Ford Authority

SUVs, Pickups, And Vans More Likely To Hit Pedestrians While Turning


Over the past few years, a number of studies have found that large SUVs, pickups, and vans are largely to blame for a sharp rise in pedestrian deaths. Much of this is due to the fact that these vehicles feature greatly reduced front visibility due to their tall ride height and longer hoods, creating larger blind spots than sedans or other, smaller vehicles. Now, a new study from the Insurance Insitute of Highway Safety (IIHS) has also found that these bigger vehicles are more likely to hit pedestrians while turning as well.

IIHS researchers studied the most common types of single-vehicle, single-pedestrian crashes at or near intersections, examining how larger vehicles compared against smaller vehicles. They found that at intersections, the odds that a crash that killed a crossing pedestrian involved a left turn by the vehicle versus no turn were about twice as high for SUVs, nearly three times as high for vans and minivans, and nearly four times as high for pickups as they were for cars.

The odds that a crash that killed a crossing pedestrian involved a right turn by the vehicle were also 89 percent higher for pickups and 63 percent higher for SUVs than for cars. These types of turning crashes accounted for more than 900 of around 5,800 fatal pedestrian crashes at or near U.S. intersections during 2014-18. In other locations, SUVs and pickups were 51 percent and 25 percent more likely to kill a crossing pedestrian versus a straight-on crash, too.

IIHS admits that more research needs to be done to determine why this is happening, but previous studies suggest that A-pillars tend to create blind spots that make it difficult to see pedestrians. Longer front ends and taller ride heights are also potential problem areas, though driver-assist technologies offer a solution for all of these issues, including pedestrian detection systems and automatic emergency braking. Meanwhile, the NHTSA recently ordered mandatory crash reporting for vehicles equipped with advanced safety tech and is currently considering making changes to its five-star safety ratings program as well.

We’ll have more safety-related news to share soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for ongoing Ford news coverage.


Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. David Dickinson

    They don’t need to do a study. It is definitely the A-pillar that is the problem. I don’t know why they make them so wide, but it is easy to see why drivers can’t see pedestrians while making a left hand turn. I’ll add, it isn’t just pedestrians. I’ve had the same visibility problem at low speeds with small vehicles approaching that “hide” behind the A-pillar.

    Frankly, I think visibility is a problem automotive engineers need to take more seriously. Whenever I drive my beater ’04 Toyota Sienna, I am reminded how much better visibility is in older cars. Modern vehicles are too dependent on technology to detect things. Technology should be the back-up. Drivers need to be fully aware of their surroundings. I know this is counter to everything the automotive industry is driving towards. That is, they want automobiles to evolve into a surveillance box with a captive audience completely disconnected from their surroundings where they can push various products onto to them and harvest copious amounts of data. Let us hope that day never comes. For now, we still need drivers to perform the basic function of getting from Point A to Point B safely. Visibility is key to that.


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