video from a car crash where another car ended up on top of the Model 3. 

The glass roof is much more resistant than the thin metal roofs found on most cars. 

So if you ever end up crushing, being in a Tesla would be the safest option. 

But when driving a Tesla car, you have fewer chances of getting into an accident in the first place. Here is where Autopilot and the Active Safety Features play a big role. 

The Autopilot software is regularly being improved, and it has saved a lot of Tesla drivers from getting into accidents. 

There are plenty of videos showing how Autopilot is able to recognize and react to threats way before the driver even notices, and these safety features are only getting better with time. 

Also, the computers on Tesla cars are designed with redundancy as a primary aspect, so if one computer fails, the other one can take control, and the driving would not be compromised. The same thing is done in flight control for planes. 

But if you choose not to pay for Autopilot, you would still get the active safety features that come standard in every Tesla since 2014. You’ll find features like…

  • Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Blind Spot Monitoring
  • Lane Departure Avoidance, among others.

But you should not blindly trust Autopilot. While it is true that it is more reliable than a human driver, it is far from perfect and still makes mistakes.

It is very irresponsible to take a nap, for example, or use your phone while driving. If you’re not paying attention, something like this can happen to you. 

So you should always keep your eyes on the road and be ready to take control. Remember, at least for now. Autopilot is just an assist that highly improves comfort and safety. Finally, let’s talk about Reliability Issues. 

Are Tesla’s A Reliable Car?

Bloomberg conducted a survey where they asked 5,000 Model 3 owners how reliable their cars were. 

Most of the issues regarding the Model 3 we’re about exterior visual defects such as inconsistent panel gaps and paint chips, with a very low number of owners presenting problems with more serious aspects of the car like the electronics, drive system, or brakes. 

This doesn’t mean it is ok to deliver a faulty product, but minor visual defects are less important, especially if we take into consideration the Tesla ships their cars overseas all around the world. 

Fortunately, the number of complaints by owners started consistently decreasing each quarter, so if you buy a Model 3 now, you can expect a more polished version than two years ago. 

Some Tesla Model Y owners have recently started complaining about major quality issues, including paint and trim problems and indentation in the seats. 

We can understand ramping up the production of a car can be difficult, and Tesla probably fixes all these issues as time passes, but they should really start paying more attention to the quality of the care they deliver.

What do you think about this? Is it acceptable for you?

The conclusion is that if you want to avoid quality issues, the best would be not to buy the early production units, which goes for most products.

According to all the media coverage these get, Tesla cars are parked, waiting to randomly catch on fire. Let’s check the data to get real information. 

If we review the numbers, we can see internal combustion engine cars are more than nine times more likely to catch on fire, but because these fires don’t get covered by the media, we almost never hear about them. 

This is odd and unfair how big media tries to manipulate public perception of electric cars, especially given the fact that these are much safer to drive. 

Vehicle fires are not totally avoidable, and that’s because either with gasoline or batteries, cars have a lot of stored energy, and if it’s not released properly, it can lead to unintended results. 

Tesla puts a lot of effort into designing its battery packs to be fire resistant or at least retardant. One example of this is that the pack is separated into modules. This prevents damage from one module from affecting the others. 

At the end of the day, whether you drive a Tesla or don’t the safety depends mostly on you, but when driving, not everything is under your control, so if you end up crashing, at least it is good to know that you are in one of the safest cars in the world.

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