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Which car safety feature makes crashing more likely?

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Modern cars often come with much thicker roof support pillars than older vehicles. This is a safety design to increase strength and reduce the chance that the roof will cave in on the passengers if the vehicle rolls over in a crash.

The problem is that thicker pillars reduce visibility. There are six pillars, two at the side of the front windshield, two at the side of the rear windshield and one midway down the side of each vehicle between the front and rear doors. Accommodating their extra width requires reducing the amount of visibility-providing glass. These pillars leave motorists with larger blind spots making it more likely that a driver will miss something happening outside and will cause (or fail to avoid) a crash as a result.

One of the groups of people that suffer the most due to this safety feature is pedestrians. Figures from the U.S. show the percentage of people killed in road traffic accidents who are traveling as pedestrians has been climbing over the last decade or so. This trend fits with the period wherein the popularity of SUVs has risen. These larger vehicles have thicker pillars than the average family car.

Design improvements could help

There have been moves to add cameras outside these pillars that can relay information to the driver to help them perceive whatever may be in their blind spot. Some manufacturers are considering installation of sensors that can help detect a pedestrian in front of a car, and some manufacturers are looking at avoiding pillars altogether.

Yet, in the meantime, the option every driver has is to be aware of their blind spot and take extra caution to check before maneuvering, especially in urban areas where pedestrians are a likely presence. Otherwise, an injured pedestrian or their surviving loved ones may do their utmost to hold you responsible for their losses.

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