Hybrids & Electrics

What Happens When You Crash a Smart Car?

When driving down the street, we don’t often stop to wonder how safe the car would be in case of a car accident. Well, that might be true for most cars, it happens to be a pretty common question for a car as small as a Smart Car. In fact, Smart Cars might sound smart, but they don’t look all that safe. While they can be great cars if you live in a city or constantly have to battle for parking, what exactly happens when you crash one?

How new cars are manufactured

We’ve decided to stop saying the overused phrase “cars aren’t built like they used to be,” or, at least, I hope most people have. It’s true; cars aren’t built like they used to be. Now, cars are built to protect the lives of the driver and passenger rather than for the car to stay in one piece after a crash. That’s why modern-day cars are built with different materials like composites and have designated crumple zones that absorb as much kinetic energy from a potential crash as possible.

In most cars, this crumple zone is in the front and rear, where you are most likely to receive damage if you were to hit someone or be hit by another driver. One glance at any Smart Car will reveal that there is much less crumple zone for these vehicles than you find in your more standard passenger cars.

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 09: A visitor look at the Smart EQ forfour Edition 1 electric car at the Mercedes-Benz media preview at the 2019 IAA Frankfurt Auto Show on September 09, 2019 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The IAA will be open to the public from September 12 through 22. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
A visitor look at the Smart EQ forfour Edition 1 electric car| Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The Smart Car might surprise you

It’s hard to gauge exactly what it is that makes a car safe. While we value the latest and greatest safety technology as consumers, having things like blind-spot monitoring is just a convenience that makes our daily driving experience better. Crash-test ratings are a more useful way to acknowledge how safe a car is when it matters most, and according to the NHTSA, Smart Cars usually receive pretty responsible safety ratings.

2006 Smart ForTwo
2006 Smart ForTwo | Smart

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They are still great cars

Regardless of crash test ratings, which are usually conducted with crashed under 50mph, I wouldn’t feel very confident driving one of these down the highway. But, after all, that isn’t something every driver does daily. In fact, Smart Cars can be surprisingly good options for a very compact vehicle, regardless of the lack of space. If you want something that will get you from point A to point B without taking up to much space, you’ll be happy to know that a Smart Car is a safe option.

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But, of course, that hasn’t stopped individual content creators from crashing Smart Cars, and we can’t really blame them. If there was ever an adult version of bumper cars that allows us to wreck small vehicles like we were at the carnival again, perhaps crashing a Smart Car is it.