Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A hybrid could save your life

Every new car offers greater safety features than its predecessors. Technological developments such as blind spot warning system and lane departure warning systems make driving safer than ever before. And within the vehicle, it’s becoming standard for cars to come with six airbags.

Hybrids have always been advocated for their great fuel economy and the fact that they are better for the environment than conventional cars as their emissions are low. Now, they’ve got another string to their bow – they can be safer cars to drive than conventional cars. This is due to their heavier weight, an average of 10%, because of their extra components - the electric motor and the battery that charges it.

An insurance report carried out by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the States has found that the extra weight affords greater safety for their drivers and their passengers in a collision. The report says that occupants of hybrid vehicles are 25 per cent less likely to be hurt in a collision.

However, although it may be safer for the people inside a hybrid car, hybrids may represent a greater danger to people in another car hit by one – for the very same reason. The extra weight that protects its occupants is actually what will make a hybrid have a greater impact on another car during a collision.

It has also been suggested that hybrids can be dangerous for pedestrians. The danger comes from the fact that the hybrid has a very quiet engine noise – and so pedestrians can be unaware of an approaching hybrid vehicle behind them. Hybrids may be involved in 20 per cent more crashes with pedestrians than conventional cars, according to Highway Loss Data Institute analysis.

So, hybrids score highly in some regards for safety, while they represent a greater danger for unaware pedestrians and those in other vehicles. As with most things in life, there are pros and cons to driving a hybrid.





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