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Joseph H. Saunders
Joseph H. Saunders
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Safety Tips for Driving an SUV

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Some good advice printed in the San Jose Mercury News:

There is some encouraging news. New SUVs are being built lower to the ground, decreasing their chances of rolling over and improving safety when SUVs collide with cars. It’s not the weight of the SUV that poses a risk to people inside cars; it’s the height difference.

Driving an SUV is much more dangerous than driving a car, and safety advocates recommend the following tips for driving one:

• Drive more slowly than you would in a small car, and remember that your elevated driving position can make it feel as though you’re going more slowly than you are.

• Avoid sudden or sharp steering changes. The high center of gravity in SUVs can cause them to become unbalanced and possibly tip if you take corners too quickly.

• Check how much weight your SUV can carry. Some can be overloaded with five adults inside and no cargo. If overloaded, chances of rolling over increase dramatically. Overloading also wears out the brakes and can overheat tires, increasing the risk of a blowout. If your manual doesn’t specify what the maximum load capacity is, call the dealer.

• Avoid passing other vehicles or changing lanes in a curve.

• Underinflated tires also contribute to blowouts. Maintain your manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure. Driving at high speed for an extended period is a common cause of heat-related tire failure. Keep speeds reasonable.

• And in the rain, slow down.

Bottom line: An SUV doesn’t handle like a smaller car and shouldn’t be driven like one.