Does Car Size Determine Safety on the Road?

August 13, 2021

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (“IIHS-HLDI”) states fairly bluntly that “[a] bigger, heavier vehicle provides better crash protection than a smaller, lighter one, assuming no other factors are involved. The longer distance from the front of [the smaller] vehicle to the occupant compartment in a larger vehicle offers better protection in frontal crashes. Heavier vehicles also tend to continue moving forward in crashes with lighter vehicles and other obstacles, so the people inside them are subject to less force.”

The IIHS-HLDI goes on to examine the differences, stating in its section entitled “How Size and Weight Affect Safety” that “[b]oth size and weight affect the forces people inside a vehicle experience during a crash.” How much of a difference it makes when it comes to protecting against an injury “depends on the magnitude of these forces.”

These considerations may be important when buying a car or truck, to the extent that they should at least be taken into account. If you have suffered from injuries as a result of a car accident, contact an Easton car accident attorney at Drake, Hileman & Davis for help.

How Size Matters – Our Easton Car Accident Attorney Explains

So, in larger-sized vehicles, the greater the length from the back of the vehicle to the occupants’ seats, the greater protection is provided in frontal crashes, which account for more than half of passenger vehicle occupant deaths.

In other words, a larger vehicle means the accident is happening farther from the passenger compartment, giving longer crumple zones time to absorb energy and more metal in the cage surrounding you.

The Importance of Vehicle Weight

Weight is also important during collisions. Larger vehicles tend to push lighter vehicles back and into oncoming traffic during the impact. The result is less force on the people inside the heavier vehicle and more force on those in the lighter vehicle.

Mitigating Factors

Advances in technology have begun to narrow the gap between smaller, light cars and bigger, heavier cars and trucks. For example, many smaller cars are now made to react quicker and are nimble enough to avoid accidents altogether, and advances are being made in developing stronger, lighter materials for car exteriors.

Of course, these advances are being applied to larger, heavier vehicles as well, which bodes well for everyone who drives. And remember: For the most part, it’s not the vehicle that causes the accident. It’s the driver.

An Easton Car Accident Attorney Can Help with Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor vehicles are dangerous no matter what vehicle is being driven. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, contact an Easton car accident attorney at Drake, Hileman & Davis by phone at 610-258-9493 or online for your free consultation. We’ll help you with your insurance and legal claims so that you can focus on your recovery.