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Are Large Cars Safer?

Larger Vehicles are Safer in Some Ways

Injury lawyers know that vehicle type often plays a part in the severity of the occupants’ injuries in a collision.  One assumption is that the larger the vehicle, the safer it is.  While there is some truth to that, it does not necessarily mean you should buy the biggest vehicle you can find in order to preserve your safety.  There are other factors to consider.  It always makes sense to review the IIHS safety ratings for the particular vehicle you are interested in.

Are Bigger Vehicles Safer than Smaller Vehicles?

Generally, yes – large cars are rated safer than small cars. The reasons for this come down to physics – a bigger, heavier vehicle will take less of the brunt in an impact with a lighter, smaller one.  But there are other factors at play.  How each vehicle was built to withstand a crash is a big safety consideration.  Additionally, many vehicles now have technology that helps the driver avoid a collision in the first place.  Another significant consideration is the driver’s comfort and experience with the vehicle features, and their ability to drive the car.  

Watch the YouTube video from the IIHS on vehicle safety in relation to vehicle size.

Are New Cars Safer than Older Cars?

One of the most important safety considerations is the age of the vehicle.  All newer cars have a considerable safety advantage over older ones.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) even issued a statement: New Cars Are Safer Cars. There have been enormous improvements over the years in vehicle safety features and design.  Crash testing and subsequent innovations have reduced the severity of injuries that occur each year in motor vehicle accidents.  

Should I Drive a Bigger Car?

While it seems to make sense that, for safety reasons, we should buy the biggest car possible, that is not necessarily true.  Here are some other things to consider:

Smaller Cars – Better Handling

Often, smaller vehicles handle better than larger ones and are easier to control. This means that drivers can more quickly respond to road hazards, and those additional seconds can be the difference between avoiding an accident and crashing into something.  Large vehicles have varying degrees of maneuverability.

Risks of Rollover

The higher center of gravity on a large vehicle such as an SUV means that it is more likely than a small vehicle to tip over.  An SUV is also more prone to a rollover accident, especially if the driver is not accustomed to driving such a vehicle.   Slick roads in wet, icy, or snowy weather conditions increase the risks of rollovers.

Driver Comfort and Familiarity

The safety of any vehicle is largely within the control of its operator.  Attentive and responsible driving habits prevent more accidents and keep vehicle occupants safer than the features of a particular vehicle.  When a driver has familiarity with a vehicle, he or she will be more comfortable with its handling and controls, which translates into a safer drive.  

Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer

Hello, and thanks for reading our discussion about vehicle safety.  I’m Ed Smith, a personal injury attorney in Sacramento, California.  A vehicle cannot always protect its occupants from injuries in a collision.  Unfortunately, negligent and inattentive driving causes accidents throughout our region on a daily basis.  If you or a family member has been injured in a collision caused by a careless driver, our law firm is available to offer free and friendly advice.  Call our office at (916) 921-6400, or if you will be calling from another area code, use our toll-free line: (800) 404-5400.  Alternatively, our website has a link at which you can contact us online

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