Jessica Liesmann sat patiently in her minivan at a Dallas intersection, waiting for the traffic light to turn green. A few hundred yards behind, and heading directly towards her at high speed, was a stolen Dodge Challenger being driven by Artrai Alexander – a criminal who was about to become forever known as the car thief who got beaten up by a Mama Bear. Alexander, overconfident and apparently unfamiliar with a brake pedal, plowed into the back of Liesmann’s 2005 Nissan Quest. The explosive impact sent parts of the minivan across the intersection. After checking to make sure her son, seated in the second-row seat of the minivan, was unhurt, Liesmann jumped out of her crumpled Nissan and pounced on fleeing Alexander, pummeling the now-stunned thief until police arrived.
We share this story to illustrate that you never know what’s going to happen out there, and it's so important to transport the people you love the most in a vehicle that is as safe as possible. You might think you’re a great driver and that accidents only happen to the other guy, but no amount of talent takes into account people like Artrai Alexander. Whether you’re shopping for a new or a used car, truck, SUV, or minivan, if you’re going to be carrying your loved ones in the vehicle on a regular basis, or you’re buying an extra vehicle for your teenaged son or daughter to drive, it is important to plan for the unexpected – and critical to buy the safest vehicle you can afford. With that in mind, we've come up with a list of nine important safety items for new car shoppers. Some are government-mandated standard equipment on all new passengers vehicles, while others are part of option packages. However, safe driving always starts with the person behind the wheel.