Most individuals who can afford to shop for vehicles beyond a certain price point spend a significant amount of time researching the pros and cons of various models before settling on one. Among the most important factors in most individuals’ decision-making is the safety rating associated with any given model. Unfortunately, most consumers are not aware that the type of vehicle they end up purchasing is a much greater indicator of overall safety than its individual rating is.
According to a newly released study conducted by experts at the University of Buffalo, the model of passenger car an individual is driving at the time it collides with a sport utility vehicle (SUV) matters far less than the fact that the driver is not similarly driving an SUV. In these types of head-on car accidents involving SUVs and passenger cars, drivers of the passenger vehicles are substantially more likely to suffer fatal injury regardless of what model they are driving at the time of impact.
The mildly positive news is that if a passenger car has a superior safety rating than the SUV it crashes into, the driver is only four times more likely to die than the occupants of the SUV. If the SUV has a superior safety rating, drivers of the passenger car are ten times more likely to die.
This is not to suggest that consumers set on purchasing passenger cars should stop caring about safety ratings. These ratings are compiled after models have been tested in a variety of scenarios. However, it is worth noting that if you are considering the purchase of a new vehicle, you are much more likely to survive in an SUV in certain kinds of crashes than you are if you are driving a passenger car.
Source: Claims Journal, “Passenger Car Drivers More Likely to Die in Crashes With SUVs Regardless of Safety Ratings,” Denise Johnson, May 15, 2013