If you have ever been in a minor accident with your car, you know that sometimes it doesn’t take too much to do a lot of damage. Why don’t car bumpers do a better job? The truth is, sometimes the bumpers hardly get touched at all in a collision, because they just don’t line up.
Cars are required to have bumpers that are a certain distance from the ground, so that they pretty much line up with others cars on the road. That way the bumper and structure of the car absorb a lot of the impact. But when you throw an SUV or truck into the mix, everything changes.
The bumper on an SUV or truck is usually much higher off of the ground; so unfortunately the car’s bumper will go right under it. Not only does that cause a lot more damage to the car itself, but the car occupants absorb a much bigger impact when that happens. In some cases, that can result in some pretty bad injuries.
There are federal standards that apply to car bumpers, but in most cases, SUVs and trucks don’t have those standards. Their bumpers are higher, for ground clearance when they are off road. But in reality, most are not taken off road. And with the amount of these vehicles on the road these days, you can see that this is a big problem.
There are no easy answers to this problem, but automakers and the government continue looking into possible remedies. For example, some big SUVs have a beam that is placed behind the bumper. Then in a crash, the beam will hit the lower car bumper more squarely, reducing the chances of the SUV driving over the car’s bumper.
The bumper mismatch issue will probably never be completely resolved. So it’s important for you to look into crash ratings for your particular vehicle, before you see the big truck coming up in your mirror.