If you are thinking of buying a vehicle, it would be a good idea to find out if the car you’re considering is likely to get you killed or seriously injured. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a report ranking vehicles according to safety tests for rollovers, and provided some recommendations to increase the safety rating of a vehicle.
Among the vehicles that the NHTSA to be safer than others from rollovers are those produced by Mazda, especially the RX-8 4-door sports car on first and the Mazda3 compact sedan on third. Luxury vehicle maker Acura’s TL sedan ranked second while the new Beetle Convertible by Volkswagen and the Hyundai Tiburon sports coupe garnered 4th and 5th place respectively.
These are all noticeably low-slung cars which is to be expected as sedans are much closer to the ground that other vehicle types, making them much more stable. Predictably, the vehicles that scored the lowest in the NHTSA tests are all sport utility vehicles (SUVs) including 4×2 versions of Ford’s Explorer, Explorer SportTrac and Mercury Mountaineer, General Motor’s Yukon, and Chevrolet’s Tahoe. So if you really want an SUV, it would be better to stick to the all-wheel version of the Chrysler Pacifica which although not precisely an SUV it is close enough for government work.
The report also stated that while sedans gain more stability with more passengers, SUVs become less so. This is a sobering thought, considering the potential for destruction of a passenger-laden SUV. As discussed by the Willis Law Firm on their website, the injuries sustained by victims in rollover accidents are often catastrophic and life-changing. When negligence plays a factor in rollover accidents, the responsible parties should be made to pay for the consequences.
The potential for rollovers is a real danger, especially in SUVs, but passengers who observe safety regulations have a greater chance of surviving it. According to the NHTSA report, about 75% of fatalities in rollover accidents were not restrained. In such cases, the safest cars in the world is no assurance of driver or passenger safety.