Do you know that you’re in a more disadvantaged position while driving a bigger car like the SUV?
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Studies have shown that bigger cars are more likely to roll over than smaller cars. Sometimes, we are ignorant of the fact that the size of a vehicle can directly affect your safety.
In this article, we go through problems associated with big cars and some models it affects.
1. Infamous for Rolling Over
The bigger the vehicle, the higher the center of gravity. Therefore, SUVs have a higher center of gravity.
The center of gravity is simply the point that sums up the overall mass of the vehicle. It is more like the average location of the weight of a car.
The center of gravity is a key determiner in balancing a vehicle because it ensures the stability, safety and braking of the car.
Bigger vehicles like Jeep Wrangler, Cadillac Escalade, Toyota 4Runner, etc have higher centers of gravity which make them vulnerable to turning over when taking a sharp turn.
The vehicle fares badly while trying to maneuver or suddenly trying to avoid an object.
Fortunately, the latest modern SUVs are equipped with an advanced safety system. It is called the electronic or enhanced stability system.
This system observes and senses when the vehicle is about to flip. It quickly makes adjustments to the braking system and the speed. This helps the driver keep the car under control and reduces the risk of turning over.
2. Increases Risk for Other Road Users and Pedestrians
When there’s a collision between an SUV and a smaller vehicle, the bigger vehicle is a little safer than the smaller car. While this is an upside to the passengers in big vehicles, we kindly cannot say the same for others.
Bigger cars keep moving forward in an accident and they do not receive the same collision force as smaller cars. Even worse, they are more likely to push the force on small vehicles.
One notorious SUV known for crashing heavily into other vehicles is the GMC Hummer.
Asides from dangerous collisions with other vehicles, research has shown that SUVs have higher lone accidents.
Data from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) showed that 95% of their accidents came from single-vehicle rollovers. SUVs simply flip over more than other cars.
There are various environmental and surrounding factors that could make bigger vehicles suddenly flip. Such factors include:
Soft Soil Is A Problem
A situation where the car tries to avoid other drivers, pedestrians, or even animals may cause the vehicle to go off-road. The texture of the road may be softer, affecting the entire car’s balance.
The large tires would dig into the soil because of their weight, making the vehicle flip.
This commonly happens when off-roading. If the car is driving down the hill, the driver may make wrong calculations on the steepness of the slope. If he makes a turn on that surface, it could cause the car to topple down the hill.
Also, the car could flip when going uphill. As the steepness increases, the center of gravity rises greatly. In this scenario, the car may lose its balance and fall backward.
Sideway Skid and Fishtailing
This often happens on icy or wet roads. The car tires may lose their traction, causing the vehicle to skid.
This is commonly known as fishtailing.
The car slides on the road rather than moving in the direction you steer it in. This may cause sudden collisions with road barriers.
This happens mostly on a two-lane road where ramps are used for demarcating the road. They also serve as a safety feature to prevent collisions by cars from different lanes.
However, this safety precaution can create a significant risk of rollovers, especially for bigger vehicles. To swerve quickly, the car may run into a ramp, plus their braking system is not so great to stop the car in time.
3. It Can Be Harder to Brake in an SUV
The bigger the vehicle, the harder it is to stop. SUVs weigh more than sedans and they need a greater distance to come to a halt than a conventional passenger car, even when moving at the same speed.
For instance, if you compare the time the Chevy Suburban comes to a halt from 60mph to a small sedan like the Corolla, you’ll understand that SUVs are in a disadvantaged position when it comes to emergency braking.
You even have to be extra careful when braking on wet or icy grounds because you might topple over quicker than you imagine.
One common SUV with a slow brake is the Ford Ranger Raptor as it takes 3.29 seconds to stop. Meanwhile, accidents happen in the twinkle of an eye.
4. Create a Lot of Emissions
The rise of SUVs has rapidly altered the pattern of urban quality air. They have a great influence on the climate crisis.
Research according to the International Energy Agency was that SUVs are the second largest emitters of carbon dioxide, conveniently overtaking shipping, aviation and even trucks.
Cadillac Escalade and Ford Expedition are some of the ranking cars that are bad for the environment.
One major reason for this pollution is because of their poor aerodynamics, which increases the air resistance and the work the vehicles’ engines have to do.
5. Expensive to Own
SUVs have poor aerodynamics and this cuts deep into their fuel efficiency. The fuel they burn is outrageous. No matter how careful or how less you drive it when you compare it to a smaller sedan, the difference is clear.
Another major reason for this fuel burn is because of their weight and drag. SUVs are larger because they have wider tires, bigger mirrors, bigger wheel arches and frontal areas.
For instance, if we compare the BMW 5 series and the X5, the former has a drag coefficient of 0.29, while its counterpart X5 has a drag coefficient of 0.33.
It was found out that the X5 consumed two extra gallons of fuel when both were going at 150km/hr.
6. Bigger Cars Require High Maintenance
Larger vehicles require more routine maintenance because they have more parts, are heavy and are driven in the worst road conditions.
The difference in their design and usage requires additional care than conventional cars. To maintain exterior painting, SUVs have to be waxed and washed more regularly.
The suspension of the car must be aligned especially before it goes off-roading. Its towing connectors, power steering fluid and belts must be properly maintained.
When all this sums up, you realize it costs more to maintain an SUV than a smaller one.
7. Tires Wear Out Faster
That added weight of a large car puts a strain on the tires. SUV tires will wear out much quicker than a sedan. The average lifespan for SUV tires is around 30,000 miles.
Sedans could reach 50,000 miles before tire replacements are needed.
General Pros and Cons of Bigger Vehicles
Below is a list of the strength and weaknesses of driving a big vehicle:
- Comfort and convenience
- High ground clearance
- Great view
- Fuel cost
- Costly parts
What Does the Review Say?
According to Edmunds, big vehicles are indeed a flex, especially the recent models like the Volkswagen Taos, Chevrolet Trailblazer and Mazda CX-30. These vehicles come with plenty of modern techs, safety features and enough cabin space.
However, according to Consumer Reports, it says’ Larger models provide more room and towing space but get poor gas mileage, are less maneuverable and have a significantly higher overall ownership cost.
What Is the Resale Value of Bigger Vehicles?
Bigger vehicles tend to hold their value better than other vehicles. Some of the best vehicles that retain their value over five years include the 2022 Toyota 4Runner.
According to motorbiscuit, it reported that this result is not surprising as Toyota based the 4Runner on Tacoma, and this Tacoma is expected to retain 70.2% of its value after five years.
Another remarkable vehicle is the 2022 Subaru Crosstrek, as it is expected to retain 52.3% of its value after 5 years.