Does Car Size Matter in an Accident?

Does Car Size Matter in an Accident?

Small cars are now safer than they’ve ever been, with advances like stronger frames and collision-avoiding technology. But are they as safe as big trucks and SUVs in California road accidents?

The conventional wisdom has always been that a larger and heavier vehicle is much safer than a smaller one. Spoiler alert: It’s still true. Despite significant steps forward in auto technology and safety, physics always wins.

Here’s What the Experts Say About Car Size

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has done extensive testing and research on how vehicle size affects road crashes. For decades, the IIHS has come to the same conclusion again and again: All other factors aside, “A bigger, heavier vehicle provides better crash protection than a smaller, lighter one.”

These are the three main reasons why the IIHS concludes that vehicle size and weight are so important:

  • A longer distance between the front bumper and the driver provides better protection from bodily injury
  • Heavier vehicles move shorter distances in crashes, meaning the people inside are subject to less force
  • Larger vehicles are loaded with more impact-absorbing material

Here’s an example. The IIHS points out that the Kia Forte, a very small car, has excellent driver protection safety ratings. However, when the IIHS tested this car in collisions with larger vehicles, it performed poorly in terms of crumple resistance and protecting all passengers inside. A compact SUV like the Toyota Rav4 was much better at resisting the forces of large-vehicle impacts.

Size Matters When You’re in a Blind Spot

Here’s another reason size matters in car accidents. Small cars hide in other drivers’ blind spots more easily, so it’s harder to spot them - especially for semi-truck drivers.

Semi drivers and large commercial truck drivers have large blind spots where they can’t see other vehicles. A 50-foot big rig may have blind spots that extend 5 to 20 car lengths around the body of the truck.

Imagine the difference between a hulking, full-size pickup truck riding in a trucker’s blind spot compared to a tiny compact car. The SUV is simply easier for the trucker to see and avoid, while the little car is almost invisible.

Car Size Shouldn’t Stop You From Filing an Accident Claim

Beyond size, there are many other factors to consider when it comes to a car’s driveability, like fuel efficiency, environmental concerns, vehicle maneuvering, and the risk of rollovers in some SUVs and vans. Some people are just more comfortable driving a small car, perhaps because they feel it gives better visibility.

No matter what type of vehicle you drive, you can start a car accident claim after an accident. At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we work with clients who drive cars, SUVs, trucks, delivery vehicles, and even motorcycles and scooters!

If you were in a severe road accident with injuries, you may have a case for auto accident compensation. Don’t let the other driver or their insurance company convince you not to make a claim. It’s your right under California law and we’re here to help make the process as smooth as possible.


Vivien A.

"Thank you Sally Morin for taking good care of me. I called Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers after being involved in a car accident-- an accident that that left me broken emotionally and physically. When Lauren said she will work on my case, I felt so relieved. She's very compassionate, honest and very professional. Lauren negotiated with the insurance companies while I focused on getting better. After hours of therapy sessions, my left humerus is now the strongest bone. I've never felt so empowered knowing that there are people out there who will fight for us "little guys." Again, thank you Sally and Lauren... You FIERCE ladies helped me get my inner strength back. You are both beautiful and amazing!!!"

Experience a serious car accident?

Check out our San Francisco Car Accident Page to learn more about how the process works.

We Handle Your Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life

After an accident, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many types of traffic injury claims, including car accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering from your accident while we handle the legal details.

We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation.

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