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Rollovers And Sport Utility Vehicles - Safety Forum

Eighty Percent Of All Deaths In Single-vehicle Crashes Of Sport Utility Vehicles Involve Rollovers.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 220,000 rollover accidents in the United States in 1991. Of these accidents, 207,000 [94%] were single vehicle rollover accidents.

Rollover accidents accounted for 9186 deaths during the same time frame and 56,000 serious injuries. 63% of the deaths were related to occupants being ejected from the vehicle during the course of the rollover. 17% of the fatalities were wearing their seat belts during the accident. Importantly, only 7% of the rollover accidents involved a vehicle that began to roll over while on the roadway while the remaining 93% began to roll off the roadway.

According to the same government study, pickups and sport utility vehicles have a rollover rate that is 2-3 times higher than the average passenger car. A study performed for the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association has likewise recognized the significant difference between rollover rates for passenger cars versus sport utility vehicles. When measured by either fatalities or incapacitating injuries per occupant involved, rollover crashes are the most dangerous type of collision for all classes of light vehicles. Rollovers are second only to frontal crashes in their level of severity in terms of fatalities per registered vehicle. These statistics support the proposition that rollover crashes are the most dangerous collision type for all classes of light vehicles whether measured by fatalities or by incapacitating injuries per involved occupant. The statistics are even more alarming when one considers that rollover accidents are the least frequent crash mode per registered vehicle.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") has recognized that the rollover problem is most serious for sport utility vehicles. According to the NHTSA, the injury rate is 28% higher for sport utility vehicles as compared to light trucks.

Handling Sport Utility Vehicles on Slick Roads - AAA

Many sport utility drivers feel immune to winter driving hazards

While sport utility vehicles perform well in many difficult driving conditions, drivers of these popular vehicles still need to exercise caution to help ensure safe winter driving, according to AAA.

Many sport utility drivers feel immune to winter driving hazards, says AAA. Fundamental safety rules need to be followed for safe driving on slick and snowy roads.

While the higher ground clearance and 4-wheel drive might help SUV owners get going in heavy snow, those special features do not help stop the vehicle, AAA advised. Drivers still need to slow down and increase the distance between vehicles when driving on slick roads.

It is also important to know if a sport utility vehicle has anti-lock brakes so that proper braking techniques can be used.

When making a quick stop in vehicles with anti-lock brakes, maintain firm and constant pressure on the brake pedal. If your vehicle does not have anti-lock brakes, pump the brakes to avoid locking the wheels and losing control of the vehicle.

SUV owners need to realize that their vehicles have different handling characteristics than other passenger vehicles.

The higher center of gravity on some SUVs can make them more prone to roll over during sharp turning, says AAA. Special care is needed to handle SUVs safely.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), sport utility vehicles have the highest rollover rate of any vehicle type in fatal crashes -- 37 percent as compared with 25 percent for pick-ups, 19 percent for vans, and 15 percent for passenger cars.

SUVs also have the highest rollover rate in injury crashes -- 9 percent as compared with 7 percent for pick-ups, 4 percent for vans, and 3 percent for cars.

Motorists should carefully read their owners manual for information about their vehicle's handling characteristics.

The AAA of Northern California, Nevada, and Utah also recommends that drivers operating SUVs on slick roads for the first time find a deserted parking lot to practice braking and steering.

Industry report - Crash tests of SUVs, minivans and sedans

November 22, 2005 - Vehicles made by Hyundai Motor Co., Honda Motor Co., DaimlerChrysler AG and Subaru of America Inc. earned top honors in new crash tests of SUVs, minivans and sedans.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave five stars Monday in front and side-impact protection to the Hyundai Sonata sedan and Tucson SUV, Honda Odyssey minivan, Mercedes-Benz ML Class SUV and Subaru B9 Tribeca SUV.

The Pontiac G6 two-door coupe received the top score in rollover protection, with the government estimating a 9% chance of rollover in the vehicle.

The Mitsubishi Lancer, meanwhile, fared worst in side-impact protection among the vehicles; the four-door version was the only model to get two stars on side-impact protection for the driver. The score was based on previous testing and denotes a 21%-25% chance of serious injury in a real-world crash.

Dan Irvin, a Mitsubishi spokesman, noted that it was an old test and said that side curtain air bags will become standard equipment on the vehicle in the 2007 model year. The Lancer received top scores in frontal protection.

The majority of vehicles reviewed received either four or five stars in frontal- and side-impact protection. In addition to the vehicles that earned five stars on both tests, other top-performing vehicles included the 2006 Volkswagen Passat, Chevrolet Impala, Dodge Dakota, Nissan Armada and Ford Freestar.

For frontal tests, five stars means there is a 10% or less chance of serious injury and four stars estimates a 11 percent to 20% chance of serious injury. NHTSA conducts the front-impact test at 35 m.p.h.


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