By: William W. Hurst
Over the last decade gas prices have soared and everyone is looking for an alternative to paying these high prices. One of the latest trends people have begun embrace are “Smart Cars”. These vehicles, named the “ForTwo” and produced by Mercedes are much smaller than an average vehicle measuring just over 8 feet long, 5 feet wide, and weighing just 1,828 pounds. One over the biggest questions about these tiny, gas efficient vehicles is whether or not they are safe? Well, luckily your Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyer is here to help answer that question for you today. We’ve looked at several safety reviews and summarized it for you. We hope it helps.
Construction of Smart Cars
Smart Cars are constructed with what is called a “Tridion Steel Safety Shell”. This shell is made up of a steel housing and its intricate framework is designed to displace impact forces over a large area of the car. This frame, as well as the car’s short wheelbase help to displace impact forces, therefore lessening the blows to its occupants. Additionally, these Smart Cars utilize high-tech airbags which are placed generously throughout the vehicle. This construction gives these tiny vehicles the best chance possible of being “Safe”. But what do the experts say about whether Smart Cars are safe?
Expert Analysis of Smart Cars
The Institute for Highway Safety gives the 205 Smart ForTwo it’s highest rating of “Good” in 3 out of 4 categories. It received a “Good” rating for Moderate Overlap Front, Side, and Roof Strength, while it received an “Acceptable” for Head Restraints & Seats. For whatever reason there is no information available for the Front Crash Prevention.
Car Connection seems to agree that the construction of the vehicle makes it as safe as a car this small can be, but cautions that physics play a large role in this as well. As many have said, Car Connection agrees that even though the build of these Smart cars is great, if they get hit by a larger vehicle, which is every vehicle, they are going to take the brunt of the force. For that reason Car Connection seems skeptical of the overall safety.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Smart ForTwo a 3/5 Rollover Rating and gave it a 21.2% Risk of Rollover. This seems to be in line with the other expert views as the Smart ForTwo, while built well, could be thrown into the air by a larger car such as an SUV or Truck.
If you would like to see some testing yourself follow this link to see a crash test of a 2008 Smart ForTwo and expert analysis.
Overall the consensus opinion seems to be that the Smart ForTwo is as safe as a car this size can be. That being said physics tell us that when a smaller object is struck by a larger object, the smaller object doesn’t fair well. While the Smart ForTwo’s frame and airbag systems will limit the damage as much as possible, these cars are still not as safe as a standard 4-door car. Based on that and the fact that other heavier cars, such as the Toyota Prius get better gas mileage you may want to go another direction when buying your next vehicle.