When it comes to picking the safest way to transport your family, the choice is often between sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and minivans. Both of these types of vehicles tend to offer families plenty of room, useful features, and, importantly, safety technologies such as automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control.

Despite the advanced safety features available in both SUVs and minivans, accidents and collisions can still happen, sometimes resulting in injuries to you or your family members. But when it comes down to it, is one of these types of vehicle better equipped than the other to keep you safe in the event of a crash?

Take a closer look at our comparison of SUVs and minivans to determine which option offers greater safety for your family. If you are injured in a crash in Louisiana, contact our Louisiana car accident lawyers at Dudley DeBosier for legal guidance.

How to Compare Safety in SUVs and Minivans

To understand which vehicle option is the safest for your family, it’s helpful to look at their characteristics and safety features. Here’s what you need to compare to get an idea of which model is safest for you:

  • Handling: This refers to how well a vehicle responds to the driver’s actions, including steering, accelerating, and braking. Handling determines a vehicle’s stability and agility, especially when needing to make emergency maneuvers to avoid a crash. Vehicles with responsive handling can dodge obstacles and stay in control under tough conditions, reducing the risk of accidents.
  • Crumple Zone: The crumple zone is a design feature that absorbs and dissipates energy during a collision, minimizing the impact force felt by those inside the vehicle. Located typically at the front and rear of a vehicle, crumple zones are engineered to crumple in a controlled manner during a crash, absorbing the kinetic energy and reducing the risk of injury to passengers by lessening the force they experience.
  • Airbags: Airbags are a passive safety feature that activate during a severe crash, offering a cushioning barrier to prevent occupants from striking the vehicle’s interior or getting hit by debris. Airbags help lower the chances of fatal injuries during accidents. You’ll find them in the front for the driver and front passenger, and sometimes on the sides and in the roof lining, providing protection from various angles of impact.
  • Ease of Adding Child Car Seats: This refers to the ease with which you can install a car seat in a vehicle. Vehicles equipped with the LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) allow for easier and more reliable installation of child seats, ensuring they are firmly attached and offer maximum protection for children in the event of a crash.
  • Likelihood of Rolling Over: The likelihood of rolling over measures how prone a vehicle is to tip over in a crash or when making sharp turns. This is influenced by a vehicle’s center of gravity and design. Rollovers often result in more severe injuries or fatalities, making this consideration important when choosing your family vehicle.

Which is Safer for Families?

Comparing the specific features of these vehicles can guide you in choosing between a minivan and an SUV. Below, you’ll find insights into the safety aspects of SUVs versus minivans, along with the latest statistics on accidents involving these types of vehicles:

Safety AspectSUVsMinivans
HandlingMay have higher ground clearance affecting the center of gravity. Modern SUVs, however, often feature advanced stability control systems to improve handling.   In 2021, SUVs had the second-lowest overall fatality rate: 7.04 per 100,000 registered vehicles.  Generally have better handling due to their lower center of gravity, making them more stable and agile on the road.   In 2020, vans had the lowest overall fatality rate in crashes: 6.88 per 100,000 registered vehicles.
Crumple ZoneDesigned with crumple zones to absorb impacts, though the effectiveness can vary depending on the SUV’s design and size.Feature crumple zones engineered for impact absorption, potentially more optimized due to the vehicle’s uniform shape and design.
AirbagsTypically equipped with multiple airbags, including front, side, and curtain airbags, for comprehensive protection. The number and types of airbags can vary by model.Typically equipped with multiple airbags, including front, side, and curtain airbags, for comprehensive protection. The number and types of airbags can vary by model.
Ease of Adding Child Car SeatsModern SUVs generally provide LATCH system anchors for easy installation of child car seats, but the vehicle’s height might make it slightly more challenging to place and secure seats.Minivans typically have easily accessible LATCH points and lower vehicle height, making installing and securing child car seats simple.
Likelihood of Rolling OverSUVs may be more likely to roll over due to their higher center of gravity. However, technology like electronic stability control can reduce this risk.   In 2021, SUVs had the second-highest rollover rate, at 37%.Minivans have a lower likelihood of rolling over thanks to their lower profile and broader base, which provides greater stability on the road.   In 2021, minivans had the second-lowest rollover rate, at 26%.  

While minivans have a slight edge on SUVs, it often comes down to the specific make and model. Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conduct crash tests and provide safety ratings that parents can review to help select their next family vehicle.

Regardless of which type of vehicle you choose, in the unfortunate event of a vehicle collision, you need legal assistance to protect your rights and handle complex insurance claims to get your family the compensation they need. At Dudley DeBosier, our skilled lawyers are committed to supporting and guiding families through the legal process after a crash.

We can review your case to determine what caused the collision, gather evidence, and submit a claim for damages, including the cost of your family’s injuries, pain, and distress. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.

Disclaimer: This content has been reviewed by Chad Lederman, Director of Legal Operations at our New Orleans office.

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