With so many large vehicles still on the roads in American, how smart is it to drive a “smart” car, especially considering the ability to walk away unharmed from an accident.
American automobiles are on a diet – getting smaller and more lightweight in order to comply with mileage regulations. This means that auto makers are replacing steel with light metals and plastics, which lowers gas mileage but also decreases the protection of the occupants. Some studies show that “smart” car drivers are up to 12 times more likely to suffer fatal injuries in a car accident. The likelihood of severe injury is even higher.
Mere physics dictate that size is a key component of safety, since mass times acceleration equals force of impact, and that force is what causes injuries and fatalities in vehicle occupants involved in a car accident. The vehicle’s size often dictates how close driver’s legs and torso are to the front of the vehicle – because of this, crash tests repeatedly show that occupants of smaller cars are at a greater risk for injuries. A look at this clip from Fifth Gear shows a great impact to a tiny car (test starts at 5:00):