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Are SUVs Safer than Cars

Stephen Rampur
Some people prefer buying SUVs than cars just because of the perception that these are safer than cars. But are SUVs safer than cars in practice or is it a myth? Let us find out...

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When any automobile is made, it has to successfully pass through mandatory tests, which proves its safety and stability on road. Vehicles are tested in conditions simulating slippery roads, terrain, gravel, mud, and snow. Moreover, they also have to pass rollover and crash tests.
This is when government authorities (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) officially approve the assembly line production.
There has always been a debate regarding if SUVs are better than cars for on-road safety. When it comes to safety, the best brand that comes to the mind is the Swedish auto giant 'Volvo'. All cars and SUVs from this brand come with top-notch features that prevent accidents or protect occupants after a collision. But in general, are SUVs safer to drive, compared to cars?

Vehicle Safety - The Driver's Responsibility

Regardless of the technologies incorporated in SUVs, cars, and pickup trucks; all vehicles are prone to accidents. This clearly means that it is not only the type of vehicle that provides for passenger safety, but there are other factors too. The first factor is the skill and control of the person behind the wheels.
If the person is a skilled driver, there are more chances of accident prevention than in a situation where the driver is not so experienced.
Secondly, the maintenance of the vehicle matters considerably, when it comes to safe travel. If the vehicle is not in a well-maintained state, the chances of accidents are far more than that of a maintained vehicle.
It has been observed that a small percentage of accidents happen due to car parts giving way on the highway when the car is in motion. Thirdly, abiding by traffic safety rules is also important for avoiding an unfortunate incident on the highway.
Many people have doubts regarding the safety provided by SUVs and cars, which we are going to clear in the following part of the story.

Are SUVs Safer than Cars?

If we take a look at the survey carried out by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), it concludes that SUVs are safer than cars. This report centers on a fact that those traveling in SUVs are half as likely to die in road accidents than those in cars.
The study was backed up by driver fatality rates for SUVs compiled between 2006 and 2009. The fatality rate was reported to be about half of that in the case of cars.
It was recorded that the worst cars for road safety were Nissan 350Z, Nissan Versa, Chevrolet Aveo, Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet Malibu Classic, Kia Spectra, and Hyundai Tiburon. Whereas, Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class 4MATIC were considered to be the safest cars in the survey.
Earlier, the rollover risk of SUVs was much greater than that of cars. Before the implementation of Electronic Stability System (ESC) in SUVs, cars were considered safer. However, since ESC has been incorporated in most SUVs, the fatality rate has decreased substantially.
If the statistics of SUVs manufactured between 1999 and 2002 are to be studied, there were 82 driver fatalities for a million registered vehicles, which is a huge death rate.
Surprisingly, with models produced in the years 2005 to 2008, the fatality rate reduced substantially to just 28 per million registered vehicles. This decline in death rate was majorly due to the advancements of ESC systems.
Owing to optimum safety, US government road safety authorities have made it mandatory for all passengers vehicles manufactured from 2012 to have ESC as a standard. The inclusion of ESC systems in SUVs is an add-on to the massive body and bulky weight which reduces fatality rates.
Models such as Land Rover Range Rover Sport, Land Rover LR3, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Edge, Nissan Armada, and Honda CR-V are believed to be the safest in the SUV category.
Traditionally, the chassis and body of SUVs is well built with durable metals, which obviously makes them safer than cars. These machines usually have strong steel cages joint to the chassis, to provide maximum rollover protection to occupants. Let us take a look at some of the safety features commonly found in cars and SUVs produced today.

Advanced Safety Features in Cars and SUVs

★ All Wheel Drive (AWD) Technology
★ Electronic Stability Control (ESC) Systems
★ Automatic Crash Notification Systems
★ Automatic Braking Systems
★ Lane Departure Warning Systems
★ Adaptive Cruise Control Systems
★ Precrash System
★ Adaptive Headlamps or Cornering Headlights
All these systems collectively work together and render optimal safety to passengers before, during and after a collision or a rollover. Generally speaking, SUVs seem to be safer than cars due to ESC, bigger body, more weight, rollover protection, and so on.
For utmost road safety, drive a well-maintained SUV with most safety features mentioned here. And do not miss out on obeying traffic and safe driving rules. Drive safe!!!