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Are sport utility vehicles (SUVs) more susceptible to rolling over than a car?

  • 2 min read

SUVs have their centres of gravity (CoG) further from the ground. Generally, a car rolls because the vehicle enters a bend too sharply and doesn’t have the low CoG and configurations to help it into a drift or alternately, it is hit from the side and lifted in a way that pivots it around its longitudinal axis. The higher the centre of gravity, the longer the lever arms of the forces that then pivot the car around the tyre contact patch.

There are situations where a lower-CoG car might just stop sliding with a “crunch,” or tip up on two wheels but not go over. In such situations, a higher-CoG vehicle like an SUV will roll over all the way. A low level CoG car could even decide to go sideways into a bend which an SUV dare not even dream of.

In general, automakers have made SUVs feel more car-like in their dynamic roll characteristics by moving the suspension roll centres closer to the CoG. This way, it can take a corner relatively flat. But the CoG is still high, so in situations where the SUV is “tipped,” or “lifted,” it is still more likely to roll over. You would even find in written on the sun visors that it could tip over if it gets into such a situation.

Also note that when you raise your car by its suspension because of bad roads and off road driving, you have compromised safety and stability.

This is one coolness in station wagons that crossovers do not possess. Station wagons offer SUV-like space and utility but with a car-like centre of gravity and so if we were to answer the question, ’are sport utility vehicles (SUVs) more susceptible to rolling over’, the answers is a BIG, FAT, GIANT YES.

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