You’re at the dealership, looking at a small car that sips fuel and a large pickup truck. Which one should you choose?

It depends what you’re looking for. Fuel economy may be your top goal. If you’re just looking for safety, though, statistics suggest you should buy the truck — no matter what those crash test ratings say.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has looked at death rates in vehicles over time, and the trends are clear. Cars that are heavier and physically larger offer more safety.

For instance, relatively new — not more than three years old — very large cars were involved in accidents that took 22 lives for every million registered vehicles in 2015. For the same amount of registered vehicles in the same year, minicars were involved in 64 deadly accidents. That shows that people were nearly three times as likely to pass away in smaller cars, even with all other things being equal.

The IIHS also looked at the vehicles ranking near the bottom in driver fatality rates — meaning there were lower fatality levels — and, out of the 21 cars and trucks on the bottom of that list, a single vehicle was classified as a “small car.” The other 20 were large vehicles. When looking at the highest driver fatality rates, a full 66 percent were either minicars or small cars.

You can, of course, be injured in any vehicle, but this shows why you may want to consider safety when buying your next car or truck. No matter what you choose, if you’re then involved in a wreck, you may want to know what options you have to seek financial compensation.

Source: IIHS, “Vehicle size and weight,” accessed Aug. 18, 2017