June 21, 2022

Are SUVs Safer in an Accident?

Multi vehicle accident

Many consumers like SUVs. The size of an SUV makes them good to haul around the whole family and all their gear. People like the 4-wheel drive or all-wheel drive offered in most SUVs. Some buyers purchase an SUV due to the belief that they are safer than smaller vehicles.

If you drive the roads and highways of Pennsylvania frequently enough, you are more likely to be involved in a car accident. Even a car accident as small as a low-speed rear-ending or fender bender can have consequences for passenger safety. The motivating idea behind many SUV purchases is that when the inevitable happens and you get in a car accident, you and your family will be more protected. Read on to look at the data and science behind the idea of if SUVs are actually safer.

SUVs vs. Sedans

When looking at whether SUVs are safer, they should be compared to sedans rather than other types of vehicles. Because most new personal truck models are getting bigger and bigger, comparing trucks and SUVs will not be helpful. But comparing SUVs and sedans would be more helpful in deciding which type of vehicle to purchase.

Newer SUV models, and all newer vehicle models, are becoming more and more safe every year. There are many safety devices and systems built into SUVs, such as lane assist, smart headlights, and perimeter alarms. Other than safety systems, there has been increased safety in the design of the vehicles, which is one of the reasons SUVs are considered safer.

Smaller vehicles like sedans have decent front crash test results, especially given their smaller size, but do not have great side-impact test results or rear-end test results.

SUVs have high test scores when it comes to front-end collisions as compared to sedans. A University of Buffalo study found that the chances of a fatality from a front-end collision were 7.6 times higher for the car driver than the SUV driver.

How Does the Size of SUVs Help Safety?

The sheer size of an SUV helps make it safer in certain crash situations. Because an SUV is so big, there is more vehicle body to absorb the force that is transferred to it when struck by another vehicle. When the vehicle absorbs more force, that means less force is transferred into the bodies of the occupants, which means that there are less injuries.

With larger vehicles, there is also more of a “crumple zone” in the vehicle. “Crumple zones” are the areas of the vehicle that are designed to collapse when there is an impact. The collapsing crumple zone absorbs a lot of force. When the force is absorbed in the crumple zone, that means it does not get transferred to the bodies of the occupants.

When larger vehicles crash into smaller vehicles, the larger vehicles tend to keep moving forward. This keeps more force away from occupants of the larger vehicle.

SUVs Are Not Always as Safe

There are aspects of SUVs that could be considered safety disadvantages. One of the biggest dangers for some SUVs is the risk of rollovers. SUVs tend to be taller vehicles than sedans, and because of their height, their center of balance is higher. This can cause particularly tall SUVs to experience rollovers during the right circumstances.

There are other safety risks when driving SUVs that you have to consider when comparing an SUV to a sedan:

  • Because SUVs are bigger, their size can make drivers think they are significantly more safe than they really are, promoting riskier driving that can lead to accidents.
  • Certain SUVs are exempt from some safety standards that cover sedans.
  • Because of their size, SUVs have greater blind spots, increasing the risk of lane change sideswipe collisions and pedestrian accidents caused by difficulty of seeing over the hood.

When looking at purchasing an SUV, research all of the various safety issues, and weigh the pros and the cons of buying each type of vehicle based on your family’s needs.

If you need a vehicle the size of an SUV for a big family, but worry about the rollover issues experienced by SUVs, consider a minivan. Minivans have the same interior size considerations as most SUVs, but unlike SUVs, minivans have a lower center of gravity, which is why minivans have a much lower rate of rollover accidents than SUVs.

Vehicle Safety Research

If you are in the market for a new vehicle and want to research the various safety ratings and safety tests that were performed on a particular model, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a good resource. The NHTSA is the federal agency responsible for performing vehicle safety testing on all vehicles sold in the United States. A portion of their website has a way to research test results for a specific vehicle that you are thinking of buying. All you have to do is enter the make and model of a vehicle in the search bar. The site will give you an overall rating, and ratings for specific types of crashes, such as frontal crash, side-impact, and rollover.

The King of Prussia Car Accident Lawyer at Anthony C. Gagliano, III, Esquire, P.C. Provide Strong Representation to People Injured in Car Accidents.

If you have suffered a serious injury in an SUV accident, contact us right away so we can begin fighting for your rights. Our knowledgeable King of Prussia car accident lawyer at Anthony C. Gagliano, III, P.C. can help. Call 267-861-7100 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation. With offices in Philadelphia and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, Anthony and his team proudly serve Norristown, Montgomery County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Chester County, and the surrounding areas.