Self-Driving Car? Think Again, Perhaps

Night Driving

Self-driving cars have their strong points. They won’t fall asleep, the way humans do. They won’t drive under the influence. They won’t speed, eat, put on makeup, text, or talk on the phone. Once they reach their potential, self-driving cars will likely reduce the incidents of accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Why? Because the federal government estimates that a staggering 94 percent of all crashes involve some amount of human error. However, these cars are not good when it comes to the unpredictable and the unexpected. If you have ever contemplated buying or leasing a car with some form of automated driving, consider the following situations that might make you reconsider: “Help, I can’t see.” If self-driving cars can’t “see,” they don’t operate well at all. “Not seeing” can mean snow obliterating the road so the car can’t tell where the road begins and ends, heavy rain that makes everything look the same, or a lack of painted lines that mark traffic lanes, which the car needs for guidance. “Too much sky.” Related to the seeing problem, it means that self-driving cars don’t have the same field of vision that we do. In other words, if the entire field of vision[…..]

What Causes a Rollover Accident?

Though movie enthusiasts may associate rollover accidents with an exciting sequence in an action film, these types of auto accidents are more common than some may think and are the deadliest risk for occupants of SUVs (sport utility vehicles), trucks, or minivans. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 280,000 rollover accidents occur each year, resulting in more than 10,000 fatalities. SUVs unfortunately have the highest risk for rollovers as they often carry heavy loads, which may make them more top heavy, increasing the likelihood of the vehicle rolling over in an accident. As explained by, rollover accidents are directly related to a vehicle’s stability in turns, and this stability is influenced by the relationship between the center of gravity and the distance between the left and right wheels, also known as the track width. A high center of gravity and a narrow track may cause a vehicle to be unstable when there is a turn or sharp change in direction, all of which can increase the odds the vehicle will tip over once it begins to skid sideways. This particular problem is more pronounced in SUVS and pickup trucks with 4-wheel-drive because both[…..]

Why Do SUVs Rollover More Than Other Vehicles?

The early Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) were descendants of military and commercial vehicles, like the Land Rover and Jeep, but have evolved to include a variety of styles and sizes. SUVs are popular vehicles and, as such, can be seen often on U.S. roadways. They are usually high-powered and have a high occupant capacity, making them especially popular with young drivers and families, but they are also more dangerous than typical passenger cars. SUVs are built on a light truck chassis, or body frame, which means that an SUV is higher off the ground and has a higher center of gravity than normal passenger cars. This, in addition to the fact that many drivers do not know how to properly handle an SUV, is the general reason why SUVs tend to be involved in serious rollover crashes. The reason why a higher center of gravity and a higher road-chassis height makes more of a difference in an SUV than a pick-up truck, for example, is because of its high occupant capacity. In short, SUVs can easily become excessively top-heavy. In an SUV, the vehicle occupants are in the top half of the vehicle. With that extra weight, everyday maneuvers, especially[…..]

Rollover Prevention Tips for 15-Passenger Vans

Fifteen-passenger vans are used by many organizations to carry groups of people to and from events. However, the larger size, height, and high center of gravity in a fifteen-passenger van make these vehicles more likely to roll over than passenger cars, especially when they are fully loaded. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) provides the following tips for minimizing the risk of a rollover in a 15-passenger van. Check tire pressure. Worn or improperly inflated tires make the van more likely to roll. Check the tires’ pressure and treads before each use. Choose an experienced driver. Drivers should be familiar with driving larger vehicles, including 15-passenger vans. The driver should also be well-rested and avoid substances that impair his or her judgment or reaction time. Never overload the van. Cargo should always be loaded in front of the rear axle. If the van has fewer than 15 passengers, they should also ride in front of the rear axle. Check the owner’s manual before loading the van to ensure it is not carrying too much weight. Safety first. Make sure everyone is wearing a seat belt before putting the van in motion. While driving, obey speed limits and leave plenty[…..]