Automobile accidents follow one of the most basic laws of physics: momentum conservation. In a two car collision the momentum of each vehicle prior to the collision is equal to the momentum of each vehicle after the collision. The transfer of forces to and from each object or vehicle is influenced by the relative weight of the two objects.

This transfer of forces is what puts drivers and passengers of smaller vehicles at higher risk than those inside larger vehicles. The transfer of forces is inversely proportionate to the weight of the vehicles. The lighter vehicle absorbs more force from the heavier vehicle and the heavier vehicle absorbs less force from the lighter vehicle. This also means everything inside the smaller vehicle moves more than everything inside the larger vehicle.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has collected and analyzed auto accident death rates for more than 30 years. A recent article published some of their findings. Analyzing data for vehicles from the 2017 model year they found that 15 of the 20 deadliest vehicles were small cars or minicars. The research also analyzed mileage data in terms of how many miles the different models were driven. Even when results were adjusted to include the mileage data the findings that drivers in smaller vehicles have a higher risk of death held up for the most part.

The above research focused on two vehicles colliding, however, the principle of momentum conservation applies to any two objects that collide. This is why we see some of the most severe bodily injuries and highest risk of a wrongful death in accidents involving a car or truck striking someone on a bicycle or a pedestrian. Large differences in weight between the two objects lead to a more drastic transfer of forces. Large vehicles may be safer for the occupants of that vehicle, but can be more dangerous for everyone else sharing the road.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an automobile accident, you shouldn’t have to fight the insurance companies alone. Contact Cooney Law Offices today to see how we can help.