Bigger, Heavier Vehicles Will Keep You Safer

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If you want to keep your passengers and cargo safe, make sure you purchase the biggest, heaviest and most expensive vehicle you can afford. Some of the best vehicles for doing that are half-ton and three-quarter-ton pickup trucks.

According to a recent University of Buffalo study that measured the highest and lowest frequency of personal injury, pickups like the Ram 2500 Mega Cab, GMC Sierra 2500 Heavy Duty and Ford F-150 were some of the safest vehicles. The study surveyed 360 vehicle models from 2010 to 2012 based on insurance loss data from the Highway Loss Data Institute (a nonprofit organization funded by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety).

Other top performers were high-dollar full-size 4x4 SUVs like the Porsche Cayenne and Land Rover Range Rover, showing a strong correlation between price, weight and safety. The doctor/professor who presented the results at the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine conference in San Diego noted that for every additional $10,000 spent on a vehicle, in the event of a crash injuries are likely to go down almost 12 percent, and for every 1,000-pound increase in overall vehicle weight, a vehicle would statistically result in 19 percent fewer injuries during a crash.

Not surprisingly, the study found that subcompact and compact cars had the highest frequency of personal-injury claims. The study's two lists (for the safest and most unsafe vehicles) use a completely different method of evaluation than is done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which bases its ratings on specific, repeatable crash results against an immovable object. This study is based on actual crash results and personal-injury claims in the 17 states with no-fault insurance in order to provide real-world data results. photo by Evan Sears (above); manufacturer image (below)


2015-Silverado-3500HD front II




Most crashes are between two vehicles, the heavier vehicle will almost always come out better. Now crashes into a stationary object like a tree or wall are different and weight can be your enemy. Light but big is what you want for that.

No kidding! I was only 10 years old when I figured this out! I was riding in my fathers 1964 Chrysler Imperial Crown Coupe, (a car I wish I could still have today), when we were hit head on by a VW Bug that crossed over the line! it turned out sort of like the windshield and the bug! We were able to drive away with minimal damage while the other car? was totaled and the guy was lucky to live! The only repair my dads car needed was a new drivers side grill and headlight assembly, bumper and drivers side fender! At the time seatbelts were an option a some cars, but came standard (lap belts) in the big Chrysler, and my dad always made sure we were "belted in" even way back in 1965! we used to make sure we were as safe as the NASCAR drivers back then! Or at least that is what my dad told us when we were young! Sort of a fun way to learn how to use your seat belts! We walked away with not a scratch, and from that day on I have always worn my safety belt, no mater what anyone else tells me! Plus I only buy big full size cars or trucks, or at least mid size today! But there is no need to say how much safer cars are today than back then!

There are so many factors. Like most things "more" is usually better. Cars and trucks are safer today than ever before. The idea that you have to buy large or expensive to be safe is misleading. It all really depends on what hits what. When bigger heavier thing hits smaller lighter thing smaller lighter thing will almost always come off worse than bigger heavier thing... Speed, mass, design, conditions... all play a MASSIVE role. The idea that to be safer one must be bigger dismisses the fact that unless you are literally driving a semi truck, tour bus, or tank then you aren't safe. The frequency of smaller lighter cars being in accidents is probably MUCH higher than that of 3/4 ton pickups as small cars sell in higher numbers hence raising the likelihood of injury and the number of claims this study is based upon. So saying a F250 is "safer" than a Toyota Corolla because there were fewer reported injuries in F250s even though the Corolla outsells it and is more likely to be in an accident just because of that fact is misleading. That's not to say its better to be in a Corolla than an F250 in an accident between to two... But if you subscribe to that philosophy as a critical tenant to which you choose your vehicles then you really should be looking at Peterbuilts...

Ever scene a crash test of a Peterbuilt into a brick wall? It ain't pretty they get oblitterated vs a car where only the front end gets oblitterated.

These researchers at the University of Buffalo should have watched the video below and perhaps visited this car company to get a better understanding of Vehicle crash safety design.

I hate it when those brick walls pop out on the freeway unexpectedly! You know that happens more often than not. :)

Duh! Sure doesn't take a rocket scientist to come up with this fact that has been known for ages. By the way, did you know that a motorcycle comes up on the losing end between it and a car? Duh!

So a college did a study and discovered that the laws of physics ARE true?


And the study was probably paid for by "us" the some type of federal grant

Nothing surprising here, and my goodness! That Yukon looks like it's going to swallow that puny Scion whole!

When my '97 Suburban was rear ended by a Carolla, which was totaled and undrivable, my 3 year old son asked "What was that noise?" Noise... NOISE! Not bump or jolt or anything else associated with moving. I have been using "ton-stars" as a safety rating ever since.

Funny thing, back several years ago the Feds pressured Ford to quit making the Excursion because it was "unsafe" to the other cars out there. With the diesel option, it weighed 2000lbs more than the heaviest Suburban. Now that was a safe vehicle. Not so much for the other guy but hey thats not my problem. MPG was in 20's highway. Not bad.

As I mentioned in my earler post, the Excursion is the heaviest but safest vehicle out there. why can't Ford bring it back? This is America and we should have a choice of driving what we want as long as it is safe. hello.

A friend of my husband was a big rig driver. He felt 'safe' because he was the biggest thing on the road. The problem was one day in the fog he decided to try to take on a BN coal train at a crossing. Guess who won that match.

I personally saw a lady try to beat a Rio Grande switcher. Luckily it was not going very fast, but again, big Chevy sedan vs 1500hp switcher.

As beautiful, handsome and good looking I am I could sue you for more if you crash into me and cause me facial scars.
Ugly people won't get anything for facial scars cause those scars never effected their appearance.

I am not only very good looking, I am a lot smarter and richer than you, so if you were to even think of suing me my attorney will make sure you don't see a dime and courter-sue you for fraud, including triple damages.

Slow day in truck news??? Please tell me something that wasn't already obvious.... Duh

Basic Newtonian physics.
BUT there are studies that indicate large vehicles especially 4x4 pickups have a higher incidence of injury with drivers 25 yrs old and younger.
That indicates that an immature driver with insufficient skills is more likely to get hurt in a pickup. The whole "bigger is better" mystique tends to give people a false sense of security. Off-road capabilities and high risk behavior associated with that demographic increases the odds of a crash with occupant injury.

People tend to be fearful of larger vehicles if they are in a smaller one but I've also seen drivers of larger vehicles use their mass to bully other drivers. I find that I am less likely to be cut off or tailgated when I'm in my truck as opposed to driving my wife's minivan. This is very noticeable when traveling in or through large metropolitan cities.

Well that's a big duuuuh. A Toyota tried to take on a Duster I once owned. Guess who drove away and who was carted off to the hospital.
With 2 exceptions, big trucks are aluminum and fiberglass. Not really much protection except for the size and weight advantage.

The bigger heavier vehicles cannot stop, steer or avoid trouble as well as smaller cars, but I'll take my chances.

That said, I'm driving the truck. Never had but only one bad wreck in a truck.

If I would have been in little Honda or Toyota, Big Al and Jeff S would have to find somebody else to argue with.

@papa jim--Even smaller cars are much safer than they use to be. Air bags and they are designed to take the impact of a crash much better. The only thing that would put you at a disadvantage in a truck is that it sits higher and is much easier to turn over. Also midsize trucks are not so small anymore and would afford much better protection than the compact trucks of 30 to 40 years ago.

My lesbian neighbors gave me a Rolex for my birthday.
They asked me what I wanted, but they misunderstood when I told them, "I wanna watch"

I think most people just make the assumption that bigger is better but the enormous cars of the 50s and 60s could be death traps even in low-speed collisions.

The large vehicles are safer in large part because they're using the same safety technology as small cars. Take away crumple zones, impact beams and other engineered crash features and they're as prone to killing you as anything.

Physics says a small thing hitting a large thing will favour the large thing but that doesn't mean that it's safer in all types of collisions such as side impact, roll over etc.

Saying bigger is safer is a very broad way to look at the topic. I feel safe in my Ram HD but it's not simply because it's larger than most vehicles. I can be killed in it quite easily if I decide to drop common sense.

Tom#3 - the nature of your posts would indicate that your neighbours changed their "orientation" after becoming your neighbour.

So, if everyone eventually drives large vehicles thinking they are safe, this will adversely affect the number of fatalities in an upward direction.

Two full on full size pickups involved in an accident would have a greater chance of injury at the same speeds as two Camry's involved in the same situation.

The statement of the article holds true, only if there is a large disparity of size or mass in vehicles.

I think rather than people buying larger vehicles for the wrong reasons, why not improve driver education and enforcement of driving laws.

This will save more lives than driving a larger vehicle.

All you needs to do is look at the statistics of road fatalities and you will see the US is quite poor amongst its peers.

Here's a fantastic interactive map of the world illustrating that what I'm stating is valid and credible.


Hey, that's pretty funny!

That's what got me into a full sized truck. I was sick and tired of feeling like I was taking my life into my hands every time I drove somewhere in my little '88 Toyota PU.

When you got some dummy in a big Excursion /Suburban/Yukon/ full-sized SUV sniffing up your tailpipe, it kind of makes you a little nervous if you know what I mean.

So, I joined the crowd and got me a big truck and I even lifted it too. The only thing I get nervous about now is if they damage my truck. I will never get the money I put into it if it ever gets damaged. Oh well, if it's not one thing it's another......

Lifted trucks have terrible handling, poor stooping power if you don't upgrade the brakes. they are a death trap waiting to happen.

my wife was recently in an accident in our f150. A guy ran a stop sign going 60 mph and t-boned her as she was on her way to pick up a large item for a friend. aside from some seat belt burns her and my two kids under the age of two were completely fine. So glad she was in the f150. I hate to imagine what could have happened if she was in the car, which is what she drives 99 percent of the time. I don't mind paying for the extra gas. We drive our new f150 most of the time now. The old one was a total loss.

well NO Duh??? It's not rocket science to come to that's called the law of physics

My 2013 F-150 5.0 V8 takes 8 quarts of oil.
Local store has Mobil 1 in a 5 quart container for $23.88
and single quarts for $7.98

Would it be more cost efficient to buy two 5 quart containers or one 5 quart container and 3 single quarts?

and what's your thought of using the 0W20 instead of the 5W20?

The Feds did not pressure Ford to quit making the Excursion! They quit making it because it could not compete with the top selling Suburban made by GM. In other words it was a failure just like their Expedition and Lincoln Navigator today. Gm is blowing the sale numbers away with their new full size suvs and leaving Ford behind with their outdated models.

@Tom#3--Always use the recommended oil weight that is listed in your owner's manual. The manufacturer has designed the engine to specific specifications and the weight of the oil should be specific to your truck. My wife's 2013 Honda CRV specifies 0W20 which will either be a synthetic blend or entirely synthetic. For the next few years I will let the Honda dealership do the oil changes which they use a Honda labeled oil, after the warranty is up I will switch to Mobil 1 or the Penzoil synthetic. I currently switched my 2008 Isuzu I-370 crew cab that has an I-5 3.7 engine to Mobil 1 5w30 which is the recommended weight in the owner's manual. Most newer vehicles use lower weight synthetic oil and do not require as frequent an oil change. I recommend reading your owner's manual and going with the severe use maintenance schedule even if you do not drive under severe conditions. Never skimp on maintenance. As the old ad says "you can pay me now or pay me later." I would buy the 2 5 quart containers of Mobil 1 if you have a place to store the oil. Mobil 1 is an excellent oil and you can get it for an affordable price.

What sexual position do you recommend to get the ultimate climax out of a fat girl? We've tried top mound but no go.

@Jim - I'm sure Tom#3 can assist you with that question.

@Jeff S, Tom3

The oil question is easy--how long do you plan to keep the truck? Paying for anything better than the factory-specified OEM oil (see owners manual) is a big waste of money if you don't plan to keep it for long.

The generic Sears or Walmart engine oil (make sure it meets or exceeds the spec for your car/truck) will outperform the best non synthetic oils from 20 years ago.

Lubes keep getting better, but paying extra for Mobil 1 is silly unless you want the next owner of your truck to like you more.

Regarding the "fat girl" question from "Jim"

Is the climax for her or for you? If it's for her, buy her a big meat lovers pizza and a six pack--she will thank you for it. If she wants another, buy it for her. She will love you long time.

@papa jim--That is true about oil, but many of the newer vehicles call for 0W20 or 5W20 which is a synthetic oil. My Isuzu and S-10 call for a 5W30 which does not have to be a synthetic. I switched my Isuzu over to Mobil 1 because it is the newer vehicle and the mileage is less than 30k and I plan on keeping it a long time. The S-10 I have non-synthetic oil because it is 16 years old and I don't plan on keeping it past 20 years old. The S-10 serves as my beater truck for hauling things away and for parking at the bus stop to commute to work ( 3 miles to the bus stop). The oil in my vehicles is usually fairly clean when I change it because I don't put a lot of miles on them and I change my oil and filter on a frequent schedule. None of my current vehicles use any additional oil between oil changes Most manufacturers have gone to synthetic oils and 0W20 has become a standard weight. Your owner's manual is the best reference for most people on maintenance.


That's why I upgraded the springs, shocks, sway bar bushings, added a rear sway bar and I didn't go too crazy with the bigger tires. They only weigh 17 lbs more per tire than the terrible SRA's which were too light and squishy for the truck even when it was bone stock.

My truck now handles and drives like a slot car. It's very precise even at triple digit speeds on a closed road course. Alignment is spot on too, but it took 4 tries at multiple tire alignment shops to finally get it dialed in.

The only thing I need to get now is better aftermarket front sway bushing brackets to replace the crappy OEM stamped steel brackets. After that, it'll be almost perfect.

Bigger, heavier vehicles are more deadly. More fatalities in single-vehicle crashes come from full-sized pickup trucks than any other type of vehicle. In one instance just last year, five people died in a single pickup truck crash, four in the truck itself and an innocent bystander mowing his lawn when it rolled over him.

Said bigger trucks are also the cause of more fatalities in multi-vehicle crashes simply because they are twice the size and twice the weight of the other vehicles. Why? Because those big trucks simply cannot be driven in a sporty manner, safely. But owners of big trucks with powerful engines feel that they can and should do so. I understand that sense of empowerment, but to be quite blunt, they're unsafe.

@Road Whale--Maybe what you say is true but what should be looked at closer is not the size or type of vehicle but the driver behind the wheel. In the tri-state area where I live which is Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana most of the deadly accidents that happen are from teenage drivers who have 2 or more passengers. Teenager drivers for the most part are inexperienced and easily distracted. Just in the past week in Northern Kentucky there have been 2 deadly accidents where 2 or more teenagers were killed. Driving too fast on 2 lane roads with no shoulders. There was an accident overnight in Northern Kentucky where a drunk driver in a full size pickup was on the wrong side of the road and hit a midsize sedan hospitalizing 1 of the occupants in the car.

I do agree with you that many drive a pickup like it is a sports vehicle which is not the trucks fault but the driver's fault. Any high profile vehicle whether it is large or small is subject to a rollover if driven too fast and in an irresponsible manner. Improperly inflated tires and vehicles that are not kept up also contribute to increased accidents. Even if one were to look closer at the Explorer and Firestone tire accidents you would probably find that many of those Explorers had under inflated tires and drivers that were inexperience with driving a high profile vehicle. I am not defending full size pickups as much as to state that there are many other factors to look at besides the size or type of vehicle. For younger drivers there should be more emphasis on driver safety and the differences in driving a car and a higher profile vehicle such as a truck or suv.

Anything can be unsafe if put in the wrong hands, even the common kitchen steak knife can be deadly. Heck, if you want to get philosophical about this, life itself is deadly because in order to live, you must die as well.

In my experience, it is not so much the size of the vehicle or the higher center of gravity that causes accidents to happen, but the performance capability of the vehicle. Except for the typical late model Corvette owner which is usually too old and senile to care, whenever I see a high performance model, and that includes trucks too like the Egoboost F-150, they're usually driving them around like they're Formula One race car drivers.

So many times, when I lumbering around in my big ole lifted V8 truck, I see people acting like retards in their newer trucks and cars zipping in and out of traffic trying to prove something. Heck, even the little Honda driver's with their pitiful 50 lb-ft of torque 4 banger engines are driving them around like they're Mario Andretti or something.

I know my truck has the capability to beat (or at least keep up with the latest top V8 engines from the competition) and I can out handle them especially on the twisties, but I don't need to be constantly proving it to myself. I just lumber along at my own pace to get to my destination. Let the speed demons and small man complex Egoboost/Diesel truck owners whip around me, I simply don't care.

@Jeff S, @ The other Mike:

I agree with you, and that really is part of the problem; a proportion of those who drive full sized pickup trucks feel they are 'empowered' by the size of their vehicle--using their big trucks and SUVs to 'bully' other drivers and scare them out of the way. Even when I drove my Camaro and my Saturn Vue, they would try to crowd me and unnerve me into moving over to let them pass or speed up to let them by. Hey, if I'm in a lane other than the right-most lane, I'm there for a reason and that's usually to pass slower traffic or to be in the proper lane for EZ-Pass or some other traffic maneuver. I don't care how close to my tail you push, I won't move over until I'm ready. And believe me, if I choose to accelerate, it will be because I want to, not because somebody was trying to 'encourage' me. That big pickup certainly isn't going to be able to accelerate as quickly as me, even in my Fiat 500, though undoubtedly it will catch up to me quickly enough. Little engines wind up tighter and typically launch faster than big ones. It isn't until the big one are hitting their full horsepower that they catch up. But I digress.

Yes, having owned a full-sized pickup myself, I do understand that feeling of POWER! You're huge! You're looking over the tops of nearly everything else on the roads short of full-sized and larger pickup trucks, medium-duty trucks, etc. But that also means you're the one who has to pay more attention to what's going on around you--because you certainly can't maneuver as quickly as one of those smaller cars. As an example, on one occasion I was driving down the freeway where it was four lanes each direction and it started to rain. About four cars in front of me somebody tried a stupid maneuver on the freshly-wet pavement and ended up staring at the grill of a 1990 Ford F-150. Fortunately for him, I'd seen his error and was already on the brakes by the time he was fully turned around. The cars in front of me were all smaller and quite agile, managing to make a sudden lane change reasonably safely under braking, giving me enough room to slow down and effect a similar movement without having my own tail swing out. Had I tried at speed, chances are there would have been a full-on crash with my tail being what hit that other car. Don't forget, a pickup's weight isn't nearly as fore/aft balanced as other cars. No weight in the tail means a very skittish handler at speed--and THAT is something 'ego drivers' aren't ready for.

this is a bad website

Can the laws of physics be wrong? Yes!! Sometimes thinner lighter and weaker can be safer and stronger @#% ? Example the all aluminum Ford F-150 is safer that all the of hight strenght steel bodied trucks just what this video: This is according to the IIHS. So if you are building a shark proof cage make sure its made of aluminum and not steel, steel will rust away and become even weaker!!

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