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The Rise of Pedestrians Versus SUV Accidents

Over the last decade, there has been a staggering increase in the number of pedestrians that have been killed in SUV-involved accidents. NBC News reported of a new report released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety(IIHS) that revealed that the increase of these accidents was actually 81%.

IIHS suggested that the design of SUV’s make them more dangerous to pedestrians. IIHS President David Harkey explained, “SUVs have higher front ends, and often the design for the vehicle is much more vertical than passenger cars.” The article from NBC also points out that the sales of SUVs have also increased over the past decade with SUVs representing more than half of all sales.

Some feel that the only way to make these vehicles less dangerous for pedestrians is by changing the overall design. For example, making the front end more aerodynamic and sloped more like the front end of a car. However, some purchasers of these vehicles may not favor this design because they tend to want a more rugged and off-road appearance, rather than have the aesthetic of a car.

When involved in a pedestrian versus vehicle collision, the pedestrian is more likely to sustain more severe injuries when struck by an SUV versus a smaller car. Injuries to the chest and head are also common in these situations and can even be fatal.

Collision warning systems are being examined to see how effective these safety systems can be for SUVs and if they can help decrease the likelihood of serious injuries in a pedestrian versus SUV collision.

What You Can do as a Driver

If you are the owner of an SUV, there are several things you can do to help protect yourself and pedestrians while you share the roadway. Vehicles that are traveling much faster than they should be can make for a deadlier and more severe accident. As a driver, it is critical to pay attention to your surroundings, yield, and follow the speed limit and other traffic laws.

Also, make sure you are capable of operating an SUV because they are larger than a traditional car and they may also come with certain visual limitations. Avoid any sharp or sudden steering changes because SUVs are not designed for these quick maneuvers.

With an SUV, you are set up higher in the seat and may be able to see further distances in front of you, however, behind the vehicle and alongside it is another story entirely. These visual impairments cause the driver to operate the vehicle virtually blind.

Adjust the mirrors accordingly to help compensate for any blind spots and always take your time and look around for pedestrians before making your turn. Additionally, stay at a safe speed because SUVs are not able to stop as quickly as a car would be able to if faced with an emergency.

What You Can do as a Pedestrian

As a pedestrian, you are also responsible for following all traffic laws and signals just as a vehicle would. You want to stay alert while walking and avoid any and all distractions. Use your ears to listen and pay attention to what is going on around you; this means you may have to do without the earbuds or headphones so that you can be safer.

Also, put down the phone. It is one of the biggest distractions. It is best to keep your head up and your eyes aware and alert of your surroundings and the vehicles sharing the road.

Always be visible to drivers as you walk as well. Wear light-colored or reflective clothing at night to improve your visibility in the dark, stay in well-lit areas, and try to make eye contact with the driver before crossing the street, so you know that they are aware of your presence.

Additionally, always use a crosswalk when crossing the street and anticipate that a driver turning may not always feel that you have the right of way- even when you have the signal to walk. Stop and check your surroundings before crossing, even when the signal says it is okay. You want your safety to be the top priority.

Attorney David Goldman has a strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and those with the means should do what they can to bring justice in all areas of our society. That belief has led him to help Florida's injured from being taken advantage of by corporations and insurance companies. Since 1989 David Goldman has been fighting for the rights of Floridians both as an attorney and by personally supporting our community.

The Rise of Pedestrians Versus SUV Accidents

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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