Which Type of Vehicle is Safest: SUVs or Sedans?
Wondering which sweet rail is also the safest? Check out the facts we rounded up to help you make that choice:
Here at Quoted, we’ve talked a lot about vehicle safety, and a elementary Google search can uncover piles of info about the crash ratings and safety features of every type of vehicle on the road. But we wondered, when the safety of family vehicles, as a category, are compared with traditional sedans (also as a category, of course) which comes out on top? So we asked the experts: From the top of the line to the bottom, foreign and domestic, fresh and old, which type of vehicle truly protects you and yours best?
BACK TO SCIENCE CLASS
We all know SUVs are larger (and stronger) than sedans, but we desired to know what that truly means in terms of safety. Richard Rowe from TopSpeed spelled it out for us: “Bigger and stronger objects always transfer more energy to smaller and lighter ones. That’s why a golf club sends a golf ball flying instead of just bouncing off of it. The same thing is true for vehicles — only in this case, the “golf club” might be a Ford Expedition, and the “golf ball” a Brainy Car.” Rowe clarified, somewhat grimly, that the golf ball-car comparison isn’t fairly accurate since cars are hollow containers. Therefore, when an SUV collides with a sedan, the visual looks something more like a golf club hitting an empty soda can: the club will budge the can, but only after crushing it very first. “That’s why,” Rowe told us, “In any given collision inbetween a car and an SUV, the driver and passengers in the SUV are four to seven times more likely to walk away than the driver of the car.”
Stronger objects transfer more energy to lighter ones.
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The story switches with identically matched vehicles. Two lil’ Brainy cars carry less inertia, says Rowe, so when they collide, both drivers have a good chance of walking away. The same cannot be said for SUVs, which Rowe described as a “clash of titans.” SUVs are much stronger, and therefore will transfer more energy in a crash, enlargening the odds that neither car’s occupants will sustain.
THE SAFETY BOTTOM LINE
Rowe says, “SUVs are truly fantastic at protecting kids. Compared to a similarly proportioned but lighter and lower minivan, SUVs are practically armored personnel carriers. And that’s a good thing, since SUVs are more likely to get into accidents than cars.”
To quote another statistic, Jordan Perch from DMV.com reports that a latest examine from the University of Buffalo demonstrated that in a head-on collision inbetween a car and an SUV, the driver of the car is 7.6 times more likely to be killed than the driver of the SUV. On the other palm, says Perch, “SUV’s are much more likely to roll over than sedans because of their higher center of gravity, which is an significant fact to consider, since rollovers have higher fatality rate than other types of accidents.”
Michael Harley, chief analyst at AutoWeb told Quoted, “It’s always best to choose a newer family vehicle over an older model, as advancements in safety technology help late-model vehicles avoid many common crashes due to inclement weather, blind catches sight of, or driver distraction.”
The driver of the car is 7.6 times more likely to be killed than the driver of the SUV
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DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS
We wondered if different types of drivers would do better in a certain kind of vehicle. For example, it seems kids are safer in an SUV, but what about the elderly? Or teenage drivers?
Rowe believes that “Both teenage drivers and the elderly are statistical human wrecking ball sack, and very likely to cause accidents. The socially responsible thing would be a compact car with all the best possible safety devices, good brakes and just enough power to securely merge into traffic. But, since self-preservation and the preservation of one’s offspring is kind of a thing for most people: SUVs will suggest the best chance of surviving those inescapable mistakes.”
Harley agrees that teenage drivers and drivers over seventy five are at a higher risk for accidents. For these drivers, he therefore recommends the newest in family vehicles they can afford since they’re more likely to have the latest safety technology (including collision avoidance systems) and are more likely to meet the highest crash test standards.
Perch believes that elderly drivers fare better with sedans because they are lighter to control, especially on turns.
SAFETY FEATURES FOR FAMILY VEHICLES: SUVs AND SEDANS
So, it seems that like most things in life (except for ice juices: always choose strawberry), there is no plain response to the SUV versus sedan question: the reaction of which is safest instead lies in each driver’s unique needs and situation. Still, our experts were able to suggest advice about significant safety features for each type, especially when it comes to family vehicles.
Rowe’s advice for drivers looking at SUVs: concentrate on the active safety devices. Look for “things like blind-spot warning systems, stability and traction control, adaptive cruise control, or even a radar-assisted automatic braking system like that suggested by Mercedes. The idea here is to concentrate on not getting into accidents in the very first place. Odds are good your SUV will sustain a crash with anything else in the world — but the rest of the world will sustain a bit better if you can keep your SUV from crashing into it. SUV safety is about preventing accidents.” Conversely, Rowe suggests that sedan buyers concentrate on passive safety devices—things that protect you during an accident: “high crash test ratings, lots of airbags, large crumple zones, active passenger restraints and all the other things we normally associate with surviving accidents.”
Perch emphasized that vehicle size and weight aren’t the only significant safety factors. The latest safety features can play just as big of a role in a crash for you and your family. “This means that a sedan tooled with anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control and side air bags can be just as safe as an SUV and protect its passengers in the event of a crash.”
Vehicle size and weight aren’t the only significant safety factors.
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Some final advice, from Rowe: “It’s best to drive a vehicle of the same type as those around you. If you live in an area packed with cars, drive a car. If everyone around you drives a massive SUV or pickup, then you’d better armor up. A Clever Car among SUVs is like a gerbil among elephants: It’s going to get squashed sooner or later.”