Plus, statistics and safety tips for SUV owners
SUVs are one of the most popular vehicles on the road in North America. My family had an SUV for some time before we accidently rolled it over on a local area highway in Colorado. After the roll-over, I was contacted by a personal injury lawyer in Denver who explained the following statistics on SUV ownership with me. I had no idea, and if you own one or are pondering making an SUV you’re next family vehicle, you should be aware of the following statistics as well:
- 1 out of 4 new vehicles sold in the United States is an SUV
- An estimated 70,000 SUV rollover on North American roads each year
- An SUV, in particular, midsized SUVs like the Ford Explorer, is about 16 times as likely as the typical family car to kill occupants of another vehicle in a crash due to their increased size compared to smaller passenger vehicles
- Single-vehicle rollovers cause 1/4 of motor vehicle fatalities yearly in the U.S.
Why are SUVs prone to roll-overs?
Engineers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) alike have long pinpointed SUVs as prone to roll-overs-more than common family vehicles or smaller passenger vehicles – like sedans, coupes and even station wagons. But what is it that causes SUVs to be prone to rolling over on roads?
The NHTSA points the finger at the center of gravity for SUVs. It would seem that the SUV is built with a high profile and narrow track width, which makes this style of vehicle particularly rollover prone. If you mix a poor center of gravity with a roof and poor crash protection, which most SUVs are guilty of as well, you can see how a roll-over could be fatal for occupants of SUVs.
What can drivers do to reduce SUV roll-overs?
According to the NHTSA, SUV drivers can do quite a bit to reduce their risk of a roll-over on the roads, for example:
- Drive with caution and slow down on rural roads
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol or other illegal substances or when excessively drowsy
- Don’t speed
- Be cautious when loading your SUV-load vehicles evenly on both sides, front to back to even out the higher center of gravity that makes an SUV prone to tipping
- If you feel yourself losing control of the vehicle, reduce speeds and pull over until you compose yourself
- Check the condition of SUV tires regularly and repair/replace balding tires