How Safe Are the Most Popular Delivery Cars on the Road?
A reliable car with good safety features can bring you security and peace of mind. Learn about the safety of popular delivery cars.
Keep your attention on the road so that you can drive safely by letting Circuit Route Planner optimize your routes for you.
As a delivery driver, you probably spend more time on the road than the average worker.
After all, driving is part of your job — it’s literally in the title!
Unfortunately, that increased time on the road puts you at risk of accidents.
For example, since 2012, the number of accidents involving UPS delivery vehicles has increased by 38%.
The number of accidents involving vehicles from other delivery companies like DHL and FedEx has also increased.
Whether you’re delivering groceries for Instacart, slinging packages for Amazon, or dropping off meals for Grubhub, Uber Eats, or DoorDash, occupational safety is key.
The right delivery vehicle has the safety features to keep you secure (and bring you some valuable peace of mind).
I explore some popular delivery vehicles, their top features, and pointers for avoiding motor vehicle crashes.
1. Toyota Prius — best for part-time delivery drivers
The Prius is great for delivery because it offers up to 27.4 cubic feet of cargo capacity (or 50.7 cubic feet if you put the seats down).
That’s plenty of space for storing delivery packages.
The hybrid model also gets decent mileage. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that it gets 52 miles per gallon (combined city and highway driving average).
However, the Prius doesn't perform as well in terms of mpg as some other names on this list (like the Chevrolet Bolt EV), so it might be better for part-time drivers who don’t need as much fuel.
Learn more about how to save gas money as a delivery driver.
The more miles you can get in, the more deliveries you can make, which means more money.
Safety features of the Toyota Prius
The Toyota Prius has a great crash rating of 5 out of 5 stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) overall.
Some safety features include:
- Anti-lock brakes. Anti-lock brakes help you steer safely in emergencies by helping your tires maintain traction on the road, keeping the wheels from locking up.
- Stability control. Stability control helps keep your vehicle on track when you’re maneuvering around tough curves so that you don’t come out of your lane as you turn.
- Seat belt pretensioners. Safety belt pretensioners help make sure that your body stays in a safe, optimal position if you’re in a crash. For example, you don’t want to slip down in your seat because the seat belt could then cut into your neck.
- Front, overhead, knee, and side door airbags. Airbags deploy in case of a collision, keeping you from slamming into the sides of the car, like the windshield. They offer a softer landing pad.
- Security system. Your security system can help prevent break-ins. It can also keep you safe while you’re driving, for example, with emergency locking doors that keep strangers from trying to get into your vehicle.
- Top safety rating from the NTSA
- Cost-efficient hybrid model
- Four-door vehicle can also be used for rideshare
- Not a lot of room in the rear seats
- Slow acceleration
- Bad shock absorption (meaning a lot of bumping around)
2. Honda Accord — best for tech geeks
With the hybrid model, the Honda Accord can help delivery drivers save on gas with its good fuel economy, offering 48 MPG in combined highway and city driving.
The modern mid-sized sedan also offers plenty of space for stashing packages. Other perks for delivery drivers include the high-tech 8-inch touch display for controlling details like the AC and the Bluetooth hands-free link.
Safety features of the Honda Accord
The Honda Accord has earned recognition as a top safety pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Its standard safety features include:
- Collision mitigation braking system. Also known as anti-lock brakes, these help you steer safely in emergencies by helping your tires maintain traction on the road, keeping the wheels from locking up.
- Lane keeping assist system. The car signals you if you’re starting to veer out of your lane in traffic.
- Blind spot info system. A sensor monitor checks blind spots and beeps to let you know if there’s something (or someone!) in your blind spot.
- Traffic sign recognition system. This system recognizes traffic signs and alerts the driver about what they say on a visual display on the dash. It can recognize things like stop signs and the speed limit, for example.
- Forward collision warning. Motion sensors at the front of the car detect objects, and the car signals you if you’re about to hit someone or something.
- Front, front side, and side curtain airbags. These protect you from hitting the interior of the car in case of a crash.
- Spacious cabin
- Advanced tech like Bluetooth, touch screen, and USB ports
- Turbocharged engine available (more horsepower)
- Truck space is hard to access
- Noisy on highways
- No all-wheel drive
3. Hyundai Sonata — best hybrid option
The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid earned the rank of #1 out of hybrid cars in US News & World Reports. It has a spacious interior, so you’ve got plenty of package space, and ranks high in terms of comfort and cabin quality.
Always pluses when you have to spend so much time on the road.
Plus, the car offers quick acceleration and easy handling, great for maneuvering tricky delivery routes — like narrow city streets.
Safety features of the Hyundai Sonata
The Hyundai Sonata offers plenty of safety features. The NHTSA awarded it an overall 5-star rating.
- Anti-lock brakes. Anti-lock brakes help your tires maintain traction on the road in emergencies, keeping the wheels from locking up.
- Stability control. This feature helps you maintain control of your vehicle when you go through curves, so it doesn’t veer off the path.
- Front, side, overhead, and knee airbags. These come out in case you’re in a crash. They protect you from slamming into the hard interior of the car, offering a softer surface for the impact.
- Security system. The car’s security system can help prevent theft and break-ins. It can also help you stay safe while driving with features like automatic locks, which keep people from getting into your car unwanted.
- Seat belt pretensioners. Pretensioners help your body stay in the optimal position if you’re in a car crash. For example, you don’t want to slide down in your seat, or the seat belt can cut into your neck.
- Good value
- Spacious back seats
- 5-star safety rating
- Poor ride quality
- Inconsistencies with the transmission
- Unattractive front-end design features
4. Chevrolet Bolt EV — best bang for your buck
If you really want to cut gas usage, this electric vehicle is the answer. The Chevrolet Bolt EV is a small hatchback with plenty of cargo space.
Plus, in 2023, this car is expected to see a $5,900 price drop compared to the 2022 model. If you’re thinking of upgrading your vehicle but don’t have the cash yet, save up and get this one next year.
Safety features of the Chevrolet Bolt EV
The Chevrolet Bolt EV offers a slew of safety features, including:
- Automatic emergency braking. With automatic emergency braking, the brake system applies additional pressure in emergencies. A sensor can tell if you stomp down on the brake harder than usual and then sends a signal to the brake lines to come to a fast stop.
- Forward collision alert. Sensors at the front of the car monitor for objects and how far you are from cars in front of you. If you get too close to something, the monitor sends a signal.
- Following distance indicator. This combines with the forward collision alert, checking that you’re keeping enough space between your car and cars in front of you in traffic.
- Rear traffic alert and park assist. Sensors at the back of the car send a beeping signal if someone is tailing you too closely. These same sensors can be used for backing into parking spaces.
- Lane change alert. A sensor helps make sure that the lane is clear for you to pull into and signals you if there’s an obstruction, like a car that’s approached quickly from behind.
- Side blind zone alert. Motion sensors check for objects in the blind zones on the sides of your car and beep if there’s something in your path, so you don’t hit it.
- Fantastic mileage
- Free charger installation
- One-pedal driving button (you can slow and stop the vehicle using only the accelerator pedal)
- No super cruise
- The base price is very basic — you’ll have to pay a lot for extras, including safety features like adaptive cruise control
- No multimedia entertainment (compared to Tesla, for example)
5. Ford Focus — best for delivery drivers who also do rideshare
This hatchback vehicle is known for its great handling, so it’s a smart pick if you have to maneuver a lot of narrow city streets as an urban delivery driver.
It also has good rear legroom in case you also offer rideshare services.
Learn more about how to make money with Lyft or Uber (and Uber Eats).
The 2018 model gets 34 MPG for combined city and highway driving. That said, there is also an electric model that gets 107 MPG if you want to cut fuel costs.
Safety features of the Ford Focus
The 2022 Ford Focus has many useful safety features, including:
- Driver airbag. The driver airbag is in front of the driver’s seat and deploys in case of a collision. It helps prevent you from slamming into the front windshield or steering wheel.
- Front, rear, front side, and passenger airbags. These additional airbags further help cushion the blow in case of a car crash.
- Four-wheel automatic brake system. A four-wheel brake system makes it easier to come to quick, clean stops and is safer than having just front or back brakes. It’s also easier to stop on uneven surfaces, like hills.
- Front disc or rear drum brakes with brake assist. Emergency brake assist means that your brakes apply additional pressure in emergencies. A sensor can tell if you stamp down on the brake harder than usual and then sends a signal to the brake lines to come to a fast stop.
- Electronic stability control. This feature helps keep the car on track when you go around curves, making sure that you don’t veer out of the lane.
- Luxurious interior with 13.2-inch touch screen infotainment system
- Three driving modes to choose from: normal, sport, and eco
- Great handling
- No plug-in hybrid option engine available
- Large rear pillars at the back can obscure rear view
- Slow acceleration
Which car is best for delivery jobs?
All of the cars above have valuable safety features that can help you stay safe as a delivery driver.
But safety shouldn’t be the only consideration when you’re looking for a car.
Here are some other points to keep in mind.
- Storage space: You want enough room for storing delivery goods. That said, if you’re a food delivery service driver who just drops off one or two meals at a time, your storage needs are less than those of a package delivery driver hauling 100+ packages per day.
- Mileage: A car that gets good mileage means refilling your gas tank less often. Avoid oversized cars that need premium gas and choose fuel-efficient, smaller cars instead. Diesel-powered vehicles or hybrids are other solid options. You can compare the MPG of different cars with this online tool. Plus, get more tips on saving gas.
- Reliability: You want a vehicle that’s trustworthy and not likely to break down. Look up details like whether a car has a history of malfunctions, for example, or recalled parts. Consumer Reports has information that can help. You might also consider the car’s warranty terms, seeing what kinds of repairs you can count on.
Pro tip: Discover some more considerations when buying a delivery car and learn about some of the best vehicles for delivery.
5 tips to stay safe while delivering
The right car can help you stay safe on the road. But it’s not the only factor. Follow these delivery driver safety tips.
1. Avoid distractions
When you’re driving, your full attention should be on the task at hand.
That means both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road.
Over 3,000 people were killed by distracted driving in 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Plus, 8.1% of all crash fatalities were related to distracted driving.
Try to avoid distracted driving behaviors like talking on the phone, texting, searching for music, eating, doing your makeup, and more.
These activities mean you aren’t concentrating on driving, which can slow your reaction times.
For example, if you’re texting and the car in front of you brakes suddenly, you may not notice and brake fast enough to stop a rear-end collision.
Take care of things like eating and texting when you aren’t in the car.
2. Practice defensive driving techniques
On top of keeping your attention on the road, make sure you’re practicing defensive driving techniques.
Avoid speeding, don’t needlessly change lanes, and be aware of your blind spots (we have a guide to blind spot awareness).
Blind spots can be especially risky if there are smaller vehicles like scooters on the road.
Other rules of defensive driving include yielding to other vehicles (even if you technically have the right of way), following traffic signs, and using your turn signals.
If the weather is bad — for example, rain or ice has made the roads slick, or fog is creating visibility issues — go slower, and leave more space between your vehicle and the one ahead of you.
(Hint: Bad weather is just one hazard couriers face. Learn about other problems and how to avoid them).
You can hone your defensive driving skills with a course.
The Association for Delivery Drivers (A4DD) offers a driving safety class you can take.
(Hint: Learn more about A4DD benefits.)
3. Inspect your vehicle frequently
Vehicle breakdowns or malfunctions can create dangerous conditions on the road.
For example, if your headlight is broken, you’ll have poor visibility.
Another example: Without enough brake fluid, your brakes can fail.
You can avoid issues by getting regular vehicle inspections.
An inspection basically involves checking oil levels, brake and windshield wiper fluid volumes, tire pressure, and more.
This article has a complete checklist of what a standard maintenance inspection should include.
Experts recommend having a qualified mechanic inspect your car every 12 months at least.
But your vehicle’s manual might have other specifications that you should follow.
4. Avoid driver fatigue
As a delivery driver, you might work long days. This can leave you feeling less than fresh behind the steering wheel.
Unfortunately, driver fatigue poses a serious safety threat.
Some 1 in 25 adult drivers reveal that they’ve fallen asleep behind the wheel.
Worse, about 6,400 people die per year due to drowsy driving.
Check out these tips to avoid driver fatigue.
It starts with getting enough rest. Aim for at least six hours per night, ideally eight.
Also, be aware of taking medications that may cause drowsiness as a side effect.
If you feel yourself getting sleepy, take a break. Get out of your car, stretch your legs, and move around.
A cup of coffee can definitely help.
If you can’t stay awake at the wheel, it’s time to call it a day.
Don’t risk your safety (or the safety of those around you) just to deliver a few more packages or meals.
5. Know the area you’re delivering in
As a delivery driver, avoid distracted driving by planning your delivery routes before you get in your vehicle.
That way, you don’t have to consult your phone or a map to find out where to go.
A tool like Circuit Route Planner is ideal, mapping out the fastest sequence of stops. You can save time on your routes without having to resort to potentially risky speeding.
Plus, Circuit has voice commands, so you don’t have to take your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road.
Psst, a route planner is just one hack that can help you make deliveries fast. Here are some other tips you can try to speed up your delivery routes.
Stay safe with these top car picks and tips
Delivery drivers spend a lot of time behind the wheel, which puts them at risk of road accidents. Get a reliable car with good safety features for peace of mind.
There are also some best practices you can follow to increase safety on the road. We cover some key pointers, like keeping your car in good working order with regular maintenance appointments above.
Even if you have a safe vehicle and practice safe driving, accidents happen.
Just in case, make sure you have good auto insurance. Here are some plans to consider.
Finally, invest in technology to help you stay safe on the road. For example, a hands-free headset for your phone can be useful.
Circuit Route Planner is another handy tool for delivery drivers. Our route optimization software charts out the fastest sequence of stops for you.
You can update routes in real time, adding or deleting stops as needed. Plus, the mobile app works with voice commands, so you can keep your attention on the road.
Circuit’s driver app also offers other perks that can make your delivery job easier, like proof of delivery, delivery time windows, notifications for customers, and even a package finder.
When you’ve got a lot of packages packed into your vehicle, it helps to know exactly where they are.
Chances are you'll love our other stuff too. Get our newsletter for the latest on all things delivery.