Motorists who own convertibles look forward to the warm weather, when they can put down their roofs and drive around out in the open. Whether you already have a convertible or are in the market for one of these cars, it is important to understand how safe they are. Are drivers and passengers enjoying these vehicles more vulnerable to getting into serious car accidents?
What Are the Statistics Concerning Convertibles and Accidents?
A report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) revealed that convertibles are just as safe as fixed roof vehicles in collisions and could be even safer in some instances. It looked at driver fatalities for every 10 billion vehicle miles traveled and found the following:
- The fatality rate for hardtop convertibles was 10 percent lower than in hard-tops.
- The personal injury rate for soft-top convertibles was three percent lower than in hard-tops.
- The number showing involvements with police-reported accidents was six percent lower for convertibles than for coupes.
- The fatality rate for convertibles was 11 percent lower than for hard-tops.
- Twenty-one percent of convertible drivers who were killed in collisions were ejected, compared with 17 percent for hard-tops.
- With rollover crashes, the chances of leaving the vehicle cabin were 43 percent for convertible cars and 35 percent for copes.
Another study completed in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that convertibles had been involved in six percent fewer law enforcement-reported accidents. It also showed that driver fatality rates had been 11 percent lower. However, this report claimed that the chances for driver ejections related to fatal crashes was higher for convertibles.
Why Do Convertibles Have Lower Crash Statistics?
It makes sense that the lack of a roof would increase the risk of getting thrown out of these cars; therefore, why do the statistics show different results? There are a few reasons that make sense. First, convertibles are often heavier than vehicles with fixed roofs, and that added weight can make them more stable. Another reason is that convertibles can cost more, so the owners might be older, more mature, and be less prone to risk-taking.
On top of that, you will not usually see people taking out their convertibles in rainy, snowy, and cold weather; therefore, those factors do not really contribute to accidents. Convertible drivers usually use their vehicles more for pleasure than driving to work and running errands, so they may be more focused on enjoying themselves and paying attention to their driving.
Which Is Better: Hard-tops or Soft-tops?
Hardtop convertible roofs are made from metal and provide more protection against bad weather and vandals. They also are better at cutting down on road and wind noise, and offer a more seamless appearance than soft-tops. However, these advantages do come with higher price tags. These vehicles can also cost more to repair. Hard-tops get retracted into the trunks of cars, and this takes away from storage space. The added weight can lead to decreased driver control behind the wheel and higher fuel consumption.
Soft-top convertibles are made from fabric, which is less costly than metal; repairs are correspondingly less expensive. It also provides a contrast, as opposed to the more seamless look of hard-tops. Although the fabric is quite durable, it can be easily damaged by sharp objects such as knives.
A key disadvantage of a soft-top convertible is that the roof can get easily damaged by someone with bad intentions. Even though the convertible fabric is highly durable, if someone were to puncture it with a sharp object, they could cause significant damage and gain access to any valuables stored inside the vehicle.
Another disadvantage is greater wind and road noise. The fabric top cannot insulate you as effectively from the outside elements as a hardtop can.
Then there is the issue of visibility. Although it is easy to see out of a convertible when the top is down, it is a different matter when the top is up.
Visibility can be such a challenge that it is suggested that drivers try parallel parking with the top up before they buy any convertible, to see if they can deal with the visibility.
The final disadvantage is unique to vehicles with canvas tops rather than convertible hard-tops. Even with the top in place, the vehicle is a lot more exposed to the elements than a standard car; therefore, it will get colder faster and take longer to warm up.
Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Clients Recover from an Accident
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, reach out to the Washington DC car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. Our experienced legal team will investigate the cause of the accident and fight to secure 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.