Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Small cars aren't fragile

Smart receives top crash scores

It seems like there is a strong belief that bigger/heavier cars are always safer.

Recent crash test reveals that the 8-foot, 8-inch vehicle received the highest rating of good in front-end and side-impact testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, helping address some concerns that consumers may be more vulnerable in the tiny two-seater.

While it is true that bigger/heavier are less vulnerable in accidents in general, there are the researches that show no direct correlation in increased mass and safety. Why? There is technical aspects such as center of gravity or the design to absorb impact. But I am not an expert so I would like to bring up a simple side of the issue. I think it is because it's all relative. Imagine:

Reckless large truck crashing with a small car on a highway at 100mph.

Small car colliding with a compact car in a narrow urban street at 30mph.

You can't really compare the risk of these two cases. Accidents are affected by many factors that are not related to car design itself. Even if you arm yourself with a lot of steel, it doesn't protect you from all the risks.

Small cars have their own way to be strong and accident resistant. Isn't it enough?

3 comments:

PRand said...

good counter argument for safety with small vehicles. luck plays into all the factors too.

small is beautiful.

eco-samurai said...

I really liked your article on small(micro?) house! Small, as a concept, is beautiful indeed.

Simon Schempp said...

Scientifically, this may be correct. But there are also other factors that matter in driving. The only insurance that we can control is to keep driving the safest way possible. All cars are manufactured to pass the standards. But it's still up to the drivers on how to use them. Keep safe always! :)