How Vehicle Size Affects Safety
The effects of vehicle size in motor vehicle accidents have been studied in numerous contexts, and tend to demonstrate one simple fact: the bigger your car, the safer you are, and vice versa. At the obvious extremes, motorcycles are threatened by every other vehicle on the road, whereas trucks tend to do the threatening themselves, but even among mid-size cars (SUVs, sedans, luxury vehicles, etc.), increased size has been directly correlated to lower fatality rates.
These findings don’t fully account for every factor related to vehicle sizes, such as average miles, driver tendencies, or the prevalence of extra safety devices in luxury vehicles, but they’re nonetheless quite telling.
Why Bigger Vehicles Are Safer
So, why are larger vehicles safer in crashes? A trifecta of features and properties tends to account for this “bigger is better” reality:
- Larger vehicles sport a longer distance from the front of the car to the occupants within, allowing for the frame of the vehicle to crumple more extensively in head-on crashes before it begins to crush drivers and their passengers. This also tends to reduce the risk of catastrophic engine damage and secondary fires.
- Massive objects have a stronger tendency to maintain their direction and velocity in a collision, which holds true for cars as well. Larger vehicles experience less sudden deceleration and may completely shunt aside other cars, resulting in less force experienced by their occupants.
- Especially among older SUVs and large vehicles, bumpers and other collision-absorbing structures in the vehicle tend to be both higher on the vehicle and more rigid, making it more likely for these cars to ride up onto the hoods of smaller vehicles, crushing them from above while mitigating their own auto accident damages. Recent industry changes have fairly effectively addressed this, but it remains an issue in some accidents nonetheless.
Recovering From an Arizona Auto Accident
Of course, no matter how large your vehicle may be, you can still suffer catastrophic damages in an Arizona auto accident, especially during types of collisions which may negate many of the advantages of a larger vehicle (such as t-bone crashes). If you’ve been a victim of one such crash, it’s important to know what steps you should take to successfully recover, both physically and financially:
- Prioritize the safety and well being of all involved parties, ensuring that anyone who needs it receives emergency medical treatment. Even if you seem uninjured or very lightly injured, you need to visit a doctor within the week for a full examination, as you may have delayed-onset injuries or simply be in shock.
- Contact the police and ensure that your accident is appropriately recorded; start to gather evidence of your own, and then request a copy of your incident police report after at least two weeks have passed. You’ll also want to open a claim with the appropriate insurance company at this time.
- Schedule a free consultation with one of ELG’s Phoenix auto accident attorneys at (623) 877-3600 to discuss your options and learn more about whether or not you would benefit from legal assistance. Even if you agree that you might not need representation, it’s always a good idea to talk to a professional to have your questions answered.