There has been a lot of talk over the last several years about carbon dioxide emissions being the primary cause of global warming . Whether this is true or not, as a result, many people have tried to do their part and drive smaller cars that use less gasoline and in turn produce less carbon dioxide. There are others who turned to smaller vehicles to cut down on fuel costs. When the price of gas at the pump skyrocketed last summer to around $4 a gallon, consumer interest in tiny cars rose right along with gas prices.
Minicars like the Smart Car are marketing as being an intelligent solution to several of the pressing problems of the day. They are a green alternative to cars that emit more carbon dioxide, making them a socially responsible choice for the environmentally conscious consumer. On the geopolitical side they help to reduce the United States’ dependence on foreign oil. And perhaps most importantly to many consumers, they save you money at the pump.
All of those things sound great, but the flip side of the coin is this: are they safe if you get into a wreck? The automakers say yes, but a study that was just released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests that people who drive minicars may be sacrificing safety in exchange for the benefits that come with driving a minicar.
The institute set up a crash test using three different minicars: the Toyota Yaris, the Smart Fortwo, and the Honda Fit. They crashed each of them head-on into mid size cars with each of them traveling at a speed of 40 m.p.h. All three came out of the impact “poorly,” while the mid size vehicles ( a Toyota Camry, a Honda Accord, and Mercedes C-Class) that they collided with emerged from the crash test either “well” or “acceptably.”
The president of Smart USA, Dave Schembri, counters the safety questions that arise by making the point that very few collisions are head-on, and his Smart Fortwo is equipped with front and side airbags as well as an advanced electronic anti-skid mechanism to make the Smart Car very safe.
There is little doubt that a bigger car is going to come out of a head-on collision better than a car that is much smaller and lighter. This study proves what most people would suspect, and that is that you probably don’t want to be in a head-on collision while driving a Smart Car. If safety is your primary concern, steering clear of minicars may be a good idea. There is nothing especially “smart” about being involved in a high speed collision that was no fault of your own without ample protection around you. The Smart Car may be born of noble intentions, but perhaps the realities of the high speed freeway systems that we depend on to get from point A to point B make the minicar impractical from a safety perspective.
Issues like these are sensitive to us here because we care about the environment as much as the next person, but we are also passionate about automotive safety and protecting the rights of those who are injured in wrecks that could have been avoided. If you have been injured in an accident, call The People’s Lawyer, Bruce Hagen, at (404) 522-7553 or contact him through the website so that we can discuss the matter, analyze the facts, and file a claim if it is warranted so that you can be certain that you receive all of the compensation that is due you.