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  1. #1
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    Sort of s/o on car size and safety

    I was just reading through the post about owners of small cars and I'm looking for some info. I srive a Pilot and DH drives a '98 Nissan Sentra. After experiencing a terrifying accident several years ago, I feel safe in my big old car. Not so much b/c it is big and I think big is better/safer, but b/c I feel more equal to many of the cars I see on the road. I don't see all that many small cars anymore. In DH's car, I feel so tiny, almost on the ground b/c everyone around me seem so large. Does that make sense???

    While I know crash test ratings were satisfactory on his Sentra I wonder if there is any research proving that larger cars are actually safer due to the fact that you are more likely to get into an accident with one whether in a small or large car. I am terrified when in his car and hate driving it which I rarely do. I may be way off on my thinking, but am just wondering. I'm lobbying for DH to get a bigger car, not necessrily an SUV but something with 6 cylinders.

    Anywhere I can search for info. TIA

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  3. #2
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michele12 View Post
    I was just reading through the post about owners of small cars and I'm looking for some info. I srive a Pilot and DH drives a '98 Nissan Sentra. After experiencing a terrifying accident several years ago, I feel safe in my big old car. Not so much b/c it is big and I think big is better/safer, but b/c I feel more equal to many of the cars I see on the road. I don't see all that many small cars anymore. In DH's car, I feel so tiny, almost on the ground b/c everyone around me seem so large. Does that make sense???

    While I know crash test ratings were satisfactory on his Sentra I wonder if there is any research proving that larger cars are actually safer due to the fact that you are more likely to get into an accident with one whether in a small or large car. I am terrified when in his car and hate driving it which I rarely do. I may be way off on my thinking, but am just wondering. I'm lobbying for DH to get a bigger car, not necessrily an SUV but something with 6 cylinders.

    Anywhere I can search for info. TIA
    Up to a point (about 4000 pounds or so), statistics have shown that vehicle weight does correlate to a decrease in fatalities in multi-vehicle head-on crashes. The catch is that many larger vehicles have more fatalities in single vehicle crashes (wall, pole) and from rollovers. This is probably due to the stiffer frames and inferior handling of trucks and truck-based SUVs. For that reason, the safest segment of vehicles tend to be large family cars and minivans, though there are certainly exceptions.

    A number of cars can be found in every class of vehicle today that are very safe and have a full set of safety features like side curtain airbags and stability control. Even many pickups and large SUVs have improved significantly from just 5-10 years ago.

    The best resource right now for comparing vehicle safety across classes is www.informedforlife.org . In addition to using all the available crash tests, it also uses weight and safety features and combines them all into one relative risk rating based on available statistics and studies. In the past, combined rating attempts like this have always been somewhat arbitrary, weighting one factor higher than another without any statistical merit. Also see our webpage at www.suvsafety.info .

  4. #3
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    Thanks for the info Darren!
    I am wondering why informedforlife.com has ratings for pretty much every year except 1998. I see 2004-2007, 1999-2002 and 1994-1997. My car in question is a 98. Weird
    Last edited by michele12; 10-17-2006 at 01:35 PM.

  5. #4
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Actually, the useful ratings at www.informedforlife.org started in 2004. Even then, many vehicles lacked side impact tests and the results were not as useful as in later years. By 2006, many vehicles have a full set of test results and no "blanks" in the field.

    The earlier results are not based on crash test data or other comparable factors. The 1994-2002 (excluding 1998) data is straight from the IIHS fatality statistics. These statistics are not nearly as reliable because they have a large element of driver demographics in them. The results from 2004-2007 try to mimic the earlier fatality statistical rating by using measures like crash test scores, weight and safety features.

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