New study highlights dangers of heavy cars

It is no surprise that new cars are generally safer than their older counterparts. These vehicles have various safety mechanisms that are designed to reduce the risk of a crash and increase the likelihood that a driver and passengers within the vehicle will not suffer serious injuries.

A recent study out of the Institute of Transport Economics in Oslo, Norway supports this fact in an unexpected way. The study finds that new cars are safer not just because of innovations, but because of their size.

What role does size play in car accidents? The heavier the car, the less likely the occupants will suffer injury. Cars are getting heavier. In 2017 sales for the electric car maker Tesla soared. These vehicles are an average 10 to 25 percent heavier than non-electric cars in their class.

It is important to note that researchers with the study clarified that large does not always translate to safe. Older SUVs are often more dangerous due to their rigidity. This results in a transfer of the energy created in the collision to the passengers and driver, leading to more injuries.

Are electric vehicles less likely to crash? It is too early to have a definitive answer to this question, but one specific type of accident has risen. The study found that heavy vehicles like electric cars are responsible for an increase in accidents with pedestrians and bicyclists. The researchers point to the fact that these cars make less noise when operating a slow speed than similar models that run on gas. Researchers note that the quiet nature of these vehicles at low speed can surprise pedestrians and cyclists and contribute to the increase in accidents.

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