Deadliest Cars in History

How deadly is your car? You probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. Perhaps your current vehicle isn’t the safe and secure ride you think it is, but a potential accident waiting to happen. Unfortunately, statistics prove that some cars are known to be deadlier than others—and you could be driving in one of these rolling coffins without even knowing it.

Sound like scaremongering? Well, it is, but a lot of us are drivers, so you should know which cars are the deathtraps to avoid. Take a look at this brief overview of the deadliest cars on the road right now. It might just save your life, or at least give you something to discuss with your Facebook friends.

Kia Rio

If you had the Kia Rio in your deadliest cars office pool, you’re the big winner—unless you spend that money to buy a Kia Rio, in which case, you’re probably not reading this because you might be dead. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Kia Rio has the highest rate of deaths among current vehicles, with an alarming 149 deaths per million registered vehicle years. Where they found a million-year-old Kia Rio, I’m not sure, but I guess I’d start by looking in the morgue.

Chevy Corvair

One of the most infamously dangerous vehicles of all time, the Chevy Corvair rolled off the assembly line and into the firing line back in 1959. The Corvair had a major problem: the rear swing axle caused drastic over-steering, making it wildly unstable, especially on corners. Chevy compensated for this by deliberately under-inflating the tires, which worked fine right up until when the owner noticed and put air in. Engineers designing the car requested that a simple anti-roll bar be added to the design, which would eliminate the problem, but Chevy purposely left them out, citing production costs. Once this was revealed in Ralph Nader’s 1965 book, Unsafe at Any Speed, Chevy was the target of hundreds of lawsuits, and sales of the Corvair dropped like a rock, eventually forcing the company to discontinue the line entirely.

Nissan Versa

Known among car enthusiasts as the deadliest car of all time, rumor has it that the Corvette has claimed more lives than any other car in American history. Much of that has to do with the drivers and less with the car. A high speed performance machine, the Corvette is designed to drive fast first and worry about safety later. Historically, people who have bought Corvettes have tended to drive them, and drive them fast, which has led to a great many fatalities due to accidents at excessive speeds. It’s just way too much car for most people to handle.

Hyundai Accent

Like the Nissa Versa, the Hyundai Accent appears twice on the Institute for Highway Safety’s deadliest cars list. But it manages to do the Versa entry better by landing both spots in the top five—the four door version is the third deadliest sedan and the two door coupe is fifth—for a combined total of 206 deaths. More than half of those came in single vehicle crashes, so it’s not like they were getting crushed by semis or caught in a big pileup. They apparently fold like a cheap accordion at the slightest hint of contact, which is not optimal.

Ford Pinto

Hey, remember that story I told you that one time about the Chevy Corsair and how the company intentionally built dangerous cars because it was cheaper? Well, that’s just a simple practical joke compared to the case of the Ford Pinto. After numerous reports that a design flaw caused the fuel tank to explode on contact during accidents, it was revealed that Ford ran a cost analysis and decided it was cheaper to just settle wrongful death lawsuits after the fact than to actually fix the car. Needless to say, this didn’t exactly go over well with, you know, actual human beings, and the wave of bad publicity forced Ford to cease production of the car.