Sport Utility Vehicles

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Sport Utility Vehicles In recent years the market for SUVs, Sport Utility Vehicles, and pickup-trucks has increased significantly. In fact, “more than 40% of consumers say they are considering buying an SUV for their next vehicle, the highest of any segment,” (Halliday 1-2). As the name implies, Sport Utility Vehicles were originally intended as means of transportation in places where normal cars would not function well, such as off-road. Pickup-trucks were also designed for a practical purpose, hauling materials that would not normally fit in a car trunk. Has the dramatic increase in sales of SUVs lead to a dramatic increase in the number of people driving off-road? No. Has the dramatic increase in the sales of pickup-trucks lead to an increase in people hauling large objects? No. The majority of SUV and truck owners purchase their vehicles because they believe that they are safer. The question arises how safe are SUVs and trucks really? SUV and truck safety can be broken down into two categories, the safety of the driver of the SUV or truck and the safety of any other motorist who collides with an SUV or truck. What kinds of people would want to buy an SUV or a truck? Well the practical answer would be people who want to off-road or haul large equipment, but that is not the largest group of SUV and truck consumers. Most SUV owners buy SUVs because they feel as though they are more protected in case of an accident. This is a proven fact “SUVs, vans, and pickups appear to be more aggressive and may be more crashworthy than cars. Effects of pickups are most pronounced. Drivers in pickups face less risk of serious injury than car drivers,” (Toy / Hammitt 7-8). This is a very valid point. Force is equal to mass times acceleration. If a car and an SUV are traveling at a relatively similar speed and they collide, the vehicle with more mass, the SUV, will always win. This obsession with feeling safe is resulting in the size of SUVs and trucks reaching ridiculous proportions. The new Ford Excursion is too large to fit into many normal sized parking spaces. Every year trucks and SUVs get bigger in an effort to be the “safest” vehicle on the road.
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