The Flaws of SUV’s Sport utility vehicles, better known as SUV’s, propose a hazard to other drivers on the road as well as their occupants. In addition to being unsafe they are also harmful to the environment. In the past six years SUV’s have become the most popular vehicle on the roads in America and today they account for nearly fifty percent of all new vehicle sales. The annual sales of SUV’s are currently on the rise as lower gas prices sweep across the nation. The combination of the SUV’s hazardous nature and their rising sales makes for a very dangerous situation. Sport Utility Vehicles are harmful to the environment, hazardous to those occupying them, and create a hazard to other drivers on the road.
SUV’s are engineered from the same platforms that are used to create trucks and most of the time they share the same engine and components. Instead of having a bed like a truck, which is very light, they have an enclosed area for more seats or a cargo compartment, which is very heavy. The added weight forces the engine to combust more gas in order to be able to provide adequate power to move the added weight. This is the reason that SUV’s get worse gas mileage than their truck counterparts.
Even an SUV that comes with a small engine will get bad gas mileage because it has to struggle and keep the RPM’s high in order to move the vehicle. Higher RPM’s equals more gas consumption. The emissions that SUV’s put out are not as bad as they were in the past. In fact most SUV’s that are made today qualify as low emissions vehicles or LEV’s. The emission requirements have helped SUV’s to become more conscientious towards the environment, but they are still too much of a “gas guzzler.” We must remember that petroleum is a non renewable resource and once we have depleted the petroleum we have it is gone. Sport utility vehicles have become a hazard to their occupants, because instead of being marketed as an off-road vehicle, as they originally were, they are now marketed as family haulers.
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The design of the SUV was flawed from it beginning. The design incorporates a heavy body with high ground clearance. This results in a high center of gravity. The higher a vehicles center of gravity the more likely it is to roll over during sudden turns or emergency evasive maneuvers. Tests have shown that SUV’s are more likely to rollover than any other type of vehicle. Situations that are considered normal driving for cars and trucks may prove treacherous for the driver of an SUV.
It is very easy for an SUV to roll over if they are simply swerving to avoid someone who pulled out in front of them. In addition to being a hazard for the occupants, SUV’s are also a hazard for other drivers on the road. SUV’s ride higher than other vehicles and are built on a very strong, rigid and unforgiving chassis. The panels and frame are also stronger than other vehicles so that it can be marketed as a go anywhere vehicle. This creates a very dangerous situation on the road because other vehicles do not ride as high and are not built a chassis that is as strong. Imagine a collision between a Ford Focus and a Chevrolet Suburban.
The outcome would be horrific. The Suburban would come away with mild panel damage and the occupants, if buckled up, would be unscathed, but the Focus would suffer severe frame damage and its occupants would definitely be injured. He size also inhibits other vehicles from seeing around them. Many of the drivers for SUV’s are also unsafe in the way they drive them. Most SUV drivers owned a car before their SUV and drive the SUV like it is a car. The driving characteristics of these two vehicles differ drastically and when they are driven unsafely it creates a hazard to other drivers.
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Sport utility vehicles are bad for the environment and unsafe. They are considered “gas guzzlers” and consume much more gas than other types of vehicles. Due to their size and shape they have a high center of gravity, which makes them more prone to rollover. The way they are made also creates a hazard for other drivers on the road. Due to their weight, strong frame, and high ride height they do much more damage when colliding with other vehicles.
SUV’s are dangerous on the roads and economically unsound and until their popularity dies down, the problem will only get worse.