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On-Road Driving



Utility vehicles have a significantly higher roll-over rate than other types of vehicles. Since these vehicles are designed to be operated both on and off-road, these vehicles have a higher ground clearance and hence a higher center of gravity. Such a feature has been associated with an increased risk of vehicle roll-over. An advantage associated with higher ground clearance vehicles is a better view of the road, allowing the driver to anticipate problems. Another factor shown to significantly increase roll-over risk is unauthorized vehicle modifications such as fitting incorrect specification tires (see ‘WHEELS & TIRES’, page 247), oversize tires, body lifting, incorrect springs/dampers, incorrect vehicle loading/trailer towing.

However, on-road crash data also indicates that driver behaviour is a greater factor than a high center of gravity in determining a vehicle's overall roll-over rate. The single most effective driver behaviour that can reduce the risk of injury or death in all crashes including roll-over, is to ALWAYS WEAR YOUR SEAT BELT and to properly restrain all child passengers on the second row seats in appropriate child safety seats. In a roll-over crash, an unbelted person is significantly more likely to die than a person wearing a seat belt.

Other measures that can reduce the risk of injury and death from vehicle crashes and roll-over are:

  • Limit speed. Posted speed limits should never be exceeded, and you should always adjust your speed as traffic, weather, road or other conditions dictate. Always use your common sense and good judgement.

  • Take curves at reasonable speeds, avoiding unnecessary braking and steering.

  • Drive defensively. Be aware of traffic, road and weather conditions. Avoid risk taking behaviour such as following too close, rapid lane changing or abrupt maneuvers.

  • Assume that pedestrians or other drivers are going to make mistakes. Anticipate what they might do. Be ready for their mistakes.

  • Avoid distractions such as cellular phone calling, reading, eating, drinking or reaching for items on the floor.

  • Before changing lanes, check your mirrors and flash your turn signal lights.

  • Always leave room for unexpected events such as sudden braking.

  • Never operate your vehicle when you have consumed alcohol, are sleepy or fatigued or have taken any medications that affect judgement, reflexes or alertness.

  • Many vehicle rollovers occur when a driver attempts to bring a vehicle back onto the road after some or all of the wheels drift onto the shoulder of the road, especially when the shoulder is unpaved. If you find yourself in such a situation, do not initiate any sharp or abrupt steering and/or braking maneuvers to re-enter the roadway. Instead, let the vehicle slow down as much as safely possible before attempting to re-enter the roadway and keep your wheels as straight as possible while re-entering the roadway.


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