Rollovers are serious crashes and they are more common in SUVs and pickup trucks than in cars. In 2008 almost half of all pickup occupants killed in crashes were in trucks that rolled over.
In a handout video from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety we learn that it's all about the roof.
"When the roof caves in, there's not much room inside to protect the occupants," explained David Zuby, V.P. of Insurance Institute. "And if the windows break out, there's an increased chance of being thrown from the vehicle."
The Institute's research shows the stronger the roof the better the protection. The small pickup with the strongest roof was the Nissan Frontier which received a rating of good.
"In this demonstration test we crushed the roof with 15,000 pounds and it crashed less than four inches," said Zuby.
In order to earn a rating of good, a pickup's roof must be able to support four times the vehicle's weight. The Chevrolet Colorado was unable to do that as it had the weakest roof in the tests.
All in all, five vehicles were tested with none earning a top safety pick award, although the Nissan Frontier came closest. "Unfortunately, the seats didn't earn our top rating for whip lash protection in rear crashes. If Nissan were to upgrade the seat design, Frontier could be a top safety pick," said Zuby.
- Rollover Crash Test Results:
- Nissan Frontier: Good
- Ford Ranger: Acceptable
- Dodge Dakota: Marginal
- Toyota Tacoma: Marginal
- Chevrolet Colorado: Marginal