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Every Volvo we build is the sum total of more than 70 years of focusing on safety. Which means you’re not just driving a car. You’re driving a promise.

Our Safety Firsts

History of Safety Innovation

5 Tips for Safe Driving

Quick guide to driving

Fewer accidents mean fewer injuries.

A safety system that’s more than the sum of its parts.

Working towards a safer world.

Preventing Accidents

Reducing Injuries

Pushing Boundaries


From making sure you’re informed and alert, to cutting-edge preventative safety systems, every element of your Volvo works together to help you avoid accidents.

The Circle of Life

The Volvo Safety Concept Car

Our preventative safety systems

Around the world

Underpinning all of Volvo’s crash-test research is a safety philosophy that our engineers refer to as the “circle of life”.

1 - Real-life accidents

This is where Volvo’s safety work begins. Volvo is one of the few car manufacturers to have its own accident research team. Since it was established in 1970, the team has studied over 36,000 accidents in which a Volvo has been involved. Knowledge saves lives.

2 - Safety requirements

Real-life accident research is the base for setting the Volvo safety requirements. Volvo is a leader in safety, and all modern Volvos meet or exceed the current statutory requirements set by governments for car manufacturers.

3 - Product developments

This is the point at which components, systems and complete cars are developed. They must meet the requirements set out in the previous stage. Computer simulation testing is used extensively by the product developers and safety experts. On the Volvo S80, for example, over 2,000 front-end collisions were performed and studied.

4 - Testing

This is one of the most crucial parts of developing a new model, and it is why Volvo has invested so heavily in a state-of-the-art Safety Centre – where Volvo can reconstruct and simulate real-life accidents in the laboratory.

5 - Production

Once the cars have passed the test phase, the new models and safety innovations go into production and find their way back into the real world and onto the road. From here, the whole process begins again.

You’re looking at 70 years of safety expertise compressed into one groundbreaking machine. The Volvo Safety Concept Car was built to reduce injuries to an absolute minimum with one of its key aims to improve driver visibility. Cue transparent window pillars, infra-red night vision and seats, controls and pedals that move to ensure the driver is at the best possible position.

Don’t just think of safety in terms of safety cages. We’ve also built in a host of pro-active safety systems to help prevent accidents from happening in the first place. All working to keep you safer.

1 Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)

In the event of an emergency, many people do not press hard enough on the brake pedal. EBA senses an emergency braking situation and helps the driver to reduce speed in as short a distance as possible.

2 Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC)

DSTC makes driving on twisty roads and in slippery conditions safer, by using sensors to detect whether any of the wheels is showing any sign of losing traction. DSTC has the ability to cut power in an instant, helping the car to regain its grip. If the car shows a tendency to skid, the system automatically slows the relevant wheels to help maintain control.

3 Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD)

EBD ensures that the braking forces of the car are distributed between the front and the rear brakes in order to optimize braking efficiency.

Different driving environments produce different accidents, so Volvo's Traffic Accident Research Centre in Thailand is now following in the footsteps of the Swedish Accident Research Centre. The project’s aim is to collect data from Thailand's 14,000 annual road traffic incidents so that the authorities can tackle the country’s road-safety issues, while Volvo will use it to help build safer cars. Both research centres believe in a philosophy called ‘zero vision’, with the aim that one day road-traffic accidents will be a thing of the past.


Sadly, accidents will probably always happen. But they don’t have to cause injuries. Discover how we’ve developed some of the safest, smartest, most trusted cars on the road.

Meet Linda

Smarter crash-test dummies

3 point safety belt

Elk test

To Volvo, an unborn child is already a passenger. Which is why we created Linda, the world’s first ‘pregnant’ crash-test dummy at our Safety Research Centre in Gothenburg – to analyse how we could make our cars safer for pregnant women and their own precious passengers.

Volvo’s crash-test dummies are some of the most advanced in the world. Not only do we use a variety of adult and child sizes, but each match the weight, size and proportions of their human counterparts. Add in sophisticated electronics to measure deceleration, displacement and the other forces involved in an accident, and it all equates to one smart dummy.

Once, seatbelts were simple 'lapbelts' effective to a degree, yet also just as likely to cause injuries. But in 1959, Volvo safety engineer Nils Bohlin invented the three-point seatbelt still used in cars today and to ensure it was adopted by other carmakers, we deliberately didn’t patent it either.


In Sweden many elk are killed in road accidents every year – and the risk to car occupants is obvious. The weight of an elk’s body crashing into a car can crush the windscreen and roof. The Elk Test was introduced to check a car’s ability to swerve and avoid a collision.


We're proud to have been a leader in car safety for over seventy years. Find out how – and why – we're going to remain one for the next seventy.

Traffic Accident Research

Volvo Cars Safety Centre

The Volvo Saved My Life Club

Volvo was the first car manufacturer to create its own Traffic Accident Research Unit. Since its launch in 1970, the Unit has analysed over 35,000 accidents and used that research to develop innovative solutions like our Whiplash Protection System a system subsequently proven to reduce whiplash injuries by 50%.

Knowledge saves lives. No, it’s not NASA. It’s Volvo’s unique crash-test safety laboratory, opened in 2000 to enable us to recreate the many different characteristics of accident types on the road, such as car-to-car, car-to-truck and car-to-bus. A huge technological investment to help save lives.

Our commitment to reducing accidents isn’t driven by statistics. It’s about mothers. Fathers. Children and grandchildren. Anyone who uses a car to get from A to B. The Volvo Saved My Life Club is the human face of all our technology, our engineering – every evening we spent working late. And any one of these stories makes it all worthwhile.

More True Life Stories

The Bowles Family

The Klein Family

Donelle Morris

Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Mission Viejo, California

Queens Creek, Arizona

“I was turning left into the local community centre to play volleyball. I had my entire family in the car.”

“We impacted, the front of the cars hit, it spun us around, the back of our cars hit…we went down a hill through trees and shrubs and bushes.”

“I swerved into oncoming traffic, and hit a semi...My car spun around, and I saw in front of me the truck, trailer, rolling over the street.”



Did You Know?


In 1944

Volvo was the first car manufacturer to install laminated windscreen.

In 1944,

we created the first safety cage to help protect the passenger compartment.

In 1959,

Volvo introduced the three-point safety belt, invented by Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin.

In 1970,

Volvo established the motor industry’s first Traffic Accident Research Team.

In 1972,

Volvo was the first manufacturer to introduce a rearward-facing child safety seat.

In 1991,

Volvo was the first manufacturer to introduce a Side Impact Protection System (SIPS).

In 1994,

we introduced the world's first Side Impact Air Bags.

In 1998,

Volvo introduced our unique Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS).

The door handles

of a Volvo S60, V70 and XC70 are designed so that they can be opened by someone wearing flame-resistant gloves. Just in case.


Safety cage

Laminated windscreen

Three-point front safety belts

Padded dashboard

First rear-facing child seat

Crumple zones at front and rear

Safety belts in the rear

Head restraints in the front

Three-point, inertia-reel front safety belts

Volvo Accident Research Team

Three-point rear safety belts

Childproof rear locks

Collapsible steering column

Energy-absorbing bumpers

Fuel tank relocation

Child cushion

Anti-submarining protection

Wide-angle door mirrors

ABS - Anti-lock Braking System

High-level brake light

Three-point safety belt in centre rear seat

Driver airbag

Integrated child booster seat

Side-Impact Protection System

Automatic height adjustment for front safety belts

Three-point, inertia-reel safety belts standard in all seats

Side-impact airbags

Rollover Protection System

Whiplash Protection System

Inflatable Curtain

Volvo Cars Safety Centre

ISOFIX attachment system for all child seats

Dual-stage inflation airbags

Volvo Safety Concept Car

Extended rollover protection system

Virtual pregnant crash- test dummy

Roll Stability Control

Intelligent Driver Information System

Rear seat belt reminders

New front-end structure to reduce collision forces

Volvo’s Traffic Accident Research Team, Bangkok

Blind Spot Information System

Water Repellent Glass

Door Mounted Inflatable Curtain

Steel cage created to help protect passenger compartment

Laminated windshields installed on PV444 model

Three-point lap/shoulder safety belts – invented by Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin – exclusively introduced in some models

Padded dashboard introduced – to soften impact in the event of accidents

First rear-facing child seat prototype tested by Volvo

Crumple zones at front and rear of vehicles introduced

Three-point safety belts included in rear seats for the first time

Head restraints included in the front of vehicles

Three-point, inertia-reel front safety belts introduced

The motor industry's first car accident investigation team established by Volvo

Pioneering three-point lap/shoulder belt installed in the rear of all new Volvos

Childproof locks appear for the first time

Collapsible steering column introduced

Energy-absorbing bumpers introduced

Fuel tank located in front of rear axle for enhanced safety

Child booster seat featured for the first time

Anti-submarining seat protection invented

Wide-angle door mirrors introduced for increased visibility

Anti-lock brakes (ABS) installed for the first time

High-level brake light devised to make the vehicle more visible on the road

Three-point safety belt in centre rear seat for the first time

First sighting of the now very common driver airbag

Integrated booster cushion added for children 50-80 pounds and 46-54" tall

Automatic height adjustment introduced for front safety belts

Side-Impact Protection System (SIPS) introduced

Three-point, inertia-reel safety belts now fitted as standard in all seats

World's first side impact air bags introduced in new Volvo models

Rollover Protection System (ROPS) makes its first appearance, in a Volvo C70

Volvo introduced the Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS)

Inflatable curtain invented, to help protect passengers in a side impact collision

Volvo Cars Safety Centre opened, the world’s most advanced automotive safety centre at the time

ISOFIX attachment system introduced for all child seats

Dual-stage inflation airbags introduced

Volvo Safety Concept Car unveiled – the future of safe motoring

Rollover protection system extended and improved

Linda, our virtual pregnant crash test dummy, joins the company

Intelligent Driver Information System (IDIS) introduced on Volvo S40 & V50 – actively helping avoid accidents

Rear safety belt reminders installed

New patented front-end structure devised to help reduce collision forces

XC90 is the worlds first SUV with Rollover Protection System (ROPS) and Roll Stability Control (RSC)

Volvo’s Traffic Accident Research Team in Bangkok set up to analyse data from a different continent

Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) presented for the first time

Water Repellent Glass introduced to help increase visibility in bad weather

The world's first use of Door Mounted Inflatable Curtain, presented in the Volvo C70




Next statistics

Tunnels that move

850 tonne crash barrier

3000 frames per second

The main hall is like a giant hub to which two tunnels are attached. The first tunnel is fixed; the second can be moved by up to 90 degrees so that a variety of crash-test angles can be produced. Cars are propelled down the tunnels at speeds of up to 120km/h to collide in the central hall, where data is gathered

To replicate a variety of different types of collision, a special high-tech crash barrier has been created. Weighing in at 850 tonnes, it can withstand the huge impact of a 12-tonne truck hitting it at 80km/h.

High-speed cameras capable of shooting 3000 frames per second record each impact on film. By using up to 30 cameras, every important angle is captured. The data is then analysed in detail by our research engineers. Knowledge saves lives.

Back to Safety



1. Use your senses

2. Stay Awake

3. Drive According to the Conditions

4. Only use your phone when it is safe

5. Give yourself reaction time

Look around: survey the road ahead so you know what’s coming up, and keep an eye on the road behind. Try planning your lane changes a few cars ahead, so that you have plenty of time to merge.

If you are tired, do not drive. Driving is often monotonous, especially on the motorway. If you feel yourself getting tired, pull over and take a short break to rest and regain alertness.

If road conditions are hazardous, reduce your speed accordingly. Wet conditions can sometimes add around 18 metres to your braking distance at 100km/h.

A driver’s first responsibility is the safe operation of the vehicle. The most important thing that you can do to prevent an accident is to avoid distraction and pay attention to the road at all times. Wait until it is safe to make and receive telephone calls. Note: It is illegal in many countries to use a phone while driving.

Use the ‘three-second rule’ to establish if you have allowed sufficient room between yourself and the car in front. Watch the car in front pass a certain point in the road and then count three seconds – if you get there before three, you’re driving too close.

[subtitle start:00:01 stop:00:06] This advanced facility has two test tracks: One permanent and one moveable. [subtitle start:00:06 stop:00:09] The moveable track can be turned by as much as 90 degrees. [subtitle start:00:09 stop:00:14] The unique design of these tracks makes it possible to crash-test cars of different sizes, [subtitle start:00:14 stop:00:19] at different speeds, from different angles and in different traffic environments [subtitle start:00:19 stop:00:24] - a major advance for safety research and one which is unique to Volvo. [subtitle start:00:26 stop:00:30] Laser technology ensures that the tests are conducted in exactly the right position [subtitle start:00:30 stop:00:32] and at exactly the right speed. [subtitle start:00:32 stop:00:37] The events are documented by senses and high-speed cameras. [subtitle start:00:38 stop:00:44] Volvo´s high-tech crash barrier weighs 800 tonnes and is moved into place by air cushions. [subtitle start:00:44 stop:00:48] This barrier makes it possible to recreate many different accident situations [subtitle start:00:48 stop:00:53] and thereby develop even more effective protection.