It is common to think that driving a larger, heavier vehicle adds more protection from injury than driving a smaller lighter one if you are involved in a crash. While crash statistics support this statement, what does it mean for passengers in other vehicles? Attorneys who help clients recover from auto-related injuries point out that there is more than one side to this issue, which is sometimes overlooked. Deciding which is better, a smaller car or a larger one, is still a very personal choice, based on need and habits; however, it is good for drivers to understand both sides of this issue.
How Well Do Larger, Heavier Vehicles Perform In Crashes?
There are many different passenger vehicles on the road today, each brand and model built in different ways, with different objectives. There are those built for economy, fuel efficiency, luxury, and passenger safety – or with all of these things. In recent years, crash data shows that the newer designs of larger and heavier vehicles offer a considerable amount of protection from injury for passengers.
These vehicles afford protection in many ways, from vehicle height, length, and weight to the position of the battery and engine compartment. The consensus is that larger and heavier vehicles are definitely more protective. Auto accident lawyers indicate that passengers in these vehicles are as much as 25 percent less likely to be seriously injured when involved in a crash.
What About the Other Vehicles on the Road?
There is another side of this picture that auto accident attorneys state is frequently overlooked when considering the safety offered by larger, heavier vehicles to drivers and passengers. What about the risk posed by large vehicles to smaller cars on the road? There is definitely an increased risk of injury or death to passengers in smaller, lighter vehicles due to a number of factors, including vehicle weight, height, and improper alignment of energy-absorbing structures built into vehicles.
This statistic has improved somewhat in recent years as car designers have made adjustments to the energy-absorbing structures in larger, taller vehicles to better align with those in smaller, lower vehicles; however, weight and size continue to play a big part in these incidents. It is a fact of physics that a smaller, lighter vehicle when hit by a larger, heavier one will sustain more damage – something auto accident lawyers say drivers of smaller cars must take into consideration.
The Question of Safety Over Economy
Although there are many reasons why drivers choose larger or smaller vehicles, some of the main reasons include vehicle safety, affordability, and economy. This presents a dilemma, according to auto accident attorneys, one that questions whether safety has been sacrificed by some consumers over affordability and economy. There are other drivers opting for safety and foregoing economy – and a more affordable vehicle. There are also some who want a safer vehicle, but simply cannot afford it.
In light of this dilemma, automobile designers are working to bring these three important details closer together in vehicles that possess all of these qualities. The goal of a lighter, more cost-effective and affordable vehicle that is still as strong as the heavier, less economical ones is finding its way into reality. The lawyers who handle auto accident claims advise that it will take some time before these newer vehicles show a significant effect on safety statistics.
It is important for car buyers to consider how they will use their vehicle and the importance of crash safety and economy to them. As vehicles become more efficient, safety will likely improve. For now, lawyers who handle auto accident claims indicate there are still two distinctively different sides of this concern. Which vehicle to purchase, and which factor to sacrifice, is a purely individual decision that should be carefully considered.
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