While conditions that are outside of most drivers’ control, such as driver error, road conditions and unforeseen circumstances, contribute to the occurrence of car accidents, there are a few decisions drivers can make that may help improve their prospects when collisions do happen. In addition to driving defensively and moderating their speed, the automobile they select may also play an important role in accident outcomes. The bottom line is that certain vehicles are simply safer and better equipped for accidents than others.
Safety report cards
Defects, such as air bag and seat belt failures, pop into our heads when we think about unsafe cars; however, certain vehicles’ designs have simply proven safer in independent tests. Specifically, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute have developed a vehicle rating system based on a number of factors, including performance in different types of crashes, rollovers and side impacts, and protection that seat and head restraints provide against rear impact¬related neck injuries.
Using these factors, the IIHS awards its Top Safety Pick Plus honor to vehicles in a variety of size categories. The IIHS warns consumers not to compare results across categories, as size and weight influence the degree of protection a vehicle provides in collisions. The Top Safety Pick Plus honorees for 2013 include:
- Ford Focus 4-door (small cars)
- Dodge Avenger (mid-size moderately priced cars)
- Lincoln MKZ (mid-size luxury and near-luxury cars)
- Subaru Forester (small SUVs)
- Volvo XC60 (mid-size luxury SUVs)
- Honda Odyssey (minivans)
The flip side: inherently unsafe vehicles
While selecting one of these vehicles may not prevent accidents, the safety features they offer may minimize damages in the event of an accident. On the other hand, other vehicles have proven inherently unsafe in accidents, due to various defects in design, manufacturing and product malfunction. For example, Toyota recently recalled certain Tacoma pickup trucks due to a defect in the seat belt construction. Needless to say, most of us are also familiar with the propensity of certain makes of smaller SUVs to roll over, causing serious injuries to drivers and passengers.
It’s important that those injured in an accident caused by dangers posed by the vehicle itself speak immediately with a competent auto accident attorney, who can fight for their rights against the parties responsible for their injuries.