Despite gas prices, SUVs are still king of America's roads. But while they do offer more protection in a crash, they also come with significant risks that are not associated with sedans and smaller passenger vehicles.
It's common for a new SUV driver to overestimate its cornering and breaking ability. And SUVs have a considerably higher risk of rollovers due to their higher center of gravity, and they can be more difficult to handle than a sedan.
They need much more braking distance between themselves and the car in front of them due to their weight. They can also cause significantly more damage when they crash, increasing the risk to third parties in accidents.
They also are much more prone to slip, skid, or flip in hazardous road conditions.
Tips for Safe SUVing
Considering all of the above, it's crucial that you exercise extra caution and avoid distractions when driving an SUV. You should heed the following advice:
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. Give yourself more time to react and make smoother steering transitions.
Allow more distance from the vehicle in front of you — You need more time to brake in a larger vehicle. It's imperative therefore that you not only drive slower than you would in a smaller vehicle, but that you also leave more space between you and the car in front of you (that means more than the three-second rule).
Check tires regularly — Checking your tires regularly is one of the easiest things you can do to help prevent rollovers and other auto accidents.
Tires that are in good condition will have more traction and ensure you have control over the vehicle even when conditions are not ideal. If you notice your tires are worn down or damaged, replace them as soon as possible.
Avoid overloading your SUV — The more weight you add to the vehicle, the more top-heavy it becomes, increasing the risk of rollover if there is an accident. When a vehicle's load is poorly balanced, the likelihood of a rollover in a top-heavy SUV rises.
Load your SUV evenly on both sides, front to back to even out the higher center of gravity that makes an SUV prone to tipping. Dispersing the weight will help even out the vehicle's stability.
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