Four-Wheel-Drives more likely to roll over???

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 07:53
ThreadID: 10000 Views:2181 Replies:11 FollowUps:7
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This is a letter sent to the Canberra Times Forum, Thought you guys might find it interesting/amusing/infuriating.

Comments on the recent and car deaths on the Hume Highway in the vicinity of Tarcutta have rightly refered to the absence of a dual carriageway and to black spots.
Few have noted the higher risk of fatal rollovers associated with four-wheel-drives, in US jargon known (with more precision) as "sports utility vehicles" or SUV's.
Rollovers typically occur when cars go off the road at speed.
The higher risk associated with SUV's is due to their higher centres of gravity.
That this tendency is well documented can be quickly checked by entering "SUV" and rollover" into an Internet search engine.
For example, US studies have shown that rollover risks of greater than 40 per cent are commonly associated with SUV's, compared with less than 10 per cent for conventional sedans. Yet speed limits are supposedly designed for the latter.
Hence, there is a particular risk for SUV drivers (for example) setting their cruise control at the speed limit on any road, especially one with black spots.
At the very least, this simple fact should be publicised by regulatory authorities, with guidelines on how speed limits need to be adjusted downwards for SUV's.
All my friends have Nissans
I'm the rose amongst the thorns
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Reply By: Diesel1 - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 09:52

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 09:52
G'day Steve,

An interesting article. I lived in Ceduna for quite a few years and there were numerous rollovers on the Eyre Highway west of town during the time I was there. These happened on straight stretches of road and invariably the rollover was not the result of the vehicle going off the road at speed, but trying to get back on the road and hitting it at the wrong angle which caused the the front tyres to bite the surface and flip the vehicle.

I think one of the major problems that cause 4wd rollovers anywhere in this country (apart from driver fatigue, booze and stupidity) is the fact that people who step up to driving a 2 tonne 4wd after scooting around for years in the suburban family sedan just do not adjust to the handling characteristics of a bigger, heavier vehicle.

If I had to head off road at speed, I would sooner be sitting behind the wheel of my Troopy then a so called conventional sedan - I would take out a lot of scrub and fences etc and I reckon I would have a better chance of surviving then I would in a lot of the plastic crap cars on the market these days.

Diesel1
AnswerID: 44256

Follow Up By: Member - Bruce (San Diego) - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 15:41

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 15:41
You're right about the main reason for roll overs, here in the USA there is tremendous debate going on about the safety issue with SUV's, about 90% of the roll overs on freeways are single vehicle accidents caused by overcorrection by inexperiened drivers.

According to the highway institute the worst record belongs to the Isuzu Trooper

another group of avocates want them banned cause they cause too much damage to smaller cars in a collision and thats just not fair for the owners of the smaller cars who are being "environmentally" correct.

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FollowupID: 306492

Follow Up By: Diesel1 - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 20:54

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 20:54
G'day Bruce,

I wasn't sure what the Isuzu Trooper looked like (I don't think we get them here in Oz) so I checked the web and they look to be consistant in style and size to a lot of our vehicles. I don't know if any authority here has come up with the stats similar to your highway institute, but I guess someone has the info somewhere relating to the worst record holders.

I think another problem we have here is the increasing number of 4wd owners fitting lift kits to bodywork and still expecting the vehicle to perform out on the highway like a Ferrari. I've got nothing against lift kits, they are just not a sensible option if you only drive on the bitumen like a large percentage of our fourby drivers do.

Diesel1
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FollowupID: 306511

Follow Up By: ROLANDE - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 23:12

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 23:12
Diesel1,
Isuzu Trooper = Holden Jackaroo
Rolande
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce (San Diego) - Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 01:53

Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 01:53
Here in an interesting article from the US

http://www.nhtsa.gov/hot/rollover/
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Follow Up By: Diesel1 - Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 10:25

Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 10:25
Thanks Rolande - there are so many different 4wd vehicles on the market these days that I've lost track of who makes what. Having owned Toyota for the past 25 years I guess I have a tendency to ignore all other breeds.

Diesel1
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Reply By: Phil G - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 10:27

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 10:27
Steve,

I don't have a problem with it. The general public need to know this and not try to drive a 4wd like a sedan.

Different to a lot of other misinformation about 4wds.

Phil
AnswerID: 44258

Reply By: BurnieM - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 10:38

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 10:38
Yes, 4WD do have a higher centre of gravity. This has both pluses and minuses.

The vehicle did not roll because it was a 4WD. It rolled because the driver did not understand the vehicles capabilities and limitations and made a error of judgement (maybe several).

I also ride a motorcycle. I would be a fool if I drove it the same way as my 4WD or my partners car.
AnswerID: 44260

Follow Up By: ross - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 10:54

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 10:54
Couldnt agree more BurnieM. Some owners thoroughly research available information before their 4x4 purchase and others just go out and buy whatevers fashionable in the office carpark.
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FollowupID: 306479

Reply By: Member - JohnR - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 11:02

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 11:02
Steve all the above responses show the understanding that needs to be applied when driving at highway speeds with light and not so light trucks. We also tend to forget that the 4bys here are often packed to OVER the gunwales with the pack rack with the occasional user. We should really only have light stuff up there, yet I often see water, fuel, tents and wheels. Great for reducing the stability of the machine.

The biggest scare I have had though is driving a diesel Citroen people mover on European roads with a seeming negative camber on the high speed highways. It certainly seemed to want to think of flipping, so that could be applied to the ones on the market here too, whatever the brand and design. Remembering the Aussie roads are not designed for the 130-160 kmh often achieved over there and are for the 100-110 kmh and black spotted to 60kmh.Regards

JohnR - Not enough of the right travelling, some here..... some over there.......
AnswerID: 44262

Reply By: Member - Steve (ACT) - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 11:26

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 11:26
Before I start, probably should mention that this is Steve's wife Sandy, he's at work, and I found the article in the newspaper.

I agree totally with the whole difference between driving a car and 4wd. We went from a Daewoo Nubira to the Prado and although Steve had had a lot of experience with 4wd's through work. Biggest thing I'd driven was a commodore station wagon. Big learning curve for me seeing it's our only car. But a year later I'm still here, and love my baby. (Steve hates me calling it that)

I just thought the article was an interesting one, the interesting/amusing/infuriating was to cover all the responses that it might get!!

I think getting the message out to everyone is great, but sadly the people who will head the warnings are most likely the same people who will seek out training courses and information etc. But it that info saved just one life it's worth it.

SandyAll my friends have Nissans
I'm the rose amongst the thorns
AnswerID: 44264

Reply By: sensei - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 18:53

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 18:53
Why does it seem to me that when you own a 4wd you are straight away deemed to be a idiot that has the sole purpose of running everyone else off the road.
I am new to the 4wd seen and I have only done minor 4w driving but I know my limits. If im unsure I dont do it....full stop.
That write-up does not mention 18 year olds screaming around in thier 280kw 8 cylinder which is capable of far more speed than my poor 6 cylinder diesel.

Rollovers typically occur when cars go off the road at speed<---- Answer, I think that would be SLOW DOWN !! and drive to conditions but Im a 4wd owner so what do I know.
AnswerID: 44289

Reply By: Rick Blaine - Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 22:45

Sunday, Jan 25, 2004 at 22:45
I have just read in saturday's Canberra times about this tragedy... the only thing that stands out is that the driver, a local lawyer was driving at very high speed and that he had not much experience with the 4x4...Of course all lour locals here are experts in everything and the person who wrote the letter is probably ignorant of the facts or jealous of 4x4 drivers....I'm franky annoyed with people who stand on a 1 plank platform and make statements that " all the deaths on our roads are speed related" and so forth. when was the last time that we were ever told that a pot hole threw a vehicle into the path of an oncoming vehicle??? Also a friend of mine who worked at the Canberra Times declared that not much credence could be paid to a sizeable number of letters as they had done some snooping and discovered that most of the controversial letters were being written by " lobbyists" & others with political mileage to gain. You just have to wonder re the credentials of the writer of this letter.
AnswerID: 44306

Reply By: Mad Dog Morgan (Geelong) - Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 00:17

Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 00:17
Just read about it on the website. How very tragic.
I find it amusing that the writer could make such a fool of themselves with such loose statements.
I find it infuriating that the writer could use such a tragedy to further their vendetta against 4bs when there is no proof that the 4b was the cause.

I saw a conventional sedan do the same on the princess highway 100 metres in front of me. It crossed the road for no apparent reason, ran up the bank and flipped. Thankfully the 3 occupants were all ok. BEAM ME UP SCOTTY


Hooroo
Ray
maddogmorgan@mail15.com
AnswerID: 44321

Reply By: Member - Steve (ACT) - Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 09:57

Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 09:57
Hi guys, it's Sandy again!! I wasn't going to type this whole letter out, but considering Rick Blaines comment about letters from "lobbyists & others" thought the letter today was interesting.

4WD inherently dangerous

The tragic accident with four deaths in the same family in a single vehicle roll-over is a stark reminder of the dangers of car transport.
Neither the editorial nor the stories about this sad event made any mention of the fact that four-wheel-drive vehicles, so-called SUVs, can be inherently dangerous when driven at normal speed limits on highways.
These vehicles have a higher centre of gravity than the common sedan and have a tendency to roll under certain driving conditions.
Substantial research in the United States and numerous court cases there have highlighted this problem.
4WDs are made for driving on rough roads at slow speeds.
If they are used on a highway a sensible precaution would be to drive slower than the speed limit.
These vehicles also waste more fuel and pollute the air more than the common car.
Sadly, the kinds of vehicles have been effectively promoted by the car industry as the modern and stylish way to travel, because the vehicle manufacturer makes more profits by selling them.
While we all sympathise with the family and friends of the victims of this terrible tragedy, let's not focus on road building alone as the solution.
More encouragement and promotion of public transport use for family travel would also reduce the risks, and making the public aware of the dangers of 4wd's could also help.

Well i don't know about anyone else but I was having a case of dejavu while I read this!!!!!!!!!All my friends have Nissans
I'm the rose amongst the thorns
AnswerID: 44335

Follow Up By: Mad Dog Morgan (Geelong) - Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 14:54

Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 14:54
lol, sounds like both letters were written by the same person. BEAM ME UP SCOTTY


Hooroo
Ray
maddogmorgan@mail15.com
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FollowupID: 306584

Reply By: flappan - Tuesday, Jan 27, 2004 at 09:41

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2004 at 09:41
Rick , I would be interested to know of you know the facts behind the accident , or just speculation on it ????

Sad result for what ever reason the accident happened.

AnswerID: 44445

Reply By: Savvas - Tuesday, Jan 27, 2004 at 20:10

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2004 at 20:10
Hi all,

Just got back from two weeks up on the Tweed Coast.

On the return trip, we spotted a rolled VB or VC Commodore at the northern end of the Newcastle freeway. Straight piece of road and it seemed to be the only vehicle involved.

As a matter of fact, all the accident damaged vehicles we saw on this trip up and down the notorious Pacific Highway were regular sedans.

It's not the vehicles that are the problem, just the low performance drivers behind the wheel.
AnswerID: 44527

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