Are Drivers of Small Cars Really at Greater Risk in Auto Accidents?
There’s a lot to consider when picking out a new car, but fuel efficiency and safety are two of the most commonly considered factors. Small cars are usually much more fuel efficient, but recent scrutiny suggests that they might not be as safe as larger vehicles. Read on to get the facts behind small vehicle safety.
Are Smaller Cars Less Safe Than Larger Cars?
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a car’s size and weight both impact its safety during a crash. Bigger, heavier cars tend to offer more protection to their occupants. Large cars tend to have a longer distance between the front of the vehicle and the driver’s seat. This distance gives the car a bigger “crush zone,” which lowers the amount of force transmitted to the driver and passengers in a front-end crash. Heavier cars also tend to push lighter vehicles backwards, further reducing the amount of force.
When tested, small cars tend to receive good safety ratings against other small cars, but tend to test poorly against midsize or large cars. SUVs and pickup trucks are particularly dangerous as small cars run the risk of under-riding them. Conversely, drivers or larger, heavier vehicles are less likely to experience deadly injury than drivers of small cars.
IIHS data also suggests that drivers of small cars tend to suffer from more serious injuries than drivers of large cars. While more stringent safety standards have dramatically reduced the number of injuries and deaths due to traffic accidents over the past few decades, the simple fact is that small car drivers are more likely to suffer from concussions, whiplash, back and neck injuries, and fractures.
Recovering From a Car Accident
If you are thinking of purchasing a new car, this information might be enough to sway your decision. However, cars of all sizes can and do become involved in accidents that cause serious injuries. If you’re in a car accident, it is important to seek medical assistance immediately. Some injuries are not immediately apparent, making a medical professional’s guidance particularly important.
The sudden, jarring movements that result from a car collision can lead to lingering pain and disability. Working with a chiropractor promptly after an accident can help to ensure that these impacts are short-lived. Your chiropractor will work to identify any stretched ligaments or tears as well as ensure that your spine is in correct alignment. This is particularly important in the case of whiplash, which can cause severe pain as well as blurred vision, dizziness, neck stiffness, headaches, low back pain, and a reduced range of motion in the neck.
Remember—drivers of smaller cars are at a greater risk of injury in an auto accident than drivers of bigger cars. However, there are several smart things you can do to reduce your overall risk no matter what kind of car you happen to drive. Develop strong defensive driving habits, make good use of all your vehicle’s safety features and be sure to visit your chiropractor promptly if you are involved in a collision. Chiropractic physicians are experts at diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems, including those related to auto accidents. Our goal is to help you recover as quickly and completely as possible!