The Seriously Scary Hidden Threat of Trucks, SUV, and Vans to Kids

When you’re shopping for a new vehicle, you probably want to make sure that you get the safest car that you can. While most new vehicles these days come with a variety of essential safety features and it’s pretty easy to look up crash test ratings, there is one area that is often overlooked, and it can be a huge danger to kids. That danger is blind spots, and they’re even more dangerous in trucks, SUVs and vans, because of their size.

The 2022 Ford F-350 is one of Consumer Reports most satisfying pickup trucks
The 2022 Ford F-350 Super Duty pickup truck on the road | Ford

Do pickup trucks have blind spots?

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Trucks have some of the worst blind spots of any vehicle on the road. Consumer Reports measured the visibility for 15 brand new vehicles and found that blind spots on larger vehicles are more dangerous than most people realize. In fact, Consumer Reports found that some pickup trucks had blind spots 11 feet longer than some cars and 7 feet longer than some SUVs. That’s a huge difference.

What is a frontover collision?

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A frontover collision is “when a driver hits someone in their front blind spot while maneuvering in a driveway or parking lot,” according to Jennifer Stockburger, director of operations at Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center. More than 80% of fatal frontover collisions involve trucks, vans, and SUVs. That’s because of the enormous blind spots that they have.

Consumer Reports looked at the size of various vehicles and found that “passenger trucks has increased by an average of at least 11 percent since 2000 and that new pickups grew 24 percent heavier on average from 2000 to 2018.” They even found that some larger trucks like the Ford F-250 have hoods as tall as some passenger cars.

Children are especially susceptible to frontover collisions. Between 1990 and 2019 there were 931 deaths due to frontover collisions. KidsAndCars.org says that most deaths were children ages 12-23 months old. KidsAndCars also notes that at least 3,000 kids are injured every year in frontover crashes. To make matters worse, these types of accidents are increasing; they’ve gone up 89% in the last ten years leading up to 2019, from 304 two decades ago to 575 in that last decade, according to The Verge.

An “absolutely terrifying” example illustrates the dangers

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The Verge writes about an experiment done by WTHR, which had reports sit behind the wheel of a Chevy Tahoe and a Cadillac Escalade. They had children sit in front of the vehicles in a line until the drivers could see them. “It took nine children before the owner of the Chevy Tahoe could see the tops of their heads, while the Cadillac Escalade took 13 children,” they write.

That’s an incredibly large blind spot and should be a warning to anyone who drives a large truck, SUV, or van. Even when it feels like you can see clearly what is in front of you, the blind spots in larger vehicles are even bigger than those in cars. Make sure there is nothing in front of your vehicle before you get in to reduce the chance that you’ll run something over.

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