SUVs Are Safer Than Cars: Bigger is Better, Says New Report

SUVs — high-riding and gas-guzzling — are safer to drive, according to the latest Insurance Institute for Highway Safety report. People in 2009 cars are twice as likely to die in a rollover accident as people in 2009 SUVs. The reason for the declining SUV death rate is that electronic stability control — a “computer-based system that helps drivers maintain control during abrupt maneuvers and on slippery roads,” says CNN — is now widely available on SUVs; the new technology has reduced the “tendency of SUVs to skid and flip over.”

The report also notes that “sheer size is still a big factor in auto safety.” According to the report, small cars have the highest death rates, while mid-sized or larger ones have lower scores. Also, the not-so-popular minivans rates as safer than an SUV.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is a private group financed by auto insurers.

NBC Los Angeles also says specifies which models are safest, according to the report. The Ford Edge, Nissan Armada, Land Rover Range Rover Sport, Land Rover LR3 and Honda CR-V have the lowest such rates; among luxury car models, the Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class are noted.

The report (which you can read here) brings to mind advice my dad always gave me, that big cars are safer “because you want to be in a bigger car than the one that hits you” (Thanks, dad.) Ok, that’s probably not exactly what my dad said back when I was a teenager. I do remember that, when I tried to argue for a smaller car (Volkswagen bug, Honda Civic hatchback), my arguments about paying less for gas and being able to fit in a greater percentage of parking places met deaf ears. 

One wants to drive as green as vehicle as possible, but — certainly around here in the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area, it’s just true that too many big black or white SUVs are on the road and when they shove themselves into your lane, one has little choice but to let them in.

It is somewhat ironic that, even while we may be safer driving around in Hummer-size vehicles, or in Hummers themselves, drivers of such bigger cars are, if indirectly, causing greater damage to the planet by consuming more gas and oil and emitting more carbon dioxide. Safety, it seems, comes with price tag.


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Past Member
Past Member 5 months ago

Nice efforts guys, your work is truly appreciative. Thanks a lot for this

Hannah L.
Hannah L.3 years ago

Who is it safer for?

Sarah M.
Sarah M.4 years ago

I hate SUVs and although they may be "safer" the driver, they make the roads far more dangerous for other drivers. I can't stand people who feel the need to drive SUVs.

Ann P.
A P.4 years ago

Safer for who? Don't you read or communicate with one another? Here's an article by your fellow Care2 contributer, about how SUVs are much more likely to kill others. I guess for some folks it's better to risk killing others to keep yourself safe.

John G.
John G.4 years ago

Rather than saying that SUV's are safer, I would rather say that they are safer if the driver (1) knows how to drive one and (2) knows its attributes and limitations. Obviously a four wheel car will have better traction in snow, rain or mud, will not get stuck as easily in irregular terrain and, since it tends to be larger than most passenger cars, the occupants are less likely to suffer the “crumble effect” in a major accident. On the other hand their critical speed threshold is lower than that of passenger cars so at lesser speeds, since SUV’S are higher, they are easier to overturn; and since they are heavier braking distances increase. However the most dangerous thing about them is the drivers who, since they tend to feel safer and often have no experience driving them, they will overestimate the SUV’s capacities and that is when tragedies happen.

Jeanie Johnson
Jeanie Johnson4 years ago

SUVs are also 'bigger and better ' polluters. My Dad used to say that no animal would ever foul its own bed unless it was sick. Hmmm.....

Michael C.
Michael C.4 years ago

Well, that article persuaded me, i'm going out today and buy a 
Freightliner or Kenworth. Those SUVs will look rather SMALL with me 
sitting way up there. 


Michael C.
Michael C.4 years ago

Well, that article persuaded me, i'm going out today and buy a
Freightliner or Kenworth. Those SUVs will look rather with me
sitting way up there.


Patsy L.
Patsy Lowe4 years ago

Dear Gawd; Was this planted by the SUV makers? Another commenter said what needs to be said, SUV's are killer cars. The world needs to get rid of these gas guzzlers.

Patrick F.
Patrick f.4 years ago

Ya, they are safer for the person RIDING in one, NOT the other car that gets hit by one. Just more propaganda for the benefit of the greedy oil companies. Here's their new ad campaign..."Drive a SUV or you will die"