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IIHS Finds That Convertibles Are as Safe as Hardtop Models

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2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder. Convertibles are as safe as hardtop models
The 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder
Photo: Mitsubishi Motors

If you’ve had safety concerns over riding in a convertible, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s new report may put your mind at ease. The organization recently found that you can be just as safe cruising in convertibles as you can be driving in their hardtop counterparts.


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What the report indicates

Eric Teoh, IIHS director of statistical services, wrote this report after reviewing police-reported crashes and rates of driver deaths between 2014 and 2018. Specifically, Teoh compared the data on 1 to 5-year-old convertible and nonconvertible models.

The research showed that hardtop models were in 6 percent more police-reported collisions per miles traveled than their convertible counterparts. Furthermore, the conventional models had 11 percent higher driver death rates.

Despite these findings, drivers were more likely to be ejected from convertibles during fatal crashes. 17 percent of conventional car drivers killed in collisions were ejected, compared to 21 percent of convertible drivers. In rollover collisions, drivers had a 35 percent chance of being ejected from hardtop models and a 43 percent chance of being ejected from convertible models.

The 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder. Convertibles are as safe as hardtop models
The 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder
Photo: Mitsubishi Motors

Drivers of convertibles did have a slightly higher likelihood of sticking to the speed limit and wearing seat belts, helping to keep them safe. Nevertheless, for both car types, about 60 percent of fatalities occurred due to front-impact crashes, 25 percent due to rollover crashes, and 20 percent due to side-impact crashes.

“These findings don’t suggest that convertibles offer better protection for their occupants than other cars, but they do indicate there’s no statistical basis for concerns that the lack of a permanent roof makes them more dangerous,” said Teoh.


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If you’re searching for a new car that can provide you with peace of mind on the road, be sure to look up the protective technologies and crash test ratings of different models. These can help you decide on your next vehicle, whether it be a convertible or conventional car.