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4x4's Are They Safe?


filmforever 7 695
15 Mar 2011 9:18PM
Recently on a motorway journey, I passed the scene of an accident on the opposite carriageway; a 4x4 had keeled over and was on it's roof. This reminded me of an accident scene I attended in London some years back. I was doing some scene of accident pics. for the Met. Police. It was in the New Kings Road.....four vehicles involved, all had gone into the back of the car in front...a typical "rear end shunt" situation, except that the last vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee, had swung hard right to avoid the collision. In the process the Cherokee had flipped over onto its side and had acually slid into a shop front, partly demolishing it.

The strange thing is, according to police, it hadn't been going unduly fast. Puzzled, I asked the Inspector in charge of the scene, what had caused the Cherokee to flip over, since I thought this type of vehicle was the safest thing on four wheels.

The Inspector gave a knowing look, and replied that this was a common mis-conception, saying he wouldn't put his family in one if it was given to him for free.

Apparently, because of this kind of vehicle's "high centre of gravity", it is very vulnerable to "flipping over" when turning sharply, "even at modest speed". Whereas a normal saloon car with its much lower centre of gravity, is far safer in this kind of situation.

Since many drivers (particularly women drivers) buy these vehicles because they assume that their size and high driving postion makes them feel safer, are they all deluding themselves?

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brian1208 e2
11 10.4k 12 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2011 9:27PM
Many years ago I owned a Range Rover and I certainly wouldn't rate it an easy car to drive safely. The high centre of gravity, the inertial mass and large roll angles could be frightening to start wih and I had to learn a new driving style. Once done I had no problems but I can imagine in a two car family switching between a family saloon and one of these "biggies" could easily lead to problems.

(The fuel consumption of the V8 engine was horrendous too - I was lucky to get 10mpg!)
Scutter e2
7 1.7k 6 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2011 9:27PM
On metalled roads in normal conditions, not only deluded but wasting money and resources; so yes. Off road, in mud/snow (at low speed); not deluded; they are perfectly safe.
User_Removed 10 17.9k 8 Norway
15 Mar 2011 9:34PM
What Ben said - 100%.

Wink
trivets12 10 1.2k
15 Mar 2011 9:34PM
Another misinformed opinion! We have a Freelander, we are not deluded, we don't waste money and our Freelander is in the same CO2 emissions bracket as my fathers Rover 200, most BMW's, and most family sized saloons ... and it does 35 to the gallon on a motorway run.
Same as any other car, safety depends mostly on how you drive it, and how those around you drive their cars.
Scutter e2
7 1.7k 6 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2011 9:37PM

Quote:Another misinformed opinion! We have a Freelander, we are not deluded, we don't waste money and our Freelander is in the same CO2 emissions bracket as my fathers Rover 200, most BMW's, and most family sized saloons ... and it does 35 to the gallon on a motorway run.
Same as any other car, safety depends mostly on how you drive it, and how those around you drive their cars.



mine (Accord) does 55 mpg on the motorway I rest my caseTongueWink
StrayCat e2
10 15.0k 2 Canada
15 Mar 2011 9:42PM
I've had many 4X4s, and never had a problem, it comes down to knowing your vehicle and respecting it's limitations. The biggest one I has was a Ford Expedition 8 passenger V8. It was lowered on the suspension because it wouldn't fit in my garage, but I drove it before the mod, and it had an uncomfortable swishing yaw in the rear end in tight turns. Gas mileage was about 21 mpg city and 29 highway. The smallest was the Honda CRV, which has a top notch safety record. Today's 4X4s, for the most part, are glorified utility vehicles, they're not really offroad capable. They're much safer today than they were 10 or 20 years ago; wider, and better suspension. The old Toyota and Nissans had a terrible reputation for rolling, but so did the small Ford Bronco and Chevy Blazer. Where we live, Calgary, AB, they don't plough the side roads in winter, so with certain conditions, we end up with deep ruts, and you scrape the bottom of a regular car, so a 4X4 was essential for me for city driving. We have private street maintenance now, so it isn't as much of a problem. People don't realise that they stop no better than any other vehicle.
woodlark e2
10 538 1 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2011 9:44PM

Quote:we have a freelander, we are not deluded


Contradictory Wink
StrayCat e2
10 15.0k 2 Canada
15 Mar 2011 9:44PM

Quote:mine (Accord) does 55 mpg on the motorway I rest my case


Yes, but......Wink

Are you sure you aren't talking a Civic?
tomcat e2
9 6.0k 15 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2011 9:47PM
The one problem that I occurs all the time, are mums taking their kids to school in them, when they only live 10 mins walk from the school.
Trouble is, they need at least three feet of clearance, either side,before they will negotiate the damn things in trafficSmile
tomcat e2
9 6.0k 15 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2011 9:51PM
The other misconception "drivers" have, is because they are four wheel drive, they can drive along at twice the speed of everyone else, in bad weather conditions (snow & ice)

When the brake pedal is hit, they are no more capable of stopping than owt else.
StrayCat e2
10 15.0k 2 Canada
15 Mar 2011 9:51PM
I wouldn't let a small child walk 10 mins to school in the world we live in today.Tongue
tomcat e2
9 6.0k 15 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2011 10:03PM

Quote:I wouldn't let a small child walk 10 mins to school in the world we live in today.


I didn't mean on their ownSmile

I mean't the mum getting off her fat **** and walking the child to schoolWink
User_Removed 10 17.9k 8 Norway
15 Mar 2011 10:06PM
Freelander eh..???

Ah! Yes... that'll be a new viscous coupling, new rear diff mounts and a bunch of other stuff - all at average mileages (50/60K)

Want to get another 5 miles/gallon out of it? Disconnect the rear prop-shaft from the centre box (and fit the blanking cover Wink and drive just on the fronts. (I assume you don't drive off-road Grin)
tomcat e2
9 6.0k 15 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2011 10:11PM
God MikeGrin

I remember the freewheeling jobbies (perhaps still do) you used to fit to the landrovers front wheelsWink

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