Recent tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggest that smaller cars, such as the Smart FourTwo, Honda Fit, and Toyota Yaris, aren't as safe as the tests conducted last year would have you believe.
Standard crash tests determine the results of collisions between cars of similar size. And the Smart car, the Honda and the Toyota received good ratings in these tests.
The more recent tests pitted the three cars against midsized cars -- and the results weren't nearly as good. All three received poor ratings for head-on collisions, and the IIHS determined that drivers would sustain significant injuries to the head and legs. Not very good news for all the people who have shifted to smaller cars to reap the benefits associated with their improved mileage.
So...what do we do? It's our hope that, as more small cars get on the road, the odds of hitting one of those "rolling tanks" will start to go down.
In the meantime -- the answer is "defensive driving."