DANGERS FOR SUV ROLLOVER ACCIDENTS
Understanding the risks involved in driving a sports utility vehicle may help prevent unnecessary SUV rollover accidents.
Center of Gravity
A high center of gravity/narrow track width is one of the most important factors in determining a potential SUV rollover. Since SUVs have a higher center of gravity than other vehicles on the road it makes them top heavy. A corrective action puts an SUV in a rollover position.
SUVs are supposed to be able to carry a heavy load of people, equipment, etc, over any type of terrain. This fact has made SUVs a family car, rather than for simply off-roading. More weight increases the chances of an SUV rollover accident occurring, despite the belief that added weight will add stability.
An SUV without roll protection is what makes an SUV rollover accident so dangerous. Although SUVs were made for the purpose of off-roading manufacturers realized the use of SUVs as a family car and did not include roll bars. While the body of an SUV remained the same as it would if used for off-roading, the removal of the roll bars combined with the high clearance and high center of gravity make rollover accidents that much more fatal.
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SUV WARNING LABEL
“This is a multipurpose passenger vehicle which will handle and maneuver differently from an ordinary passenger car, in driving conditions which may occur on streets and highways and off-road.
As with other vehicles of this type, if you make sharp turns or abrupt maneuvers, the vehicle may roll over or may go out of control and crash. You should read driving guidelines and instructions in the Owner’s Manual, and wear your seatbelt at all times.”
-Manufacturers required to place this warning label in each sports utility by the driver.
SUV Stability Formula
While many vehicles have safe ratios, the addition of passengers, cargo and a full tank of gas all occurs above the center of gravity, increasing the chance of a rollover accident. Given a real-world scenario, the SUV would probably have cargo, multiple passengers, etc. This extra weight would definitely lower the ratio to dangerous levels if an accident were to occur at normal highway speeds.
Sport utility vehicles have the highest rate of deaths occurring in rollovers. Cars such as the Ford Explorer, Toyota 4 Runner, Isuzu Rodeo, and Honda Passport have been involved in SUV rollovers that have ended up in serious injuries and death. SUV rollovers are almost three times more likely to occur than the average passenger car, and government tests indicate the most stable SUV is still more unstable than the most unstable car. What does this say about the safety of SUVs on the road?
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