Nobody in the UK has died in an accident involving a Volvo V40. That’s quite a statement, isn’t it? It was made to me by an expert from safety organisation Thatcham Research, and is the sort of statement that would steer quite a few car-buying decisions, I’d wager.

Understandably Volvo isn’t about to shout about it, not least I suspect because of the potential repercussions when someone – inevitably, I guess – does die in one. Still, it did hammer home a point being made at the recent Safest Used Family Car Awards, run by Co-Op Insurance and backed by Thatcham.

As well as naming the V40 with optional safety pack fitted as the winner, the Awards organisers polled the public in relation to their understanding of safety equipment and how important a factor it was when choosing a car. The results were pretty bleak.

It was revealed only 4% place car safety at the top of their buying criteria - with criteria such as colour, brand and performance taking priority (as well as more obvious ones, such as price, mileage and fuel economy).

The survey further revealed that 68% of potential buyers have no idea what the safety rating of their own car is, and 54% did not ask any questions about safety features such as Emergency Braking (AEB), Lane Keep Assist and Blind Spot Detection.