Over in GQ there’s a thread dealing with SUV Safety http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=110371
In order to keep the opinions out of that thread, I’m asking here: Are SUVs in North America the equivalent of Sacred Cows in India?
Lots of people jumping up into an SUV do so because of their supposed safety benefits. There’s an impression that the larger the vehicle you’re driving, the safer you’ll be when you smash into someone else.
But isn’t the trend towards SUVs just another example of that sociological adage “What’s really good for one person can really suck if everyone else does it”? With more people driving SUVs, aren’t you more likely to be injured when you crash into another SUV?
In addition, don’t they actually slow down traffic? I mean, they’re bigger than cars, so you can’t fit as many into a given length of road as cars. As as Cecil pointed out in the classics (link here http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_028b.html) people drive slower when there are more large things around them, so people surrounded by SUVs, even if in one themselves, are slowing down traffic even more.