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Did you know the vehicle you drive directly impacts your safety?

People tend to think of older vehicles as safer since they are usually heavier and larger than the vehicles of today. While the older model vehicles might appear to be safer, the features on newer model vehicles make them a much safer option for drivers.

The age of a vehicle has a direct impact on what type of risks you face. This isn't the only factor that comes into the picture. Other factors, such as safety belt usage and the age of the driver, can also have a direct effect on the safety of everyone in the vehicle.

Age of the vehicle

Vehicles that are 18 years old or older come with an increased risk of death of 71 percent when compared to the risk of death in a vehicle that is three years old. The danger isn't limited to this age group. Vehicles that are four to seven years old come with a risk 10 percent higher than that of newer cars. The risk of death slowly increases with each year that the car ages.

It is interesting to note that the study used to determine this did adjust the results based on variables, including the type of road, speeding, blood alcohol concentration, age of the driver and time of day.

Size of the vehicle

It shouldn't be any surprise that people in larger vehicles fare better than those in smaller vehicles if you compare similar crashes in vehicles of the same year model. One study looked at fatal crashes with teen drivers. Of the teens who died in a crash, two-thirds were in a car. A little more than one out of every three fatalities was in a midsized or larger car. Around 29 percent were in a small or compact car. The remaining fatalities were in SUVs or pickup trucks.

Seat belt usage matters in all vehicles

Using a seat belt is still one of the keys to remaining safe. In a nutshell, failing to wear the safety belt takes away the safety boost in all vehicles, including new ones. In a 19-year-old vehicle, the odds of dying in a car crash are 78 percent without safety belt usage or 46 percent with seat belt usage. In a new car, defined as three years old or newer, the risk of death is 26 percent with a seat belt or 72 percent without.

The risk of death in a crash is a good reason to drive safely. Unfortunately, your safety doesn't depend on only you. When other drivers aren't driving safely, you are placed in a risk that you can't control.

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