When trying to choose a safe car, you consider a lot of things. You look at accident rates. You check out the crash test ratings. You read reviews. You want a car that is going to protect you because you know the risks you face from other drivers on the road.

While all of these are good things to consider, you’re neglecting a key point: physics.

Essentially, experts note that the cars involved in the most fatal accidents tend to be small, light vehicles. The heavier, larger vehicles tend to have lower fatality rates, even if they crash just as often.

Your car’s weight and bulk can protect you by absorbing the force of the impact. Plus, if your car is heavier, it is putting more force onto the smaller vehicle than it is receiving. This means that smaller cars tend to take more damage and the people inside tend to have more severe injuries.

Height also often goes along with weight and mass. The heavier cars are taller. In a head-on accident, those in a taller vehicle — a truck or SUV — take the impact at waist level or even leg level. Those in a smaller car may take it at head or chest level. Some small cars can actually slide up under the bumpers of larger vehicles, meaning that the bumper basically hits the front window of the lower car.

You’re right that you do face a lot of risks, no matter what car you drive. If someone else causes an accident that leaves you with serious injuries, you may be able to seek out financial compensation for medical bills and other costs.