Vinod Kurup

Hospitalist/programmer in search of the meaning of life

Jan 10, 2005 - 1 minute read - Comments - interesting gladwell

Are SUVs safe?

Interesting article about SUV safety. Here’s a quote:

Most of us think that S.U.V.s are much safer than sports cars. If you asked the young parents of America whether they would rather strap their infant child in the back seat of the TrailBlazer or the passenger seat of the Boxster, they would choose the TrailBlazer. We feel that way because in the TrailBlazer our chances of surviving a collision with a hypothetical tractor-trailer in the other lane are greater than they are in the Porsche. What we forget, though, is that in the TrailBlazer you’re also much more likely to hit the tractor-trailer because you can’t get out of the way in time. In the parlance of the automobile world, the TrailBlazer is better at “passive safety.” The Boxster is better when it comes to “active safety,” which is every bit as important.

We think SUVs are safer because they’re bigger. But, they’re actually less nimble and take longer to stop than smaller cars. More dangerously, they give the illusion of safety, thus making the driver less careful or more aggressive. Perception and rationalization are powerful things. So, I’ll stick to my plan of driving small cheap cars… uh… that is, when I get one.

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