Is the Car You Drive Equipped for Safety
Car accidents are common and can be devastating. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), just under 43,000 Americans died in car accidents in 2021, which is an alarming 10.5% increase from 2020. While factors such as driver error or inclement weather can contribute to a car accident, cars themselves might be partly to blame. Read on to learn about vehicle safety and which vehicles do well in car accidents.
What Factors Impact the Safety of a Vehicle
Different vehicle models have a variety of traits that can make a life-or-death difference in the instance of a car accident. The size, structure, and material quality of a vehicle impact its ability to withstand the force of a collision. For example, pickup trucks and SUVs are more prone to rollovers due to their height and center of gravity being farther from the ground. Conversely, small, lightweight vehicles have less structure to absorb crash energy, so the force of a crash on the passengers will be higher. This means that when a lightweight car gets into a collision with a heavier one, the light vehicle will tend to crumple on impact with the larger car, at significant risk to the passengers within.
Most Crash-Prone Vehicles
According to Insurify, the most crash-prone vehicles from 2021 are as follows:
- Compact Cars: Subaru Impreza
- Mid Size Cars: Kia Stinger, Toyota Prius
- Luxury Cars: Lexus CT, Infiniti Q60, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Subaru WRX
- Small SUVs: Mazda CX-3, Hyundai Ioniq
- SUVs: Scion FR-6
Safest and Most Crashworthy Vehicles
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the safest and most crashworthy vehicles from 2022 are as follows:
- Small Cars: Honda Civic hatchback, Honda Insight, Mazda 3 hatchback, Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
- Mid Size Cars: Honda Accord, Kia K5, Nissan Altima, Nissan Maxima, Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Toyota Camry
- Mid Size Luxury Cars: Acura TLX, Lexus ES 350, Lexus IS, Tesla Model 3, Volvo S60, Volvo S60 Recharge, Volvo V60 Cross Country
- Large Cars: Kia Stinger
- Large Luxury Cars: Audi A6, Audi A6 Allroad, Audi A7, Genesis G70, Genesis G80, Genesis G90, Mercedes-Benz E-Class
- Small SUVs: Chevrolet Trailblazer, Ford Bronco Sport, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5, Mazda CX-30, Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan Rogue, Volvo C40 Recharge, Volvo XC40, Volvo XC40 Recharge
- Mid Size SUVs: Ford Explorer, Hyundai Palisade, Hyundai Santa Fe, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Murano, Subaru Ascent, Toyota Highlander, Volkswagen ID.4
- Mid Size Luxury SUVs: Acura MDX, Acura RDX, Audi Q5, Audi Q5 Sportback, Cadillac XT6, Genesis GV70, Genesis GV80, Hyundai Nexo, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, Tesla Model Y, Volvo XC60, Volvo XC60 Recharge, Volvo XC90, Volvo XC90 Recharge
- Large SUVs: Audi E-Tron, Audi E-Tron Sportback
- Minivans: Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna
To understand how this list was generated, visit Consumer Report’s breakdown of safety criteria and how different models stack up to one another.
How to Avoid Getting Into a Car Crash
Although no one can entirely prevent accidents from occurring, there are a few steps that you can take to ensure that you are keeping yourself the safest that you can when behind the wheel.
In addition to obeying the speed limit, drivers should also consider decreasing speeds below the speed limit when going around curves and during inclement weather. When going around a bend, whether to take your exit, or drive through some backroads, be mindful that taller vehicles such as SUVs, Jeeps, or pickups are more likely to tip over. Smaller vehicles closer to the ground tend to handle curves at the same speed better than larger ones due to their center of gravity. Another speed-related danger is losing control of the wheel, such as hydroplaning or spinning out on black ice. Lighter cars using all-wheel drive are more likely to hydroplane than heavier vehicles that can break through the water, snow, and ice to make contact with the road. For this reason, lighter vehicles must take extra caution and proceed at slower speeds than larger vehicles in the same conditions.
Opt-in to Safety Features
Safety features nowadays range from airbags to accident-avoidance systems. Review the safety features built into your vehicles to ensure that you take advantage of all that is at your fingertips. Newer vehicles tend to come equipped with features that let drivers know when they are drifting out of their lane, when a car is passing nearby, or when driving too closely behind another vehicle. Accidents can happen in a split second, and being aware of and utilizing built-in features can assure you when driving.
Different Types of Crashes
Numerous situations can result in a car accident, and crashes can occur in many ways – from a minor fender bender to a multi-car pile-up. According to the NHTSA, in 2019, there were 2.8 million front impact collisions, making it the most common type of passenger vehicle collision, followed by rear impact collisions. However, there are many crashes, and understanding how they occur can help you avoid them.
The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that the most common crashes occur between two or more motor vehicles. That includes:
- Angle Collisions: Angle Collisions occur when two motor vehicles impact at an angle, typically between 90 and 180 degrees. For example, if one car T-bones another car when going through an intersection, the collision would be an angle collision.
- Head-on Collisions: Head-on Collisions occur when two motor vehicles going in opposite directions crash front-to-front or head-to-head. For example, if one car crosses the yellow lines and hits another head-on in their lane, going the opposite direction, that would be considered a head-on collision.
- Read-end Collision: Rear-end collisions occur when one motor vehicle hits the back of another going the same direction. For example, if someone stops at a pedestrian walkway to let a family cross and the driver in the car behind them fails to hit the brakes in time, it would result in a rear-end collision.
- Sideswipe & Other 2-Vehicle Collisions: Sideswipe collisions occur when two motor vehicles traveling the same direction impact side-by-side. For example, suppose one vehicle passes too closely to another. In that case, it’ll often scrape the side of the other vehicle or cause more significant damage upon impact, resulting in a sideswipe collision.
Other accidents can also occur as collisions between vehicles and objects, vehicles and pedestrians, or as non-collisions like rollovers.
Have You Been in a Car Accident? Call Our Legal Team Today.
Unfortunately, car accidents are common but often complex to navigate. Contact us today if you or a loved one has been in a car accident. At Faraci Lange, LLP we’ll help you explore your legal options and be your advocate throughout the accident claims process.
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