Is a 2WD Safer Than a 4WD?

Safety is a term that can be investigated in many ways.  How safe your car is, is primarily determined by how safely you drive it – and we recommend you give your every attention and apply your level of skill and experience to be safe on our roads.


QBE has identified that most vehicle accidents, incidents and subsequent injuries in Australia are caused by things such as inattention (including the use of mobile phones), alcohol and drug use, fatigue, speed, vehicle maintenance and not wearing seatbelts.


We won’t be considering issues such as rates of traffic incidents between various types of vehicles, nor the rate of injury or death from various vehicle types. Instead, we will specifically explore whether a 4WD is safer than a 2WD.


This largely relates to the differences in the key features between a 4WD and 2WD and the resulting impact the safety of the vehicle.

A 4WD provides greater traction on the road due to the fact that all 4 wheels (when engaged) are driving the vehicle. This is particularly important on gravel roads and in tough road conditions. The only exception here is in slippery ice situations, in which case a 4WD will not add many benefits over a 2WD from a safety perspective.


Under normal driving conditions, providing the vehicle is being driven sensibly and is in good condition (including 4WD tyres and tyre pressure), there really is very little difference in the safety of a 4WD over a 2WD.  In fact, the sheer weight of typically heavier 4WD vehicles could even be detrimental in some circumstances.


Of course, as 4WD lovers, we think it’s great that more people have 4WD vehicles and get off-road every now and again to explore the great outdoors. THIS is where our trusty 4WD tyres and rigs come into their own, both practically and from a safety perspective.


There is no doubt that a 4WD in off-road conditions will have the safety edge over a 2WD, especially if you’re rocking 4WD tyres like mud terrains.  The extra the traction that is gained from having all four wheels driving power to the ground means that when one or more wheels is not in good contact with the road surface, the others will be doing some of the work.

Also, if you have a roo bar fitted to the front of your 4WD, and hit a stray animal at moderate speeds, the impact is unlikely to cause too much damage to your vehicle and thus you will often be able to continue on your way.  A 2WD, on the other hand, could be damaged to the point of not being driveable!


Regardless of whether you’re driving a 4WD or a 2WD, to give us all the best chance of staying safe on our roads, everyone needs to remind themselves to:


·         stay attentive and aware

·         travel at a comfortable speed

·         be courteous

·         have a break if you’re tired

·         don’t get behind the wheel if you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs


If you need any more persuasion to be safe on our roads, check out these WA Road Safety Council stats.


We always love hearing from our loyal visitors – do you think a 4WD is safer than a 2WD? Leave us a comment if you have any thoughts about the different safety features between a 4WD and 2WD vehicle.


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