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Modern Ford Mustangs have a bit of a reputation for unruliness among car enthusiasts. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, considering the pony cars’ rebellious heritage and tire-smoking spectacle. However, sometimes it ends poorly, with S197 and S550 Mustangs sliding into parked vehicles and even spectators at shows like Cars and Coffee. So why, then, do Mustangs seem to eat crowds? 

Do Mustangs crash a lot?

Ford Mustangs are very popular and have been in continuous production for nearly sixty years. As a result, there are millions of the Ford pony cars on the road. Coincidentally, there are common reports of crashes involving every generation of Ford Mustang. However, Ford’s sweetheart pony car isn’t possessed by road gremlins any more than other vehicles. 

Why are Ford Mustangs hitting cars and crowds? 

In the case of the stereotypical description of being a “crowd magnet” or something similar, society is dealing the muscle car an injustice. The Ford Mustang combines capable V8 engines and an affordable package. The result is a car that just about anyone can afford, dependent on generation and trim. Consequently, many inexperienced or immature drivers can get their hands on examples with over 400 horsepower. 

In terms of hitting onlookers and other cars, the truth is nothing more than behavior and environment. Most videos of the Ford muscle car slamming into things are captured at events like Cars and Coffee. Many people frequent the shows, and the Mustang is a typical participant. Pair that with some good old-fashioned showing off, and you’ve got Mustangs sliding into cars and crowds. 

A 2005 Ford Mustang GT Convertible from the S197 generation shows off its yellow paintwork.
2005 Ford Mustang GT | Ford

Are Mustangs unsafe? 

The latest Mustangs earned higher safety ratings than the comparable Dodge Challenger but failed to best the Chevrolet Camaro. However, the muscle cars are still high-horsepower, rear-wheel drive (RWD) applications, which can be difficult for inexperienced motorists to control. 

Further, many of the cars in the CarBuzz crash compilations are from the S197 era of the Ford Mustang. That body style, while revolutionary, provides a few problematic features. The S197 offered increasingly powerful engines, right up to the 2014 model with a Coyote V8. Also, the S197 had a live rear axle, meaning the wheels are essentially connected. While that can be helpful in a drag race, it makes for some stone-age handling characteristics.

Fortunately, late-model S197 and S550 Ford Mustangs offer standard and optional safety features like brake assist, traction control, and ABS. However, the S197 Ford Mustang isn’t known for its safety credentials. In addition to an archaic live rear axle, the 2014 Mustang earned a four-star safety rating from the NHTSA. Still, a post-facelift S550, like the 2020 model, earns a much more confidence-inspiring five stars.

How can muscle cars be safer? 

Quite simply, drivers can respect the horsepower and torque that the muscle car produces. The cars are not inherently dangerous, but in the wrong hands, they’re misguided missiles. 

Car shows like Cars and Coffee can be dangerous
Car shows like Cars and Coffee can instigate show-offs | Feng Li, Getty Images

Should you avoid the pony cars? 

If you want a Ford Mustang, buy a Ford Mustang. However, you should consider a couple things when making your decision. The latest generation, the S550, ditched the live rear axle for independent rear suspension. As a result, the pony car handles much better. 

If you’re worried about Mustangs at events like Cars and Coffee, just keep your wits about you. Don’t endanger other people to show off, and do your best to avoid immature drivers who would endanger you. If you want to read more about the S197, scroll down to the following article.

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