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What's safer in a crash: SUVs or sedans?

While it's important to look at crash-test ratings when you go to buy a new vehicle, they aren't the only factor you should consider. That's because crash-test scores only tell a portion of the story in terms of your risk for becoming seriously injured in a car crash. Even if crash-test ratings are high, you may still find yourself at a significant risk of becoming involved in a potentially deadly crash, especially if the cars involved are mismatched in size.

Researchers who collaborated on a recent University of Buffalo study found that when two cars mismatched in size collide, the lighter of the two is most apt to sustain the brunt force of the damage.

As a result, the researchers determined that the risk of a sedan's driver dying in an accident is nearly eight times higher than the risk the SUV driver faces if the two collide. Even in cases where the car has a higher crash-test score than an SUV, a sedan's driver still has nearly five times higher of a risk of dying in a car crash than their SUV driving counterparts.

The reason why researchers tend to look closely at front impact crashes as opposed to other kinds is because they are believed to account for at least one half of all motorists' deaths. Those who drive cars with crash ratings of good are 46 percent less likely to lose their lives in front impact crashes. Motorists riding in marginally ranked cars are 33 percent less likely to die in a car crash compared to motorists driving poorly rated ones.

Researchers note that SUVs have their own inherent safety concerns. Although every SUV manufactured since 2012 is required to have an onboard Electronic Stability Control (ESC) to help prevent against rollovers, they still occur. Rollovers in 2010 alone claimed the lives of 6,800 motorists. Most hadn't been strapped in using their seat belts at the time.

If you've been seriously hurt or killed due to someone else's negligence, then a San Bernardino SUV accident attorney may advise you of your right to file a lawsuit in your accident case.

Source: Consumer Reports, "SUVs are safer than cars in front crashes, but there is more to the story," accessed Nov. 24, 2017

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