Sport Utility Vehicles (Suvs) Essay, Research Paper
They have taken America by storm. Defined as ?rugged automotive vehicles similar to a station wagon but built on a light truck chassis? (Gurlanik 723), Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) have taken over the roads. The automobile industry is full of them and nearly every automaker has its own version of the vehicle. Drivers like the roominess, the comfort and the status they provide and SUVs are springing up across suburbs and cities like mushrooms (Davidson 1). Americans are in love with the luxuries involved with SUVs: the 4×4 capabilities, being able to sit higher on the road and the sense of control.
SUVs are everywhere. They are in the cities, in the suburbs, small towns and in the country. Companies are making more models and they are getting even bigger in size. The American market is screaming for more production of these vehicles. Frankly, America loves its SUVs.
But there appears to be an escalating problem with SUVs. As Americans thirst for more of the power and comfort they provide, we are refraining from using proper caution while driving SUVs. These vehicles provide a false sense of security for drivers when faced by inclement driving situations. Because of the feature of four-wheel drive, drivers automatically assume safety. These vehicles are also very dangerous to the other vehicles on the road. By observing the trends and facts one will see that Sport Utility Vehicles are a major cause of the increasing danger on the roads today.
The SUV provides the driver with a false sense of security. While one may feel it is a convenience to be riding higher than other commuters are, this characteristic is the one main reason why SUVs are extremely dangerous on the road. Because they are built higher off the ground, they have a high tendency to roll over (Tornatore 1). People in SUVs are 3? times more likely to die in rollovers than people in mid-sized cars, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Davidson 1). The smaller SUVs are particularly troublesome. These smaller vehicles are particularly popular among teens and younger drivers. This means the less experienced drivers are sitting in the driver?s seats of potentially dangerous vehicles.
Another significant danger of the increase of SUVs on our roads is the risk of ?mismatch? collisions. There are two types of mismatch crashes. One is when a SUV is involved in a collision with a smaller passenger car. Size is the mismatch here. The average SUV is heavier than the average passenger car and taking physics into account, this provides for quite the predicament (Davidson 1). With the increased popularity of the bigger SUVs the problem is only getting worse. There aren?t really any regulations on limiting the size and weight of SUVs. For example, Ford has a very hot product in the Ford Expedition. They now have a vehicle that would not be classified as a light-duty passenger vehicle, the Excursion. This new vehicle weighs more than 8,500 pounds and is a medium-sized truck. One is forced to ponder whether or not there is really a market for this sort of vehicle. Compared to the weights of SUVs now, such as the Ford Expedition and the Chevrolet Suburban, both in the 5,000-6,000 pound range, one might wonder if the next SUV could be a tank. A mid-sized car only weighs about 3,500 pounds (Davidson 2).
Another type of mismatch is the bumper height. Most SUVs are four-wheel drive. These were designed originally for off-road use. They sit higher than passenger cars and in a collision the bumpers do not meet. So, in this case the SUV suffers possible very little damage but causes much damage to the other vehicle in the mishap (Davidson 2). Conclusively, one would assume these mismatch collisions result in more injuries for the passengers in the smaller vehicle.
With the problem of mismatch crashes in mind, one must also consider the drastic mistakes people are making while in the driver seat. Some SUV owners do not realize the risks involved with SUV driving. For example when faced with inclement weather some SUV drivers are provided with a sharp lesson-that they are not invincible (Drivers 52).
One would hope that when people purchases new SUVs they would keep their level of safety concern at a constant from their vehicle before. For example, if Joe had a small compact car for years and was accustomed to taking major precautions while driving in snow, it would be expected that when he buys his new Sport Utility Vehicle he would still keep in mind the same precautions used with his previous car. Unfortunately, this is not nearly the case with most SUV owners. When a driver gets into a better car he will drive with less caution and this is very dangerous. So when Joe jumps into his SUV after a fresh snowfall he will instinctively driver faster. Joe is assuming his vehicle has much more ability than it does actually. SUVs may be four-wheel drive, allowing them to have traction and build up speed more readily, but all cars have four-wheel brakes. So SUVs don?t stop any quicker than other vehicles. In fact the time it takes for an SUV to stop would probably be longer because it usually heavier (?Winter? 52).
Another false assumption drivers make is that their SUV will not get stuck. SUVs do get stuck. Many drivers don?t understand that a four-wheel drive vehicle cannot power itself out of a snow bank any more than a two-wheel vehicle. When flooring the accelerator pedal, drivers don?t understand that it is merely melting the snow into ice and digging the vehicle deeper (Winter 52).
This false sense of security plays a high role in collisions. Many people buy SUVs because they look safer. But in reality it is safety at someone else?s expense. While in a crash the SUV passengers may go unharmed, but the occupants of the other vehicle are in immense danger. The presence of these vehicles presents danger to other vehicles occupying the road.
Today, there is no argument that the presence of SUVs is large. With the rise of popularity, the automobile industry is continuing to produce according to popular demand. The SUVs are getting bigger and even more powerful. Therefore, the issue of safety is a very critical one. All travelers on our roads must consider the dangers presented by SUVs today. The threat that these vehicles pose is high and we need to be conscious of our responsibilities when we step into the seat of a Sport Utility Vehicle. With the obvious increase of SUVs comes the increase of danger on the roads. So, as a suggestion, think before you allow yourself to step into a Sport Utility Vehicle.