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How Safe is a Smart Car in a Crash?

Benefits of Driving a Smart Car

There are many reasons why people choose to buy a Smart Car.  The top reasons are that they are supposedly better environmentally and they save money at the gas pump.  The tiny car gets about 32 miles per gallon on the city’s roadways and about 39 miles per gallon on the highway.

Another added benefit is they are easier to park in congested cities. Three smart cars can fit into a single parallel parking space. But with so many big vehicles on the road, how smart is it to drive a Smart Car?

The Measurement of a Smart Car 

The little two-seater measures just over 8-feet long and a little under 5-feet wide. It is about half the size of a regular car. The size of the car is a safety concern. Physics shows that size is the number one factor of safety. The car’s size usually dictates how close the driver’s torso and legs are to the front of the car – because of this, crash tests often show that the driver and passengers of smaller cars are at a higher risk for injuries.

How Safe are Smart Cars Compare to Other Vehicles?

Studies have shown that drivers of Smart Cars are about 12 times more likely to get killed in a car accident. The possibility of suffering serious injuries in a Smart Car accident is even higher.

Although many Smart Car manufacturers add the newest safety features and reinforce the small vehicle with steel safety cages, the ability to walk away uninjured from a Smart Car crash is not likely one of the reasons anyone will offer as a justification for buying such a vehicle.

Smart Car Safety Ratings and Crash Statistics

The pint-sized cars do pretty well in crash tests. Smart Cars earned a safety rating of five-stars thanks to the vehicle’s race-style steel frame and generous use of high-tech side and front airbags. However, despite these great safety features, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) warns that these smaller cars are no match for larger cars in an accident.

A recent report from IIHS shows that the death rate in smaller vehicles involved in multi-car accidents almost double that in larger vehicles. The report also shows that in solo car accidents, 35 people per million were killed in smaller cars compared to 11 per million in large sedans.

This report is significant because the crash tests were performed using two cars being crashed into each other. In a typical crash test, the Smart car is used against a stationary wall.

Watch YouTube Video: IIHS Crash Test with Smart Fortwo and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. This video shows a crash test in a head-on collision between a Smart car and a Mercedes-Benz.

Watch YouTube Video: Smart Car Crash Test. A look at this clip from Fifth Gear shows a great impact on a tiny car (test starts at 5:00):

Speak with a Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer Today

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car accident lawyer. If you or someone you love has been severely hurt in an auto accident while driving a Smart Car, please call me now at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advice. If it’s more convenient, you can also contact me online.

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Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [ds 01.27.21]

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