Is the Popularity of Electric Cars Causing More Dangerous Roads?
Tesla and more traditional brands like Chevrolet, BMW, and Ford have started manufacturing electric-powered engines in recent years. Many believe that turning from gas to electric is better for the environment, offers a smoother ride, and will ultimately save on costs. Newer models may also include additional safety features like automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, or pedestrian detection. However, none of these features are foolproof and there are also some downsides to these types of cars despite all of the appeal. Some are even saying that electric cars may be bringing out the worst in us.
A recent article by The Atlantic claims that manufacturers are making us believe we are helping save the planet when we may not actually be helping the cause at all due to the mass product of lithium batteries. Plus, the speed and weight of these cars are actually making our Chicago roads a little more hazardous.
Electric vehicles are fast—maybe even too fast
To some drivers, a lot of the appeal lies within how quickly an electric vehicle accelerates from zero to 60 miles per hour. It is often thought of as a perk and part of the “luxury” experience of owning a battery-powered car. Standard gas-powered cars can accelerate from zero to 60 in anywhere from four to eight seconds, but an electric vehicle can do that almost twice as fast. According to the Electric Vehicle Database, the Maserati GranTurismo Folgore accelerates in 2.7 seconds while something like the newer Tesla Model S Plaid accelerates in just 2.1 seconds. And that is fast.
It is not uncommon for drivers of sporty vehicles to want to test those speeds by trying to race to their destination or trying to “beat” another driver, like after a red traffic light turns green. Unfortunately, going fast just for the sake of going fast can lead to car accidents. It has actually been proven that higher rates of speed do cause more accidents. Since the faster you go increases the required brake time you need if there is someone or something in front of you, this can cause major damage—and sometimes even casualties.
Battery-powered cars are heavier than gas-powered ones
The fact of the matter is, electric cars are heavy. The batteries used to power these types of vehicles are pretty large and they themselves weigh a lot before even being installed in a vehicle. Now, factor in the weight of the car’s body and all its bells and whistles. CNN reports that the battery-powered GMC Hummer EV weighs over 9,000 pounds—nearly three times the weight of a gas-powered Honda Civic, to put it into perspective. Likewise, the electric Ford F-150 Lightning weighs nearly 1,600 pounds more than its similar gas-powered version.
Marketers also tend to point out the heavier weight as a selling point for electric cars. It is true that the extra weight makes the driver and the passengers inside of it safer if they were to get into a crash. However, it also makes it that much more deadly for others on the road if they were to hit someone else. No matter who hits who, the heavier vehicle will ultimately push the lighter one away. So while the people inside the heavier car may be safer from the impact, the people inside the lighter car are the ones feeling it.
This also means the heavier car may not experience as much damage—which could result in them driving away even after a bad crash. Being the victim of an accident is not easy, but working with the right Chicago car accident attorney could make the situation a little less stressful.
Less noise is not always a good thing
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that over 6,500 pedestrians were killed and 55,000 pedestrians were injured from crashes involving a motor vehicle in 2020. Sometimes pedestrians do not take proper precautions, such as listening to loud music with headphones or if they do not look both ways before crossing. However, being in the presence of electric cars is still dangerous for pedestrians who follow all the right rules.
Since electric vehicles do not operate with a standard engine, there are virtually no noises or vibrations as the car drives. This sounds great to those who are driving the car because it means it is a quiet ride! But when you look at it from another angle, it also means that pedestrians and bicyclists are much less likely to hear you coming.
Electric cars are more popular in Chicago than you may think
While electric vehicles may have been considered to be only for the wealthy just a few years ago, they are becoming more and more common. As more manufacturers develop them and find ways to lessen costs, the possibility of owning an electric vehicle no longer seems out of the realm of possibilities for the average consumer. In fact, Illinois reported that there are 9,604 electric vehicles registered in Cook County with over 6,500 of those being in Chicago itself.
The probability of getting hit by an electric vehicle while walking down Michigan Avenue may have seemed small before, but the numbers prove that it can happen—especially with the heavy foot traffic in Chicago.
If you were hit by an electric vehicle either as a driver or a pedestrian, then you should reach out to the experienced car accident attorneys at Gainsberg Law. Our Chicago injury lawyers have worked with people like you who are dealing with these types of claims, and we understand the complexities of proving liability in electric vehicle crashes. To learn more about our services, or to schedule a free consultation, please call our office or complete our contact form. We’re based in Chicago and serve the entire Chicagoland area.
Neal S. Gainsberg has spent the last 20 years fighting to protect the rights of the injured in Chicago and throughout Illinois. From consumer rights and bankruptcy to catastrophic injuries and wrongful death, Mr. Gainsberg stands up to large corporations, insurance companies, creditors and hospital administrators to ensure that his clients’ futures are safe and secure. Learn More