Sports cars are great for accelerating down an open highway, but their track record for safety isn’t nearly as impressive as their speed. Sports cars are more likely to be involved in accidents than most other types of vehicles, and those accidents are more likely to result in serious injury.
Sports cars are more likely to be involved in collisions mainly because they are harder for other drivers to spot. A typical sedan like a Toyota Corolla is about 58 inches tall at its maximum height. The Lamborghini Veneno, by contrast, measures just 45.8 inches tall. On a busy highway drivers can look right over sports cars when glancing in their mirrors, leading to collisions during lane changes and merges. A related problem is visibility from within the sports car. The viewing angles available from the drivers’ seats of many sports cars are unusual and sometimes obstructed, raising the risk of crashes.
When collisions involving sports cars do occur, injuries are likely. One factor is the light weight of many sports cars. The 2017 Mazda Miata weighs as little as 2,332 pounds—more than half a ton less than a typical sedan. In high-speed collisions, the lighter vehicle tends to take a pounding and is much more likely to roll. Sports car crashes also tend to occur at higher speeds because drivers usually handle them more aggressively. These factors add up quickly. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates the risk of death associated with mid-sized convertibles can be two to four times higher than the risk associated with the average car. Light weight and high speeds also mean that cars are more likely to be totaled in accidents.
Some factors do work in sports cars’ favor, however. Newer sports cars typically come packed with the latest safety features, including more sophisticated airbags, stability control, and roll bars. In the hands of an excellent driver these cars can also offer enhanced maneuverability, potentially allowing drivers to avoid accidents. But despite these risk-reducing factors, sports cars remain more prone to serious collisions than other vehicles.