Considering the increase in fuel costs and environmental awareness, it is surprising that the most popular vehicle in America is still the sport utility vehicle. With a higher rollover occurrence, higher center of gravity, and increased difficulty of handling, driving a SUV can be dangerous.
SUVs are completely different from lower-bodied sedans. They need much more braking distance between themselves and the car in front of them. They also are much more prone to slip, skid, or flip in hazardous road conditions; according to research done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 10,000 people each year die in SUV rollovers.. By following these basic tips, you will be better informed of how to safely maneuver in a SUV.
- Slow down. Driving too fast is dangerous; driving too fast in an SUV is even more so. The longer you have to react, the less likely you are to cause or be involved in an accident.
- Avoid sudden or sharp steering. An SUV is not designed to make fast, sharp turns as a smaller, lower, car can. Allowing yourself more time to react will allow you to make smoother steering transitions.
- Learn to brake in an SUV. While driving your vehicle, you should be considerate of those around you. Those behind and beside you will not be able to see around you, so the more warning you can give before you brake, the better.
- Check blind spots frequently. The biggest mistake most SUV drivers make is feeling invincible. You are in the largest car, but that doesn’t mean you are in the safest. Many SUV drivers do not use turn signals, or check blind spots, before pulling out or changing lanes, making a collision with a smaller vehicle all the more likely.
- Avoid overloads. Carrying a great deal of cargo, or even passengers, can throw off the center of gravity even further, making the car more likely to flip over. This also wears on tires and brakes, overheats tires, and can result in a blowout.