People often assume that all cars that do well on a crash test will do equally well if they get into an accident. A pickup can be just as safe as a compact car, using this logic.
Unfortunately, that is not always true. When researchers study this, they often find that small vehicles suffer more damage and put passengers in more danger when they crash into bigger vehicles. It’s simple physics. The smaller car has less mass and sits lower to the ground, so it takes more of the damage when the two crash.
The problem is that it is only recently that those running the tests started to consider vehicle size differences when assigning ratings. In the past, they would crash too similar cars and assign ratings based on the results. In the real world, though, there is no telling if the car you hit will be the same size as the one you’re in.
When they do run the tests with cars of different sizes, the larger ones almost always seem to do better.
This does not mean that crash tests results are useless. Modern tests are more comprehensive. Vehicles that test out better tend to do better than those with low ratings. There is some value there. The problem is assuming that you can learn all you need to know from test scores when the real world is far more complex than that.
Have you lost a loved one in a car accident? If so, it is important to know if you can seek compensation for funeral costs, medical bills and lost wages during this trying time.