IIHS safety ratings show not all large sedans created equal

Crash testing results from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety could help people in California select a vehicle with truly reliable protection in an accident. In the category of large sedans, the nonprofit institute calculated that the Lincoln Continental, Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan and the Toyota Avalon buffered occupants from the impact of crashes to a higher degree than other models. These three cars earned the designation Top Safety Pick Plus.

A vice president for IIHS explained that the safety designation for large sedans meant more than a similar safety rating for smaller vehicles. Large cars provide a premium of protection to drivers and passengers because their size insulates people better from crushing forces, he said.

Despite the benefits of size, not all large sedans performed well during crash testing. The Tesla Model S, Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Impala lost points on the small overlap front test, which simulates conditions when a vehicle hits something like a telephone pole on the front driver-side corner. According to IIHS scoring, the dummy behind the wheel of a Tesla Model S hits its head on the steering wheel during that test. The structure of the Impala held up better, but crashes still exposed the dummy's head to danger. As for the Taurus, the dummy's head stayed safe, but the lower left leg was vulnerable during the crash.

When car accidents injure people, victims often need to determine liability for their medical expenses and lost income. A person hurt in a crash might wish to consult an attorney about the role that a negligent driver or defective auto part played in the accident. An attorney could assemble evidence for a personal injury lawsuit and file the court papers to pursue damages for the victim.

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