Does Driving an SUV Give You a False Sense of Security?

If you have ever driven an SUV, then you probably know the feeling of having all of that metal and plastic surrounding you as well as all of the heft that comes with that added material. You probably let out a sigh of relief, thinking that all is well in the world because if anything were to happen, at least you would be protected by the civilian tank that you’re driving down the road. But did you ever stop to think that perhaps that trusty SUV is actually giving you a false sense of security?

SUVs are safer to a point

Don’t get us wrong, if you’re driving in a Chevy Suburban and get into a head-on collision with a Honda Civic, then you’re about 10 times safer than the people in the other car. The rules of physics still apply when you drive, which means that if you do drive a larger SUV or even crossover, you will technically be more protected due to the vehicle’s height, weight, and other safety systems. However, if you were to have a rollover accident, then that’s another story.

SUV crashed into bus stop
TOPSHOT – A white SUV (C) sits in the middle of the road as police and emergency personnel work at the scene of where a car ran over pedestrians in Flinders Street in Melbourne on December 21, 2017. The car ploughed into a crowd in Australia’s second-largest city on December 21 in what police said was a “deliberate act” that left more than a dozen people injured, some of them seriously. / AFP PHOTO / Mal Fairclough (Photo credit should read MAL FAIRCLOUGH/AFP via Getty Images)

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SUVs are more prone to rolling over

While rollover safety has improved greatly over the years, the fact still remains that SUVs are more prone to rollover accidents than smaller cars. The main reason being that a higher ride height and elevated center of gravity are conducive to making a car rollover when an accident occurs.

On top of that, the SUV would need to “trip” in order for a rollover to happen, which means that it would likely hit a curb, a pothole, or even another car in order for it to roll over. According to Consumer Reports, it has been estimated that 95 percent of rollover accidents are caused by trips.

SUV in roll over crash
A white sport utility vehicle overturned Friday, April 24, at about 6:45 a.m. on Highway 101 in Ventura, California. The crash occurred on the northbound side of the highway near the State Beaches exit. A victim was pulled out of the vehicle.

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Does that mean that I should buy a car instead?

Although SUVs have the propensity to roll over, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy one. We always suggest getting the vehicle that best suits your lifestyle and daily duties. However, just know that you might not as protected if you happen to roll it over.

If you are worried about rollover safety, then here are few guidelines when it comes to preventing rollovers:

  • The newer the SUV, the better: If you can buy a newer SUV with more updated tech features and safety aids, then you will more likely fare better in the case of an accident.
  • Wear your seatbelt: This one goes without saying, but wearing your seatbelt is always important, especially in the possibility of a rollover accident.
  • Check your tires: The tires are the only things connecting your SUV to the road. So make sure that the tires on your car have enough traction to grip the road and prevent the car from tipping over.
  • Watch your speed: This one goes hand-in-hand with wearing a seatbelt. If you’re driving a bigger car, then you might not want to drive it like it’s a sports car. Drive slower to prevent an accident.
SUV in accident with another car
ORANGE, CA РMARCH 13: Witnesses to a multi-car accident the intersection of Main Street and Collins Avenue claim that the driver of the silver car on the left ran the red light and hit two other vehicles, including the SUV on right, before flipping over and ejecting the occupant. ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: crash.0313 Ð 3/13/15 Ð LEONARD ORTIZ, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER Р_LOR1475.NEF РPolice were investigating a multi-car crash in Friday evening in Orange. Officers were called at 6:23 p.m. to the 3-car collision near the intersection of Main Street and Collins Avenue, according to the Orange Police Department. Witnesses say a car ran a red light. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

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Ultimately, owning an SUV can give you a sense of security as there is more metal surrounding you and the higher ride and extra weight can keep you safer on the road. However, just remember that the laws of physics still apply no matter what type of car you are driving. So drive safely, slow down, and always wear your seatbelt.