When I was in college my great aunt gave me her 1973 Ambassador. It was blue, big, and easily held six people. We called it the Big Blue Boat and I always felt safe driving around in it because it was such a beast. Through the years I’ve had several different vehicles. I’ve had a Ford pickup, a Toyota Corolla, a little Nissan, and currently drive a Subaru Outback. Out of all of those I really love my Subaru the most. It’s not as large as the Ambassador (thankfully) but it’s a nice sized car. I’ve often wondered about how the size of a vehicle impacts it’s safety and this week’s post should answer that question.
You may have wondered, at one point or another, “Are biggers cars safer than smaller cars?” Actually, larger and heavier cars are usually safer in a collision than smaller ones. In relation to their numbers on the road, small cars account for more than twice as many deaths as large cars. If a heavier vehicle collides head-on with a lighter one, the lighter vehicle and its occupants will suffer substantially more damage.
According to an article on Edmunds.com about picking a safe car for teenagers, a mid or full-size car could be the difference between life and death in a crash. “Don’t buy the argument that you need something highly maneuverable and small,” says J. Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
A small car that earns five stars in most crash tests is only being judged in how well it protects in a crash with a similar-size vehicle. “A bigger vehicle protects in any type of crash,” says Anne McCartt, Senior Vice President for Research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). A 2007 IIHS report listing 16 models with the highest rates of driver deaths includes 11 small cars.
The latest trend seems to be smaller and greener cars, especially with gas prices being so high, but the best choice is to choose the safest vehicle. “You want a car that isn’t so small they’re going to automatically lose if they get into a crash, especially if they hit [or get hit by] a larger vehicle,” said Kissinger. Fortunately, automakers continue to introduce larger hybrids so you can go green and go safe.
When choosing a car it’s wise to check crash tests scores from the government and the IIHS. Go to Safercar.gov. to find the NHTSA crash test results and check the IIHS site for its ratings and recommendations. I went and looked at my Subaru’s 5 star ratings, and was pleased to find the side crash ratings were 5 out of 5 (they were not results for front crash tests).
Size matters in vehicle safety. That doesn’t mean we need to all go out and get Ambassadors (unless you really like Ambassadors) but it does mean it’s a good idea to do research on vehicle safety ratings and consider your options when buying a car. So the answer to the question, “Are biggers cars safer than smaller cars?” is a resounding, “Yes!”
Don’t forget-one of the best ways to stay safe on the road is to get a vehicle with Pulse™ installed. Ask your car dealer for more information today.+