Go watch this local television news investigation about frontal blind spots on SUVs and trucks

As drivers, we generally think that our blind spots are to the left and right of the vehicle, not in the front under the bumper. But as this research by a local Indiana television station reveals, many of the most popular vehicles in the US. UU. They now have surprisingly huge frontal blind spots, and that could mean danger to many people, especially young children.

It is a problem that worsens as US car buyers tend toward larger and larger vehicles, reports WTHR 13 in Indianapolis. The front blind areas associated with large trucks and SUVs have contributed to the injuries and death of hundreds of children across the country. (The research was published in April 2019, but recently resurfaced on Twitter.)

The so-called frontal crashes occur when children are hit by slow-moving vehicles with drivers who generally cannot see them. According to the KidsAndCars security group, at least 3,000 children are injured and an average of nearly 60 children die in frontal crashes in the United States. KidsAndCars tracked 575 frontal deaths in the last 10 years, compared with 304 deaths in the previous decade, an increase of 89 percent.

To demonstrate how dangerous these frontal blind spots can be, WTHR 13 reporters made the children sit in a row in front of a Chevy Tahoe and a Cadillac Escalade until their respective drivers could see them. Nine children were needed before the owner of the Chevy Tahoe could see the top of their heads, while the Cadillac Escalade took 13 children.

“Oh my God, it’s absolutely scary,” said Chevy Tahoe’s owner. The owner of Escalade was equally disturbed: “That is so scary,” he told reporters. “This is simply amazing. I can not believe it “.

WTHR 13 measured the front blind areas of many popular vehicles, from family sedans and minivans to large SUVs and full-size vans. The Escalade had the largest frontal blind spot of 10 feet, 2 inches, with the driver sitting in a natural and relaxed position. The Ford F150, the most popular vehicle in the US UU. With more than one million sold in 2018, it has a front blind area of ​​9 feet 7 inches. And so on up to the line. The larger the SUV or truck, the greater the blind spot.

In its tests, WTHR 13 took into consideration a variety of factors, such as driver’s height and road inclination:

Blind areas can vary widely depending on a number of factors, such as the height of the driver, the size of the object in front of the vehicle, the position of the driver’s seat and the inclination (or decrease) of the driving surface. . To minimize these variables, WTHR measured the blind zone of each vehicle on a flat surface using a 5-foot, 4-inch driver (the average height of a woman in the United States) and a 29-inch traffic cone (the approximate height 12 months) old). The test was also performed with the driver in two different seats.

The test results show that most SUVs, minivans and vans have a front blind zone that is between five and 10 feet, two or three times larger than the front blind areas of most sedans and compact cars, when a driver sits in a normal seating position. Some SUVs and larger vans have grills and hoods that measure more than four feet off the ground, which is taller than an average 7-year-old child.

We have known for years that the boom in truck and SUV sales has caused an increase in CO2 emissions and an alarming increase in pedestrian deaths. Anecdotal evidence has shown that driving oversized vehicles can lead to unhealthy levels of road rage.

The correlation between vehicle design and pedestrian deaths is quite clear. While people driving SUVs are a bit safer (1.6 percent decrease in deaths of SUV occupants in 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), the number of pedestrians killed by those drivers is It has shot 81 percent over the past decade, according to a report released last year by the Insurance Institute for Road Safety.

This is mainly due to the way SUVs are designed: larger bodies and taller cars mean that pedestrians are more likely to suffer fatal blows to the head and torso. Higher distances mean that victims are more likely to get trapped under a high-speed SUV instead of being pushed to the hood or to the side. Speed ​​is also a factor because SUVs have more power than a typical sedan. A recent investigation by USA Today and the Detroit Free Press He discovered that the growing popularity of SUVs explains the alarming increase in pedestrian deaths.

There is a human cost in our growing appetite for huge trucks and SUVs, and WTHR 13 research is another example of that. Go see it.

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