What car safety features protect pedestrians who are struck?


Quick Answer

Some changes made to automotive designs that protect pedestrians include the removal of protruding elements of the front end of vehicles, more room between the hood and engine, changes in the way the hood, fenders and windshield wipers are attached and the engine compartment. Some automakers, particularly those who market vehicles in Europe and Asia, add extra foam padding behind the front bumper.

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Full Answer

Studies and common sense agree that most pedestrian collisions happen on the front end of motor vehicles, but pedestrians who are hit often fall alongside of the vehicle. Some of the protruding elements that have been removed or modified are hood ornaments, bumpers, door and fuel tank handles and mirrors, many of which are now affixed with springs or bearings to allow movement that reduces impact. Many front ends have been raised and are vertically oriented rather than coming to a sharp point at the front tip, much like a Chevrolet Corvette.

Hoods have been lifted to allow more clearance between the hood and valve cover, and for some vehicles the hood inclines near where it meets the windshield to cover windshield wipers and the very dense lower portion of the windshield. Underneath the hood, many automakers now use softer plastic valve covers. Fenders and bumpers are designed to be more malleable, with additional padding underneath them.

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