A car’s safety rating is determined by several of its features, including the size and weight of the vehicle, its body structure, and what kind of features it has. However, one thing that may not be on your mind regarding safety is the type of vehicle you’re driving.
Of course, all cars are built with safety in mind – that’s why they have airbags, seat belts, and other features designed to protect passengers during an accident. But some types of vehicles are inherently safer than others.
If you want to purchase a new vehicle (or are just curious), here are a few reasons SUVs can be safer than other vehicles.
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1. SUVs Offer Better Visibility Than Most Cars
This is one of the most significant motivations for the rise in the popularity of SUVs over the last decade.
Many people feel more comfortable driving an SUV because they have larger windows and windshields than cars, making it easier to see the road and what’s around them, especially on the highway.
SUVs have better visibility than other types of cars because they have a higher seating position.
This means SUV drivers can see farther down the road than in regular cars, giving them more time to react when something happens, like an accident or someone making a mistake.
Not only do SUVs provide better visibility to the driver, but their larger bodies ensure your vehicle is more visible to other motorists on the road.
The larger size of an SUV makes them easier to see from farther away – which means other drivers can react sooner if they need to stop quickly.
These features help keep you safer when driving in all types of conditions.
2. SUVs Have Better Handling in Challenging Weather and Bad Road Conditions
When you drive an SUV, you can immediately feel the difference in handling.
The design of a car’s chassis determines how safely it will perform under stress. Due to SUVs being heavier and broader than other cars, they are generally more stable.
This is especially important when driving on rough roads, in bad weather, or off-road.
Since SUVs are built for off-roading, their tires are designed with extra grip so they can handle rougher terrain when necessary.
When you have good handling, it’s much easier to control your vehicle, even when driving on slippery roads or during a heavy downpour.
This means SUVs are much less likely to lose control on loose surfaces like gravel or snow compared to smaller cars that weren’t designed for these conditions.
The suspension on an SUV is designed to help you drive over rough terrain and uneven surfaces more easily. It absorbs bumps and potholes in the road, making driving smoother and safer for the passengers in your vehicle.
It will also feel less bumpy when driving on rough roads because of its higher ground clearance, so it won’t bottom out as easily as other vehicles.
This is one of the main safety reasons many individuals buy SUVs over other cars, especially if they live in areas where bad weather is typical during winter.
3. SUVs are Bigger and Heavier Than Most Cars
One of the fundamental reasons SUVs are safer than other cars is that they are much heavier and larger than most other cars on the road today. That’s why people prefer buying big SUVs.
This means they can better absorb impact when colliding with another vehicle or an object in the road, like a tree or pole.
It also makes them more stable on the road and less likely to lose control during a sudden swerve.
While they might be more susceptible to experiencing rollovers due to their higher center of gravity than cars, their bigger heavy bodies mean that passengers are more protected in this situation than if they were in a car.
An SUV’s size and weight mean it takes longer to stop after an impact and has less stopping power than smaller vehicles. But this also means that when an SUV hits something, it will hit harder – causing more damage to whatever it hits.
Ultimately, SUVs are larger than most cars on the road today, which means they offer better protection from side impacts and head-on collisions because more metal is between the road and passengers.
4. SUVs have Larger Crash Zones
Crash zones are areas of a car that will bend and crumple in the event of a collision.
This zone stops the power from being transferred to the car’s passengers by absorbing some of the impact’s energy.
Since engineers must consider several variables, including size, weight, frame rigidity, and the stress the car will receive in a collision, designing a crumple zone is a complex operation.
Due to SUVs being bigger than most other cars, they have larger crash zones. This is needed because their heavy weight increases the energy they will receive during collisions.
Therefore, the larger crash zones of SUVs help absorb a significant amount of a crash’s impact and protect passengers from injury more so than other cars with smaller crash zones.
5. SUVs Have Better Crash Test Ratings
Before purchasing a new or used car, you’ll probably look at the vehicle’s safety ratings since accidents can occur anytime.
These ratings also aid in predicting how well you’ll be shielded from harm in the case of an accident.
Crash rating tests are performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
These tests rate new vehicle models based on how well their body upholds and protects occupants in a crash. These ratings are based on the following:
- The frontal crash: Attempts to simulate collisions among two cars of comparable sizes and involves smashing a car head-on into a solid barrier at 35 miles per hour to resemble a head-on impact.
- Side barrier crashes: Replicates a T-bone collision between two vehicles at a crossroads. In the test, a moving obstacle strikes the driver’s side of a stopped car at 38.5 mph.
- Side pole test: Imitates a collision with a telephone pole. A vehicle is slanted and hauled at 20 mph against a pole close to the driver’s door.
- The rollover test: Determines how likely a car will topple over following a quick swerve.
Vehicles with high safety ratings have fewer fatal crashes than vehicles with low ones.
Generally, most SUVs earn better crash test ratings than smaller vehicles.
The IIHS has also found that SUV occupants are less likely to suffer severe injuries in frontal crashes than people in other types of vehicles.
This is reflected through research that gives higher ratings for passenger protection in rollover crashes for some SUVs than for cars with similar weight rankings.
While an SUV may be safer to drive, it can be slightly harder to drive. Please read our article on reasons why SUVs are harder to drive.
6. SUVs Have Better Safety Features Than Regular Cars
SUVs offer more protection to passengers than other types of cars because they have more space between the cabin and the ground.
With bigger vehicles, there is more room for airbags and impact-absorbing materials to protect passengers during an accident.
Many modern SUVs offer extra safety features that may not be available on smaller cars, including:
- Airbags for both rows of seats, including side-curtain airbags
- Adaptive cruise control
- Lane-departure warning systems
- Rearview cameras alert drivers when they’re getting too close to other vehicles or objects behind them on the road
- Antilock brakes
- Electronic stability control
These features can help drivers avoid accidents in the first place.
Overall, SUVs have better safety ratings than other vehicles because they are designed with these safety features in mind.
If you’re weighing up options over which is the safest car to purchase for your family, take a look at our article about why SUVs are safer than minivans and sedans.
SUVs are a big part of the American landscape and present a nice blend of size and safety, which most drivers will find appealing.
Crash rating tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have shown that SUVs are generally safer to drive than regular cars.
All in all, your family’s safety is of the highest importance. If you have the budget for it, by all means, go for the SUV. It is safer than a sedan or sports car for you and your family.
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