You don’t have to be jogging, walking your dog or hoofing it to work to be a pedestrian. In fact, the moment you step out of your vehicle, whether to cross the parking lot or examine a flat tire, you become one of the most vulnerable people on the road. In fact, while the number of motor vehicle accident fatalities seems to be on the decline, the outlook for pedestrians is not so positive. At least one study suggests that SUVs may be to blame for the rise in fatalities among those on foot.
The weight of the average passenger car hovers around 3,000 pounds. This alone creates a marked disadvantage for you if a vehicle strikes you while on foot. While SUVs and similar vehicles may weigh considerably more than cars in some cases, studies show that it is not the weight as much as the height that poses the greatest risk to pedestrians.
With no protection, you are likely to suffer serious or even catastrophic injuries in an accident with an SUV. One state examined data from SUV/pedestrian accidents and learned that 30% of pedestrians struck by SUVs traveling at speeds less than 40 mph suffered fatal injuries. At 40 mph or higher, every pedestrian died from his or her injuries.
Each new vehicle model improves the chances that the passengers of the SUV will survive a crash. However, protections for pedestrians are still in the design stage. Currently, because of its height, an SUV typically strikes a pedestrian’s legs a split second before the pedestrian’s chest or pelvis. A pedestrian in an accident with an SUV is more likely to be thrown, resulting in spinal injuries, brain injuries and internal injuries that may be fatal or life-altering.
Are you at risk?
More drivers prefer SUVs. They are comfortable to drive, provide room for families and belongings, and offer more protection in an accident than a smaller passenger car. Because more SUVs are on the road than ever before, those who are on foot share an even greater risk of becoming the victim of a life-changing pedestrian accident.
There are certain precautions every pedestrian can take to improve the chances of arriving safely at one’s destination, such as wearing light-colored clothing and obeying signals for crossing streets safely. However, even these precautions will do little good if drivers, especially those behind the wheels of larger vehicles, neglect their responsibility for the safety of everyone with whom they share the road.