This Is Why Tall Hoods And Big Grilles Kill Pedestrians And Cyclists

Screenshot: FortNine on YouTube
Screenshot: FortNine on YouTube

We’ve talked at length about how larger cars are making American roads deadlier each year. Sure, they’re safe for their occupants, but what about the rest of the population that’s outside your Tahoe? Well, the data shows that they’re sacrifices at the altar of Big Vehicle. But why, exactly, do size and fatalities correlate?

Your first guess might be weight, which is a fair enough place to start — big things are heavy, and heavy things hit hard. But, as Fortnine points out, all cars are heavy relative to the human body. It turns out there’s more to the story than just weight.

Grille and hood height is such an important factor because it determines how all that momentum is transferred to the poor pedestrian standing outside your lumbering behemoth. Lower front ends will shatter your legs in an impact — admittedly not an ideal situation — but they’re better than what a chest-height pickup grille will do to you.


With such height, a massive truck will impact your ribcage, imparting all its momentum directly into your poor bones. There’s no change of direction like with a small sedan; it’s like being hit with a brick wall that’s traveling at highway speeds. This, as you might imagine, is not ideal for survival.

Weight isn’t the reason big cars are deadly, size is. That tall front end deals massive damage to anyone outside a truck of their own, and the arms race of road fatalities — combined with the arms race of “who can put the biggest branding on the front of their trucks” — isn’t going to solve the problem any time soon. This is just one of many reasons the world would be safer if we all rode bikes. No no wait, come ba—

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