Are SUVs Safer than Passenger Cars?

Jan 30

Consumer Reports shows that an SUV is often safer than a passenger car if it’s involved in a rear-end or front-end crash. That is one reason why some drivers opt for this kind of vehicle. However, SUVs also roll over more easily than other cars because they sit farther off the ground.

Both cars and SUVs can be in crashes that lead to serious injuries. If this happens to you, seek help from an Indiana car accident attorney immediately. 


SUV Safety Practices

To ensure that your SUV is safe, it helps to understand how rollovers can happen. Because an SUV sits up higher off the ground, it has a higher center of gravity. If an SUV is lighter, it will roll over more easily. So, driving a heavier and larger SUV can reduce rollover risk.

It also helps to stick to the posted speed limit and slow down around corners and curves. Don’t try to turn too quickly, or your SUV could end up on its side. That can also lead to some serious injuries. If another vehicle collides with an SUV, it may also cause the SUV to roll over, so you need to make it a habit to drive defensively. 

Also, the boxy shape and heavier weight of an SUV cause it to tip more easily, especially if you’re switching lanes.

Studies show that rollover crashes are three times more likely to be fatal compared to other types of accidents. While electronic stability control systems, mandated in all vehicles since 2012, have helped reduce SUV rollover, they still lead other cars concerning this safety hazard.

So, remember, sudden steering, braking, or accelerating can cause an SUV to tip. Always keep your speed in check and avoid abrupt maneuvers. Evenly distribute heavy gear and luggage. An uneven load or too much weight can negatively impact handling and stability.


SUV Passengers Are More Likely to Be Ejected

In addition, statistics reveal that SUV passengers are more likely to be partially or fully ejected from the vehicle, even if they’re wearing seatbelts. This greatly increases the chance of fatal injury or death. The higher seating position and more upright sitting posture, combined with a larger window area, make occupants more vulnerable to being thrown from the cars.


SUVs Weigh More Than Cars 

SUVs typically weigh significantly more than passenger cars, which means collisions involving SUVs produce higher impact forces. All that extra weight and size comes with some major downsides in the event of a crash.


Greater Momentum

The heavier an SUV is, the more momentum it builds up when moving at a given speed. This momentum makes it much harder to slow down or quickly change direction. In a collision, there are likely to be more serious injuries or fatalities.


More Serious Crashes

SUVs are designed to withstand impacts with other large vehicles, not smaller passenger cars. Therefore, their greater size and weight can overpower the structural integrity of a passenger car in a wreck. As a result, people in smaller vehicles are ten times more likely to die when involved in a crash with an SUV than another type of car.

While this may protect you if you’re driving an SUV, you’ll may be liable for the injuries or wrongful death of the other party if you’re found to be at fault.

While the larger mass of an SUV provides some protection in a crash, it also causes more damage to other vehicles or anything else it hits.

So, when choosing an auto, you need to consider how a vehicle handles impacts and protects its occupants. 


SUVs Often Have Longer Braking Distances Than Cars

Another major danger associated with SUVs is their longer braking distances compared to other cars. The heavier weight of an SUV means it takes more time and distance to come to a total stop. According to studies, SUVs can have braking distances up to 10% longer than other vehicles on the road. At higher speeds, this difference in braking becomes even more pronounced and dangerous.


Newer Safety Features Are Improving SUV Safety

Many of the latest models of today’s SUV offer technological advancements that were only found in luxury vehicles just a few years ago.


Standard Safety Features

Most new SUVs now come standard with anti-lock brakes, stability control, multiple airbags, rearview cameras, and emergency braking assistance. These features work together to help avoid collisions and reduce injuries in a crash.


Emergency Braking

Systems like emergency automatic braking with pedestrian detection use cameras and radar to detect potential front-end collisions. If the driver doesn’t react quickly enough, the vehicle can automatically apply the brakes to avoid or mitigate a crash. This technology has been shown to reduce rear-end crashes by up to 40 percent.


Lane Keeping Assistance

SUVs with lane-keeping assistance have cameras that monitor lane markings on the road. If the vehicle starts to drift out of its lane without the turn signal on, the system provides a visual, audible, or haptic warning to alert the driver in the car. It can even gently nudge the steering wheel to guide the SUV back into the proper lane. This helps combat drowsy or distracted driving as well.


Blind Spot Monitoring

Blind spot monitoring uses sensors to detect vehicles in an SUV’s blind spots and alerts the driver with a warning light or a chime. This technology helps avoid dangerous lane changes by making the driver aware of any vehicles around them that may be hidden from view.

Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to vehicle safety. Some smaller cars can hold their own just fine. That’s why it’s important to understand the risks and benefits of buying an SUV and why it’s important to drive defensively.


Speak to a Car Accident Lawyer in Indiana Now

Do you need to file a personal injury claim in Indiana? Have you recently been involved in an auto accident that was not your fault? If so, reach out to the law firm of Blackburn Romey. Contact us to schedule a consultation now.


Tom Blackburn

Blackburn Romey founding partner Tom Blackburn graduated with honors receiving a degree from Indiana University at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Initiating his legal career in 1977, he has been active in practicing law and currently serves as a member of the Indiana State Bar Association on the Ethics and Advertising Committees, the American Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, as a board member at the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, and as an appointed member of the Executive Committee for the State of Indiana for the National Trial Lawyers Association.

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