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About SUV’s and Auto Insurance

SUV sales have continued to rise despite the higher cost of insuring those vehicles and the cost of gas. The belief that an SUV is safer, is a commonly held misconception about SUVs. Sports Utility Vehicles carry with them very unique risks that have an impact on auto insurance rates, like the fact that he vehicles are heavier and taller than other autos. This weight to height ratio results in SUVs being involved in more rollovers. In fact, SUVs roll over in twice as many fatal accidents than passenger vehicles.

Besides the SUVs risk to itself with rollovers, the greater height of the vehicle also poses more risk to other, smaller, cars. Any driver of a smaller car can relate to the fact that many SUV’s headlights are positioned in a place that reflects directly in the mirrors of smaller cars, causing a blinding glare. Also, the height of the bumper places a higher risk of significant damage in a collision with a smaller car. A National Highway Traffic and Safety study in 1999 showed that over 5 percent of traffic fatalities in the U.S. would not have resulted in fatalities at all if the accidents had occurred with two regular size cars rather than a truck or SUV. The study went on to show that SUVs and light trucks are two times more likely to cause a fatality in a collision.

Another major factor in the higher risk of SUVs in collisions has to do with the drivers themselves. Many people want to feel safe behind the wheel of an SUV, which places them higher, but also limits their ability to see smaller vehicles, but they do not know that an SUV has to be handled differently. In fact, the handling on an SUV is very different from a compact or passenger vehicle, and extra training could help keep an SUV owner much safer on the road.

Since SUVs show no sign of disappearing anytime soon, it is important that SUV owners and other drivers on the road acknowledge the risk of the SUV. Remember, the best way to prevent a collision is to drive defensively. SUV owners need to keep safe driving distances and passenger car owners need to be understanding of the limited sight of the SUV driver.