Thursday, April 19, 2007

Dying in a Traffic Accident

There's a new report out by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Click HERE to read USA Today's spin on it.

SUVs do better in report on fatalities

Evidently you're more likely to survive a bad accident if you're in a huge SUV, than if you're in a tiny little economy sedan.

These reports always make me squirm just a little.

First of all... should be be surprised that a Chevy Suburban driver is more likely to survive a nasty wreck, than a Geo Metro driver? DUH!!!

Second... it makes me nervous to think that some people are making vehicle purchasing decisions based largely on their likelihood of surviving that nasty wreck!

Is that so they can yap on the cell phone, or turn the car over to their giddy teenager (who loads it with giddy teenage friends), or have a few too many, or otherwise not pay as much attention as they should to their driving... and if they plow into something or somebody, it won't matter quite so much?

Criminy! I ride a bike! (And it's the old-fashioned kind, without "stability control.") If I'm in an accident with a lowly Yugo... I'm likely to lose!

For years and years, my strategy has been to avoid accidents, rather than to survive them! And I want to share the road with people who ultimately want to avoid accidents... not people who are smugly comfortable knowing that if they plow into somebody, "The other guy might not walk away, but I will!"

(If you go to the USA Today article, read a few of the comments. It quickly becomes a juvenile pro-SUV / anti-SUV name-calling fest. Never discuss abortion, religion, guns or SUVs with your friends! hahaha)


Anonymous said...

I think you hit the nail on the head.

Part of the argument of bicycle helmets vs. no helmets is that when cyclists wear helmets, they, and the drivers around them, are less concerned about safety. I agree with your assertion that this mentality extends to SUV drivers, as well. And when it comes to ANY automobiles vs. ANY bicycle, it's worse. As you said, bicycle vs. car ALWAYS ends in the cyclist losing, no matter how small the car.

Yokota Fritz said...

Actually, vehicle size makes a *huge* difference in the outcome when there's a collision with a pedestrian or cyclist. I've been hit by cars twice in 30+ years of riding a bike. Both times I roll up and over the car and escaped with no injuries, not even scratches. These types of collisions are fairly typical for urban cyclists.

If an SUV with it's huge front end plows into me, however, it's game over. I don't have the stats handy at the moment, but the research is available and has born this out.

Apertome said...

Exactly, crashing in a huge SUV may be safer for the driver, but what about the others on the road? And I'm sure smaller, more maneuverable cars are better for avoiding accidents in the first place, which should be the goal.

Also: someone please tell SUV/pickup truck drivers that four-wheel drive won't help them stop on a slick road.

Fritz makes a very interesting point, as well.