Join the Car Talk Community!

Discussion Rules

Welcome to the Car Talk Community!

Want to ask a question or join the discussion? Great! Join now.

Sign In Register

SUV driving tips

a while back i heard a show where the brothers gave some suv driving tips to the caller. as i recall, the caller's son had tipped over while executing a quick lane change at highway speeds. i believe the tip had something to with braking before changing lanes.

anyone remember the tip over avoiding tip?
«1

Comments

  • edited November 2008

    I don't specifically recall their tips, but the most important thing to remember is that an SUV (especially one that is not a cross-over SUV) has a much higher center of gravity than a car has. This higher center of gravity is what will tend to set the stage for handling problems, especially if the driver is engaging in a sudden evasive maneuver, or is trying to change lanes too fast, or to take a corner too fast.

    Another part of the problem with SUVs is the altered perception of speed. For some reason, when you ride higher above the road surface, your actual road speed may seem to be much lower than it actually is. Perhaps this factor (combined with the higher center of gravity and the tendency to feel invincible) is the reason for so many Explorers, Blazers, Jeeps, and other SUVs winding up in a ditch--upside down--during and immediately after winter storms.

  • edited November 2008
    If the "caller's son" was anything less than a very experienced driver, then IMHO he should not have been driving an SUV. SUVs are unstable during exactly the sort of maneuvers that young drivers make, sudden evasive swerves (which migh have been avoided by an experienced driver), entering off ramps too quickly, misjudging speed around curves, things of that sort.

    SUVs serve a funtion, especially for towing, but they are inherantly unstable. If you're driving one you need to leave plenty of room between you and everyone else, do everything that creates lateral forces (lane changes,, curves, turns) more slowly than you would in a car, be more aware of reverse banked curves (they do this on purpose at roundabouts), and just generally look ahead and learn to predict. Also learn to brake BEFORE a turn rather than wait until you're going onto it.
  • edited November 2008
    Never swerve an suv. . Yes, easier said than done, but driving different vehicle types sometimes requires retraining your base habbits, retrain your subconscious gut reactions because there's not time to logic through some emergency maneuvers, it has to happen automaticaly.
    This retraining had never been made more obvious until getting my light plane pilot's license. That gut habbit training is the only way you learn to fly. Even on you very first flight lesson the instructor is toying around with functions like air/fuel mixture, tank selection, flaps etc to drive the point into your head that this is life and death knowledge that you will know or you won't fly.
    Same with learning a car , then driving an SUV...it's not the same and this is why I just wish they'd teach driving like they teach flying. It is, in fact, a life or death skill that can't be taken for granted but that 99.9% of the driving public expects is a given right. They don't want to pay for actual training nor re-testing every two years. No, heaven forbid, just drive around the block, parallel park and give 'em a license.
    -one answer to the initial question-
    A key to think about and practice, when in an SUV and faced with with an evasive swerve over, DON'T SWERVE BACK ! You catch your steering and hold it in a smooth arc to regain your lane. It's that serve back that starts the un-catchable back and forth that results in a roll over.
  • edited November 2008
    And, I firmly agree with VDC that the PERCEPTION of speed is greatly affected by size. Prove it to yourself, go to a go-cart track. Watch the carts first, they don't actually go so fast. Then drive one! When you're five inches away from the pavement..you're flyin'! Then remember the last airplane flight you took..Did it actually feel like you were going 400 mph ?
    The perception of speed really is relative to the size of the vehicle but we rarely re-learn our different vehicle types. This is especialy pertinent to an inexperienced teen who was never really taught the difference in "drivers ed".
  • edited November 2008
    "Tipped over?" It sounds so nice. Like the vehicle fell on its side and landed on pillows.

    In reality there was screaming metal and terrible destruction as this SUV rolled over, perhaps multiple times, which they are prone to do, especially at highway speeds. I've witnessed this firsthand, thankfully not as a passenger in one. SUVs roll as if they were designed for it. Imagine summersaults. It's not "tipping over."

    "Tipped over," I love it!

    The best way to avoid rolling over in an SUV is to not drive one, or not drive one over 40 mph.

    You can't predict when you will need to make an emergency lane change, or similar maneuver. Tips for driving an SUV? You won't have time to even think of the tips before your SUV rolls violently as you swerve to avoid something.

    After it's happened, please tell us how it felt to "tip over."
  • edited November 2008
    yes. i'm talking about an evasive maneuver. the don't swerve back tip sounds good. i just wish i can remember tom or ray's tip. thanks almost all of you.

    and mcparadise. your comments is the kind every poster loooooves to get.
  • edited November 2008
    What if.....
    they put small wheels on both sides of an SUV, so that if you tip over, you can still drive it. XD
  • edited November 2008
    You guys crack me up.

    If people would simply learn to use their heads for something other than a cap rack, they'd soon learn how to drive. SUVs or not.
  • edited November 2008
    I think they suggested that everyone lean to the inside of the swerve.
  • edited November 2008
    Thanks. I love it when people looooove my comments.

    I just hope everything is perfect, and the stars align, and whoever is driving remembers (and practices) Tom and Ray's "tips" for preventing SUV roll-overs, and there aren't too many innocent people (especially ME) in the immediate vicinity, when you need to make this hypothetical "evasive maneuver" in your SUV.

    Good luck.
This discussion has been closed.