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Seven SUV Rollover Tips

Aug 17, 2007
SUVs are notoriously known in the automobile industry for being quick to get into rollover accidents. While this is not a totally unfounded claim, it is also important to note that SUV rollovers typically don't happen because of manufacturer defects or design flaws' they happen because drivers are dangerous in a vehicle that is already prone to rollovers under certain conditions.

But how's a driver to stay safe? SUV rollovers happen more commonly than rollovers in other vehicles because, essentially, SUVs are top heavy. There's nothing you can really do to change that, short of not buying an SUV, but there are tips you can use to stay safe from SUV rollover no matter what kind of vehicle you drive. Take these tips to heart, they could very well save your life.

1. You can avoid SUV rollovers by choosing a smart SUV. Know what you're buying before you buy it! Check out consumer reports, guides, and rollover ratings. In general, SUV rollovers are most likely to happen with vehicles that are tall and "skinny." The best SUVs to buy when you're hoping to prevent rollover are the ones that have a father distance between the tires in the back.

2. The second tip, which you cannot overlook, is to drive your SUV "like an SUV". If you're used to driving a car, or even a truck or van, it is tricky to jump into an SUV and take off. You can't take curves as quickly in an SUV. If you try, rollover is likely. Before you speed down the highway, take a few days or weeks to learn the feel of your SUV's steering, brakes, acceleration, and so on.

3. When dealing with an SUV, drive safely. This is, of course, the best tip to use when driving anything, but it is important to note that most SUV rollovers only happen when the SUV goes off of the main road.

If you're chatting on your cell phone, doing your makeup in the car, or tending to yelling children in the backseat, it is much more likely that you'll run off of the road, where you'll hit a ditch, curb, bump, or obstacle and be thrown head over heels.

4. To go hand-in-hand with the last tip, drive according to the road conditions. SUV rollovers are more likely on rural roads, simply because potholes are more common. If you're driving on a dirt road or road that rarely gets repaired after the winter, having an SUV can prevent you from sticking in the mud, but at the same time, a pothole can cause you to become off balance and, in effect cause an SUV rollover. Remember that driving for the road conditions also includes the weather. If it's raining, snowing, or foggy, slow down.

5. Avoid panicking when steering. The common response to losing control is to over-steer in attempts to regain control. Don't panic and fall into this trap! You'll only make matters much worse. Instead, grab the wheel firmly and try to keep the vehicle going in a straight path, as you pump the brakes to slow. When you panic and steer sharply, it has the same effects of going around a turn too quickly, and SUV rollovers are common.

6. Keep your car in tip-top shape if you want to avoid SUV rollover. Most importantly, check your tire pressure. If one tire is running low on air, this will not only cause efficiency problems, but will also make your SUV be prone to rollover. Keep in mind also that ESC systems are now available to upgrade your SUV.

This kind of a system monitors your vehicle and your movements to prevent rollover. If you carry things in your SUV, make sure that these things are distributed evenly according to weight. Centrifugal force plays a huge roll in SUV rollovers, so check your loaded items often.

7. Wear your seatbelt. Okay, this isn't exactly a way to prevent SUV rollovers, but it is a way to prevent death if your SUV should happen to rollover, for whatever reason. More fatalities occur because the driver or passenger was thrown completely or partially out of the SUV as it rolled, and reports show that buckling up can reduce your risk of death when in an SUV rollover by up to 75%.

Be safe, be smart, and if you do happen to become involved with an SUV rollover, which can happen to even the best drivers, contact a lawyer to learn about your legal rights.
About the Author
Tim Dillard is a marketing executive who has worked with some of the largest law firms in America. Dillard is currently the president of Dillard Local Branding (http://www.dlbllc.com), a Houston-based web design, Internet marketing and search engine marketing firm.
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