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Are SUVs Safer than Sedans? Safety Facts & FAQ

SUV and sedan on the street

Cars are a big part of everyday life, getting us to and from while we go about our lives. From trucks, sedans, and SUVs, there are numerous types of vehicles with their own pros and cons. Safety is perhaps the most important consideration, especially if you’ll be transporting family. Every class of vehicle has its own safety stats, but how do SUVs fare against sedans?

People riding in an SUV are 50% more likely to survive an otherwise fatal car crash than people in a sedan. It’s somewhat obvious why: SUVs are larger and have larger crumple zones. These are portions of the vehicle designed to crumple in impacts and divert shockwave force away from occupants. Being able to mitigate more force in an accident makes them safer, plus myriad other safety features being developed in recent years help too.

car and road divider

How Momentum Affects Safety

woman driving at night
Image Credit: Daniel Jedzura, Shutterstock

The other most important factor is momentum. SUVs are heavier than sedans, and their greater inertia in accidents negates much of the force produced by other cars in crashes. They also have a higher center of gravity and more reinforcement than sedans, which makes them particularly safe for children.

Unfortunately, momentum goes both ways. In a car crash between an SUV and a sedan, the sedan will be more damaged than if it had collided with another sedan. Drivers in sedans that get into accidents with SUVs are consistently more likely to suffer serious injuries or die, but statistics vary. Some estimates say sedan drivers are 10 times more likely to die in a crash with an SUV, while other studies on head-on collisions say sedan drivers are 10% more likely to die.

Are SUVs More Likely to Roll Over Than Sedans?

white lexus suv
Image Credit: vogas, Pixabay

Sadly, yes. The high center of gravity in SUVs makes them more prone to rolling over than sedans, and drivers have a greater chance of dying in a rollover incident. This means they’re more vulnerable to extreme winds or other weather. Also, adding more people into an SUV further destabilizes the vehicle and makes rolling over easier.

The danger of rollovers can’t be understated. While rollover accidents only comprise less than 5% of fatal car accidents, deaths were in excess of 30%! This is especially common in older SUVs, which tended to have weak roofs that make rollover incidents even more deadly.

The best thing you can do to prevent serious injury and death in case of a rollover incident is to wear your seat belt. According to data by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 63% of deaths in rollover accidents were from people being ejected from the vehicle. By wearing a seat belt in any vehicle, SUV or not, you can instantly minimize your chances of being hurt or killed in a rollover accident.

car and road divider

Does Safety Rating for Sedans Matter in Crashes with SUVs?

Yes! The safety rating of a sedan will greatly affect how they fare in a crash against an SUV. However, even highly rated sedans are far more likely to sustain serious damage and injury. They’re better than lower rated sedans, but still 4.5 times more likely to sustain injury or die in a collision with an SUV.

What Safety Features to Look for in an SUV

side airbag
Image Credit: Attapon Thana, Shutterstock

While SUVs are safer than sedans, you should be looking out for other safety features to help prevent accidents. Some examples of useful safety features include backup cameras, lane-keep assistance, and collision detection. However, you should also check out the airbags, seat belts, and crumple zones of an SUV before buying it.

car and road divider

Conclusion

SUVs are far safer for drivers than sedans, making them 50% less likely to be hurt or killed in accidents. Unfortunately, they’re also more prone to rolling over and will damage sedans more seriously. Before buying an SUV, you should be aware of how your choice of vehicle will affect your safety and the safety of other motorists.


Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

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