Are Heavier Or Lighter Cars Safer In A Crash?
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, report covering auto fatalities 2012 through 2015 confirmed the following as the safest vehicles:
- SUV -Audi Q7
- SUV -Volkswagen Tiguan
- SUV -Mazda CX-9
- Pick up -Toyota Tacoma DC-LWB
- Large Sedan -Audi A6
- SUV Jeep Cherokee
- Large Sedan -BMW 535
- SUV -Lexus RX 350
- Large Sedan -Lexus CT 200h
- SUV -Mercedes-Benz M & GLE-class
SUVs and large four door sedans are safer largely because they are heavier. The Physics of crashes simply favors the heavier mass.
For example, when a car crashes into a wall, if the front end is long enough to crush twice as much as another car’s in a barrier crash at the same speed, its restrained occupants will experience half as much force as the people in the smaller car because it takes them twice as long to stop.
When two cars going the same speed crash front to front, the outcome depends in part on the cars’ relative weights. The heavier car will push the lighter car backward during the impact, which means the velocity change of the heavier car will be much less than that of the lighter car. If the lighter car weighs half as much as the heavier car, the forces on its occupants will be twice as great.
For example, when two cars collide with each going 40 miles per hour, and one of them weighs twice as much as another, “the heavy car pushes the light one backward at 13 miles per hour. The velocity change of the light car (53 mph) is twice that of the heavier car (27 mph).”
The most deadly cars are predictably small.
Cars with the highest fatality rates are:
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