Larger cars are considered safer in an accident. How much safer? A recent study suggests a lot safer.
To meet demand for fuel efficiency, automotive manufacturers are retreating from heavy, steel-bodied vehicles. Cars and trucks of the future are likely to be built of aluminum and lighter-weight steels.
For consumers considering minicars, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) suggests these cars may be light on fuel but heavy on risk.
In an IIHS-sponsored study of 11 models of minicars, only one received an acceptable safety rating. Vehicles were tested by simulating a corner collision with an object like a tree or light pole at approximately 40 miles per hour. This small overlap test reveals how and where a vehicle absorbs energy from a glancing impact.
Findings include the following:
- Vehicles of lighter weight have inherent disadvantages when absorbing collision impact. Only one model, the Chevrolet Spark, received an acceptable rating. Even so, the Spark appeared demolished after testing.
- The structure of a minicar loses integrity quickly during a crash. Collapse of the interior cab led to seatbelt failure, airbag failure, forward movement of the seat and backward movement of the steering column toward the driver.
- Two of the models tested rated higher for leg, thigh and hip injury.
According to the senior vice president for vehicle research for the IIHS, “Unfortunately, as a group, minicars aren't performing as well as other vehicle categories in the small overlap crash.”
When considering a car, consider its safety. If injured in a car accident in Florida caused by the negligence or mistake of others, talk with a skilled injury attorney for advice.