Each year, thousands of people are killed in rollover accidents. When a vehicle rolls, forces are applied to the roof at several times the vehicle weight. Studies have shown that stronger roofs reduce injuries and can save lives. Just how well can a small pickup protect you in a rollover?
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) set out to answer this question by testing five small pickup trucks. All trucks were 2010 models, the Nissan Frontier, Dodge Dakota, Ford Ranger, Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado. The Institute used a roof strength-to-weight ratio to compare the trucks, and applied a good, acceptable, marginal or poor rating.
The Institute found vast differences in the small trucks' ability to resist roof crushing. The Nissan Frontier was given the highest rating of good. The Ford Ranger was given an acceptable rating. The rest of the trucks only scored marginal ratings. The Frontier was able to withstand 4.11 times its weight before its roof was crushed 5 inches. The worst performing truck, the Chevrolet Colorado, could only withstand 2.86 times its weight before the roof was crushed 5 inches.
Current federal standards only require a 1.5 strength-to-weight ratio for roof strength. Institute research has shown that a strength-to-weight ratio of 4 reflects an estimated 50 percent reduction in serious or fatal injury risk in single-vehicle rollover crashes, compared with the current federal standard.
For more information, visit www.iihs.org.