The study explores an area of road safety that is often overlooked — vehicles on the side of the road that are either abandoned or occupied, but not entirely visible to other drivers. - Photo via unsplash.com/Donny Jiang.

The study explores an area of road safety that is often overlooked — vehicles on the side of the road that are either abandoned or occupied, but not entirely visible to other drivers.

Photo via unsplash.com/Donny Jiang.

New research shows an estimated 566 people lost their lives and another 14,371 were injured each year during 2016-2018 in collisions involving a stopped or disabled vehicle in which visibility was a factor, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 

Impact Research, a transportation data analysis firm, recently released the new data, which draws on federal crash statistics from all types of roadways. 

The study explores an area of road safety that is often overlooked — vehicles on the side of the road that are either abandoned or occupied, but not entirely visible to other drivers. 

Ultimately, the researchers found that 95% of these inconspicuous-vehicle crashes occur when a vehicle traveling down the roadway collides with a stationary one. 

However, more than 50% of fatalities and almost one in five serious injuries occur when a vehicle strikes a pedestrian who is leaving, working on, or returning to a stopped vehicle. On average, this type of crash kills 300 pedestrians a year, a number that has risen by more than a quarter since 2014.

The report discusses possible countermeasures that could help reduce crashes associated with stopped vehicles. These include stopped-vehicle-ahead warning signs, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, improving hazard lights so they flash brighter and more frequently, and adjustments to the “move over” laws that require drivers to change lanes to give police and emergency services vehicles more room to operate. 

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