What To Avoid
Bigger isn’t always better, especially when it comes to pedestrian safety.
“Technology aside, looking at the increased popularity of pickup trucks and SUVs, sometimes those very large vehicles have high hood lines that can easily impede a driver's vision. Sometimes it can be hard, if not impossible, to see shorter pedestrians or children in front of you,” says Lum.
A recent Consumer Reports evaluation found that full-sized pickup trucks can have front blind zones that are 11 feet longer than that of a compact car and 7 feet longer than an SUV.
Though you might be interested in getting a larger vehicle such as an SUV or truck to help protect you in the event of an accident, it could do more harm to pedestrians and people inside smaller cars during a collision. A small study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that SUVS are more likely to cause fatal injuries to pedestrians than smaller cars.
In general, heavy vehicles that have a high bumper height may compromise driver visibility and cause more harm to a pedestrian during a collision by hitting their torso and vital organs instead of their legs and by being more likely to push the person forward and drive over them. While the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act may usher in more recommended changes to make hoods and bumpers of vehicles safer for pedestrians, it’s up to buyers to seek out lower hood heights, smaller front-end blind spots, and lighter utility vehicles in the meantime.
Getting a new vehicle with all of the latest safety technology can help lessen the likelihood of hitting a pedestrian. Despite advances in technology, nothing is perfect. For example, the IIHS found that many automatic emergency braking systems don’t work very well in the dark. Plus, weather conditions like rain or icy roads may affect driver assistance systems as well.
In other words, there are no foolproof features, and it’s important for drivers to stay alert and always look twice for other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. Be aware of your surroundings, make turns carefully, and don’t speed. In the end, technology should be an aid and not a replacement for driver safety.