D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

Full Bio →

Written by

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has appeared on legaladvice.com, themanifest.com, and vice.com.

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jan 19, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident car insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one car insurance company and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider.

Our insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about car insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything car insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by car insurance experts.

Are hybrids like the Honda Insight safer than gasoline cars?
Are hybrids like the Honda Insight safer than gasoline cars? (honda)

Since we’re just a week removed from the mass hysteria exhibited by the press over a General Motors Chevrolet Volt catching fire three weeks after it was crash tested by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), one might think electric vehicles and hybrids aren’t safe.

The NHTSA took the incident as a credible reason to begin an analysis of the safety of electric vehicles, and that investigation should continue until early next year. The federal government agency will be examining if the batteries in hybrids and electric vehicles pose significant risks.

Of course, the Chevrolet Volt is a bit of an oddity, since it isn’t a hybrid, nor is it just an electric car. The Volt offers a compromise between different worlds, since it features the ability to plug-in and be operated entirely on battery power, and it can also use gasoline via a standard internal combustion engine.

We said at the time that we didn’t believe the Volt fire was indicative of any safety concerns for drivers, and we’re not convinced hybrids are somehow lacking in safety, either. The Toyota Prius, for example, is now in its third generation, so it isn’t as if there isn’t plenty of data available to check hybrid safety.

And a newly released report from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), which is part of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), has found that hybrids are 25 percent safer for their occupants than standard cars.  The analysis used data on 25 hybrid-conventional vehicle pairs (such as the Ford Escape, which is offered in both traditional and hybrid forms) from 2003-2011.

But it isn’t some sort of new tech or safety equipment that makes hybrids safer. Rather, it’s the weight of their batteries – which make the typical hybrid 10 percent heavier – that give them the edge in collisions.

“This extra mass gives them an advantage in crashes that their conventional twins don’t have,” Matt Moore, HLDI vice president and one of the authors of the report said.

We’re guessing this will do little to spur hybrid or electric vehicle sales, but we can’t argue that we’d ever mind having more safety when we’re on the road. Will this give hybrid drivers another reason to be smug?