Hybrid cars may have lots of advantages related to fuel economy, but a recent study performed by the Highway Loss Data Institute found out they’re even safer in a case of crash than their non-hybrid counterparts, MSNBC reports.
The analysis took into account only hybrids that have a gas-only powered sibling, like the Toyota Highlander or Toyota Camry. The Prius wasn’t included not because it’s not safe, but because its nature had been hybrid from the beginning.
The main advantage hybrid cars have over non-hybrid ones is weight. The batteries that help fuel economy in congested traffic situations also help in crashes. Simple, rudimentary physics laws say that the heavier object pushes the lighter one, and the heavier car, in this case, has to suffer least.
Now I don’t think this “feature” is something engineers had thought about when they built those hybrids. After all, everyone tends to make cars lighter, not heavier for the sake of safety. To be safe, other smart systems have been included in the latest versions of any car, but I don’t think increased weight has been one of them – after all, your safety may mean the other one’s death in this case, which is not completely fair from a certain standpoint.
Another aspect related using hybrids versus non-hybrids is the one of pedestrian safety. While gas-powered cars make some noise, electric motors don’t, and this is one of the reasons many pedestrians aren’t aware that a hybrid is right behind them. The latest hybrid car versions, however, are already being equipped with noise generators, just to give pedestrians that useful feeling of a car being close to them.