What Are Safety Tips for Driving in Compact Cars?

Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Injured Drivers Recover Compensation .

When looking for a new vehicle, there are seemingly countless options from which to choose. Known for many benefits such as their reliability, good fuel economy, and lower cost, compact cars have always been a popular choice for consumers around the world. However, when compared with larger vehicles such as trucks and SUVs, they may not protect passengers as well in a car accident. However, there are ways to stay safe if you are driving a compact car.

To keep costs down, compact cars were originally equipped with the newest and most modern safety features, which could normally be included in their standard packages. Advanced features like LED headlights, anti-lock brakes, front and side airbags, and blind spot monitoring were just a few safety features that were introduced first on a manufacturer’s compact car. Because of these many features, the most popular compact cars would perform well in crash and safety tests.

However, technological advancements are now included in newer SUVs, and they are becoming lighter and more maneuverable, just like a compact. Also, recent tests have found that SUVs are indeed safer to drive than compact cars. But this does not mean everyone has to drive an SUV. You can still be safe in a compact car, especially with these helpful tips:

  • Obey the laws. Speed limits and traffic laws are there for a reason. Always maintain the speed limit, especially in a compact car. Speed limits are determined by engineers who calculate the safest speed for a car to go through a certain stretch of road. Also, when the conditions are poor, lower your speed and keep a safe distance from others.
  • Focus. You should always be focused and aware of your surroundings, no matter how big a vehicle you are driving. Keep away from the blind spots of larger vehicles and quickly pass them if you must. Make sure to signal as well because they may not see you. If you cannot see the driver in a larger vehicle, then they probably cannot see you.
  • Watch others. Watch other drivers and try to anticipate their actions. Always be vigilant and keep an eye on a vehicle’s brake lights or turn signals.
  • Drive defensively. Always be sure there is enough space between yourself and the car in front of you. Do not tailgate, especially while driving behind larger cars, because they may not see you and you cannot see what is in front of them. Provide enough space for you to stop in case of an emergency.

Are Compact Cars Safer than SUVs?

Trucks, SUVs, crossovers, and pickups are incredibly popular today, accounting for over 75 percent of new vehicle sales in the United States. Not only do they now have the same safety features once reserved for compact cars, but also they are bigger and have more room for other features, such as rear seat airbags.

In the event of an accident, bigger vehicles can absorb more punishment than a compact car. It is simple physics: SUVs and trucks have larger crush zones, have longer hoods, and are heavier, making them better to absorb impact than a smaller car. According to the Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a larger vehicle will push a lighter vehicle backward during impact, meaning that there is less force on those inside a large vehicle than those in a light vehicle. In 2015, the vehicle-related fatality rate was 13 deaths per million registered vehicles for larger SUVs. The highest is for smaller, mini cars, with 64 deaths per million registered vehicles.

It is also important to note that if a compact car scores well with the IIHS crash tests and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash tests, it does not necessarily mean it is just as safe compared with an SUV that scored similar results. These tests are useful only when compared with vehicles of the same size.

The Benefits of Driving a Compact Car

Although bigger SUVs are safer to drive than compact cars, smaller cars still have plenty of benefits. With improved safety technology and a few safety tips, you could be safe driving a compact car as well:

  • Lower cost. Compact cars are very appealing because they are generally equipped with many safety features you would find in bigger cars but at half the price. Affordability is always a major advantage for some motorists, especially if you are a struggling student or need a low-cost family vehicle.
  • Fuel economy. Because there is not much power needed to move a smaller car, compact vehicles are great on fuel economy, and you will get more miles to the gallon. This is another great selling point for compact cars and one of the best benefits of purchasing one.
  • Ease of driving. Especially if you live in Washington DC or in a city, driving a compact car makes parking and maneuverability less of a hassle. They are also great in narrow roads, which you would find in the older cities in the United States.
  • Vehicle features. As stated before, many vehicle features, such as Bluetooth, airbags, and power locks and windows, found in more expensive cars are now standard in compact vehicles.

What to Do Following a Car Accident?

Whether you drive a compact car or an SUV, there is still the possibility of getting into a car accident. You want to be prepared if this happens to you. Here are a few steps to remember should that day ever happen:

  • Check for injuries. Take a second and check if yourself or your passengers are injured. You will likely be in shock, or your adrenaline is rushing, so it is quite possible that your injuries are being masked. Try not to move, and if you are able to do so, get out of the car and check the other driver.
  • Call 911. If you are injured, or there is vehicle damage, call 911. Some states legally require it. This will bring medical responders and the police to the scene.
  • Get to safety. If you and your passengers are able to do so, exit the vehicle and get to a safe distance away from the collision.
  • Exchange information. Gather information from the other driver, such as their contact and insurance information. Be sure to get their driver’s license number, as well as their license plate number. Be careful what you say and do not admit fault, as it could be used against you.
  • Document the accident. Take photos and video of the scene, especially of any vehicle damage and injuries. Try to document the conditions of the day and anything else that may have had a role in the accident.
  • Talk to the police. The police will fill out a police report detailing the accident and will take your account of what happened. Be sure to get a copy of this for your own records and the insurance company.
  • Call your insurance. Many insurance companies want you to contact them promptly following an accident, regardless of who is at fault.
  • Get medical help. Some injuries do not appear until well after the accident, so be sure to get a doctor to examine you before deciding you are not injured. This will be helpful, especially if you are injured, as it will be harder to make an insurance claim if you waited to get help.
  • Call a lawyer. The insurance company may not offer enough in the settlement to cover your expenses, especially if you are suffering from emotional distress or other non-economic damages. This is when you will need the help of a car accident lawyer.

Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Injured Drivers Recover Compensation

Whether you drive a compact car or a large SUV, a car accident can still lead to a serious injury that could upend your life. You are encouraged to reach out to the Washington DC car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. Our experienced team can help protect your rights and get the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington DC, Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we work with clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.


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