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How vehicle design trends are contributing to pedestrian crashes

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2024 | Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian crashes can be very serious incidents. Unlike crashes between two vehicles, pedestrian crashes involve someone with no protection against impact. Even at low speeds, a car striking a pedestrian could cause severe injuries. Someone backing out of a parking space or turning out of their driveway could knock down a pedestrian. A vehicle striking a pedestrian could cause broken bones and brain injuries even at low speeds. At higher speeds, a pedestrian crash could lead to fatal injuries.

The decisions made by pedestrians and drivers can contribute to crash risk. Vehicle design can also influence the likelihood of a pedestrian collision or how bad it is. Modern vehicle trends contribute in several ways to the likelihood of pedestrian crashes.

Bigger vehicles are more dangerous

Modern design trends favor larger vehicle styles. While SUVs, vans and pickup trucks were once only a small subset of the vehicles on the road, they are now consistently the most popular vehicles each year. Bigger and taller vehicles have more momentum even at lower speeds. They are also more likely to cause deadly injuries in crashes, especially if the engine hood is tall and features a more vertical front end. Larger, heavier vehicles increase the severity of pedestrian crashes even if they are typically safer for the people inside the vehicle.

Smaller windows create dangerous blind spots

Windshields and other vehicle windows are crucial for driver visibility. However, they are a hazard during crashes. The glass can shatter and cause lacerations or penetrating injuries. One of the ways manufacturers have attempted to address that risk is by reducing the size of windshields and other windows in vehicles. While those design choices may reduce the risk for occupants when a crash occurs, they create blind spots. Someone in front of a vehicle with a smaller windshield might expect the driver to see them. However, if they are off to the side of the vehicle, the driver may not actually be able to spot them before moving the vehicle.

When pedestrian crashes occur, there may be massive expenses for victims to cover. Pursuing compensation from the driver who caused a pedestrian crash is often a reasonable reaction to an incident that puts someone in the hospital or worse. Pedestrians who understand why modern vehicles are more dangerous than many older vehicles can potentially make better safety choices when walking on the road.