Revealed: The sobering difference between one and five-star safety-rated cars

We all know the age-old saying: the faster you go the bigger the mess. 

Now, a new crash test by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) proves the safety standard of your car also plays a big role in just how messy your crash could be. 

In one experiment, a 2010 Hyundai Getz and a 2008 Audi A3 smash into each other head-on, with both cars driving the same speed of 64km/h.

But the outcomes for their respective dummy drivers are remarkably different.

"You are twice as likely to die or be seriously injured if you are in a one-star car than if you are in a five-star car," explained NZTA senior road safety manager Fabian Marsh.

The experiment found a driver in the one-star car had a 73 percent chance of sustaining a serious neck injury and a 65 percent chance of serious leg injury. 

Compare that to the driver in the five-star car, who had less than a 1 percent chance of sustaining a serious neck or leg injury in the same crash.

"What we would hope is that people that are in the market to buy a new vehicle will do the research, look at the star ratings and look to buy the safest vehicle they can afford," Marsh said.

The findings come on the eve of Queen's Birthday Weekend. After a record low for our road toll in April, there have been 13 deaths on our roads since the country went into alert level 2. 

Now that domestic travel has the green light, drivers are urged to take extra care this long weekend.

"We'd encourage people to take there time especially on a long weekend like this when there's a lot of traffic around. It's very wet this weekend, it gets dark very early," says General Manager for AA Driving School and Government Contracts Roger Venn.

And an extra word of caution for those who haven't driven much during lockdown: "You might be feeling a bit rusty so maybe take time to re-acquaint yourselves with your vehicle."

So, if you're planning on driving this weekend, the message is simple: don't be a dummy.