If you run a small business that requires you to transport a lot of equipment you might consider buying a small pickup. It gives you the ability to carry a fair amount of bulky items and access them easily.
You might figure you can also use that same vehicle with your family, for example, throwing the bicycles and camping kit in the rear bed for a weekend away.
However, a recent report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) suggests this might be a bad idea. Here is why:
Small pickups offer less protection for those in the rear seats
The rear cabs in these vehicles are not the most spacious, but you might decide they are fine for your children, or for transporting your staff between jobs.
However, that lack of room also makes them more dangerous. The reason is that the occupant’s heads are closer to the back of the driver and passenger seats than in a vehicle with more generous rear seating arrangements. The tests found that in the cases of the Chevrolet Colorado, Nissan Frontier, Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma, the rear occupants’ heads were more likely to impact the seat in front of them in a crash than usual.
They also found that the crash test dummies in the rear of the Ranger tended to slide down in a crash and forward, meaning the seat belt rose up their body to a less effective position.
However carefully you drive, you could still be involved in a crash due to someone else’s negligence. It’s why you need to give safety just as much if not more priority than practicality when choosing a new vehicle.