The safety concerns of SUVs are high, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported in 2011 that SUVs and Crossovers are safer than cars. The fatality data between 2005 and 2008 reveals that there were 28 driver deaths for every million registered SUVs when compared to 56 car driver deaths per million during the same period. Of cars, SUVs and Crossovers, Minivans are considered to be the safest among the lot with 25 driver deaths per million. Despite the figures, how SUV is safer when compared to cars and crossovers. The reason is attributed to SUV rollover propensity. SUVs are heavy and are taller when compared to cars, and this protects it from the crash. But what pulled SUV down when it comes to safety is its rollover propensity. With the high chances of a rollover, SUV is considered to be fatal during an accident.
Today’s SUVs have won over safety norms by adopting electronic stability system that can prevent rollovers. This system can detect a rollover situation and can avoid it. These are available in Ford, Volvo and Land Rover models. This safety feature was incorporated in SUVs even before the US government made it mandatory for the model above 2012. The SUV design is being constantly altered to stop rollovers and among them is lowering the center of gravity to make the vehicle stable. The current models are stable in comparison to older models. Very few car models adhere to the rollover ratings of four stars. While four is better, five is considered to be the best.
SUV Safety Aspects
There are many safety features that can make SUVs and crossovers better of the road. These include a three-point seat belt, antilock brakes, head restraints and front airbag. Apart from these three important safety features that are must in SUV and crossover to prevent accidents includes:
1. Electronic Stability System: The role of this system is to control acceleration and apply antilock brakes when the vehicle runs out of control. This can foresee a rollover situation and prevent it ahead of one. SUV manufacturers had already adapted these features even before the NHTSA made it mandatory for cars and light trucks. This is not traction control that prevents wheel spin, but there is more to it
2. Rollover Avoidance System: This system senses a rollover and kicks off the electronic stability system. Volvo XC90 kick started this system that was termed Roll Stability Control. Check for RSC before buying a vehicle.
3. Side curtain airbags: The airbags from the ceiling covers all the windows during a side impact. Though this may not be of greater impact for SUV or other taller vehicles it definitely can help during rollovers keeping the occupants safe inside the vehicle to sustain the rolls, because in most SUV rollover accidents passenger ejection is the cause of deaths.
4. Wheel and tire upgrades from unauthorized markets: Safety is the top priority and to prevent rollover ensure that you buy authorized wheel and tires. In the attempt to customize your vehicles do not compromise safety. Vehicles are integral of its parts; changing one can result in altering the system leading to dire consequences.
Safety has always been the top priority while buying cars in the recent times, with performance and looks taking a backseat. Testing the crashworthiness of a car is instrumental in protecting you and your family from fatal accidents. Each model is better than the other when it comes to crash testing, and no two models are the same. So before buying a new car it is important to check for its crashworthiness. There are many crash tests performances and not all are the same.
Crashworthiness varies from model to model. The crash ratings are conducted between models of the same class and weight. Similar models are allowed to collide to know how well they far and not model higher or lower. This is because a vehicle that is heavy protects its occupants better when compared to those that are lighter. The effect of size on vehicle score is not yet been defined by experts. Though, one test that is common for all includes the side impact crash test where the same sled rams the test vehicles. In the rear crash head, resistant ratings depend on how the seat is protected and seat geometry. Manual and powered seats perform differently in a crash test.
There are two major testing agencies, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Both these follow different guidelines for the crash test. The front tests by the NHTSA are based on the head on into a sturdy immovable target that is not bothered about the angle or obstacles of a real collision. But, on the other hand, the IIHS’s frontal crash test is on a deformable target that is more or less like another vehicle. The latter is closer to real life crashes informs experts.
The five-star New Car Assessment Program induced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has changed the way tests are conducted from the 2011 models. This program has seen changes in the new side pole test that uses wider dummy targets stimulating occupants of all sizes. Here more data is recorded to determine the overall safety ratings that combine, front and side impact and rollover propensity ratings.
The defects of the side impact test conducted by NHTSA are overcome by combining pole test to the side barrier test. This test removes the weaknesses of the barrier test that only tests a car with a sled. The IIHS makes the sled heavier and high to denote a full SUV that depicts a more dangerous situation.
The government ratings are insufficient to judge the rollover propensity because it is more of a mathematical calculation. The NHTSA in 2004 added the fishbook dynamics to the test. A star rating is given based on this percentage of chance of rollover on whether the model tipped during the fishbook test.
The IIHS in the year 2010 rated models on the resistance of four times their weight. Since the weight varies among the same models, the scores differed. The biggest defect of the rating system is that some models are not rated. The NHTSA tests for 2011 discarded ratings of many models. These testing agencies concentrate only on high volume models.