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What types of car accident are most dangerous?

Can the type of vehicle you are in determine how bad your injuries are going to be?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which has tracked statistics for over a decade, that may very well play a role in determining the severity of someone's injuries after an accident -- but the real facts might surprise you.

Here's what you should consider:

1. Lighter vehicles are less-safe in collisions, but safer in solo accidents.

If you're in an accident with another vehicle, being in a small, light car is a serious disadvantage. They simply don't have the same protection for occupants that heavier vehicles, like trucks, have. Your odds of survival go down.

However, trucks and sports utility vehicles (SUVs) are more likely to be involved in deadly single car accidents due to rollovers. The shape of the vehicles makes them top heavy and prone to accidents on bends and curves in the road, in particular.

Essentially, a larger car with a lower body may not have the sleek, trim look that you'd like (and some car brands make it their business to produce), but it would be safer than either a small car or a top-heavy vehicle of any sort.

2. Deaths in SUVs and pickups have steadily risen over the decades.

Many people used to believe that SUVs and pickups were generally safer than cars on the road -- but that was likely an impression created by looking at accident statistics without taking into account what was behind them.

As SUVs and pickup trucks have become more plentiful over the decades, the death toll for occupants has risen drastically. They aren't inherently safer than other types of vehicles, so it's wise not to be lured into a false sense of security.

Ultimately, the best you can do is choose a good-quality vehicle that has received high safety ratings and drive carefully. It isn't always possible to avoid every type of car accident, but you can minimize your risks by understanding the inherent dangers of the vehicle you drive.

Source: IIHS.org, "General statistics," accessed Feb. 16, 2018

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