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SUV Instability

Powerful Essays
The Instability of Sport Utility Vehicles
As the ambulance slowly pulls away from the accident, a police officer stops to ponder how different this crash was from all the others in which a Sport Utility Vehicle was involved. He realizes it is no different at all. SUVs are the leaders in rollover crashes in the United States which includes all vehicles of make and model. They have been around for an extremely long time but, so have their problems. However, there were no problems actually documented due to the incredible instability of the cars during the first time period in which SUVs were created. Although extremely popular and useful, Sport Utility Vehicles are extremely dangerous and highly susceptible to roll over in sharp turns and high speeds. Reasons for such crashes include things like high ranking executives ignoring engineers’ warnings about the potential hazard of the vehicles, and high speeds mixing with sharp turns. Also, over- and/or under- inflated tires on a top-heavy, high-centered vehicle. Sport Utility Vehicles are extremely popular. A few reasons are for their all-terrain capabilities, the feeling of safety people have while their driving them, and their seating capacity. However, it is also for these reasons they are unstable. The false feeling of safety leads people to be careless while driving them, and/or leads people to feel “in charge” of the road thereby creating a higher chance of an accident or rollover.
The history of the Sport Utility Vehicle and its unique problems with rolling over in high speed fast reaction situations starts almost at the beginning of the car. According to John D. Pietro, the Suburban was “[i]ntroduced way back in 1936, the Chevrolet (and GMC) Suburban was based on a commercial panel truck, but instead of having a huge, windowless cargo area there was a large passenger compartment” (The History). The early makers of General Motor Company, (GMC), saw potential in building a vehicle which could carry more people and still be useful in big jobs such as construction. GMC was the “first” company to build an SUV. The title of the “first SUV and/or high capacity vehicle maker”, however, is still up for debate. Such a part in the debate is “[i]n 1934, the name was shortened to "Westchester Suburban" and Dodge was selling them to the army” (The ...

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... or under inflated tires on a top heavy, high centered vehicle. All these combined with the everyday hazards of normal driving in traffic or high stress situations create a large potential for fatalistic and harm causing incidents.

Work Cited:
Dipietrom, John. A Chevrolet/GMC/Suburban History. 6 Dec. 2001. 17 Oct. 2002
Grimaldi, James V., and Cindy Skrzycki. “SUV instability led to Ford advising low tire pressure.” ChicagoSuntimes.com. 21 Aug. 2000. 25 Sept., 2002
Healey, James R.. “Crash study ranks deadly vehicles” USA Today 23 Oct. 2000: 34
The History Of The Suburban, 2 June 2000. 17 Oct. 2002
Lisante, Joan E. “Explorer Goes on Trial.” ConsumerAffairs.com. 8 Jan. 2001. 25 Sept., 2002.
Pittle, R. David. “Consumer Reports Responds to Mitsubishi Statements Regarding Its Tests of the 2001 Mitsubishi Montero Limited.” Consumersunion.com. 21 June 2001.25 Sept. 2002
Solomon, David. Nutz and Boltz Automotive Survival Guide. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1997
SUVrollovernews.com. 17 Oct., 2002
“SUVs: Escalating Risks On The Highways,” SUVSafety.org. 25 Sept., 2002.
Van Sickle, Dave. 2002 New Cars and Trucks. Heathrow, Florida: AAA Publishing, 2002.
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