If you own an SUV or pickup truck, and you feel like you’re driving around in a powerful tank, that’s because you might be. Car lovers have noticed the trend in the growing and spacious sizes of vehicles and have started to compare the sizes of some large vehicles to the equivalent of World War II tanks. One car that has been compared to a World War II tank is the Ford F-150.
Car enthusiasts have studied and compared sizes of certain vehicles such as the Ford F-150 – which weighs about two and a half tons – to tanks such as the M4 Sherman, a tank used in World War II that weighed about 30 tons. Although large vehicles such as SUVs and pickup trucks do not compare to tanks in terms of weight, they certainly compare in terms of size. Over the decades, American trucks have become bulkier in look and higher in inches.
The impact of driving larger vehicles like SUVs
For the driver’s self-esteem, driving and operating a larger vehicle is wonderful. However, what does this mean for the more practical aspect of driving? Although it may be fun to think about driving around in a vehicle that holds its own equivalency to a tank, is it just as fun to think about engaging in a head-on collision with one? Despite popular belief, larger vehicles are not protected from traffic accidents.
In fact, in some cases, the larger vehicles have a greater potential of being involved in an Oklahoma City traffic accident if the drivers behind those vehicles are not equipped to operate them in a safe manner. Fortunately, there are some safety tips that all drivers of larger vehicles can follow to protect themselves and others.
Become accustomed to driving a larger vehicle
Whether you drive an SUV or a pickup truck, it is a well-known fact that you are operating a vehicle that is larger and heavier than the average car. Because of the weight of the vehicle, your stopping distance and brake time is impacted. Similar to a commercial truck, you will need to leave plenty of time to stop safely without potentially rear ending someone.
To become more accustomed to operating the larger vehicle, it is advised to practice in a safe area before driving the larger vehicle on busier, open roads. Becoming more familiar with how the vehicle drives will help you to learn how to stop properly, how to gauge your space, and how to best park the vehicle.
Be aware of your blind spots
Just like you have to be aware of your increased stopping distance while driving a larger vehicle, you have to be aware of your increased blind spots. A good rule of thumb to remember while driving is the larger the vehicle, the larger the blind spot. Because of this, it is imperative that you adjust your rearview and side view mirrors to the best positions to better see what is around you. Just like operating a regular-sized car, you want to be aware of all the vehicles around you.
Do not overload the vehicle
One of the biggest advantages of owning larger vehicles can also be a disadvantage if the driver is not careful. That is the ability to haul and load more items in your vehicle. Although the load capacity is greater for larger vehicles, you want to make sure you are not constantly overloading the vehicle to capacity. Overloading can lead to vehicle maintenance issues such as suspension and engine breakdown.
Tires and brakes are also at risk when the vehicle is overloaded, as the additional weight can lead to wear and tear on these types of equipment. Issues with handling the truck can also occur as a result of overloading, which can negatively impact your response time on the road. In addition to loading your vehicle, you want to make sure that all cargo inside your vehicle is properly and safely stored. One tip that will definitely aid you in avoiding overloading is knowing how much weight your larger vehicle can carry.
Takes turns and curves at slow speeds
When you turn a regular-sized car, you don’t need to account for certain factors such as the length of the vehicle and the space required to turn it. With larger vehicles, however, these factors do need to be considered. As you turn your vehicle, you need to keep in mind that you cannot just whip the vehicle in any way, shape, or form. Your larger vehicle is not designed to make sharp, fast turns.
There is a certain amount of space you need in order to safely turn and avoid sideswiping another vehicle. This also needs to be kept in mind when you are backing your vehicle up as well. Similar to turning, it is very easy to miss people and obstacles around you when you are backing up. When reversing, it is always better to move slowly, practice precaution, and monitor your progress.
Maintain your vehicle
Some larger vehicles, such as SUVs, come equipped with special features designed to properly operate the vehicle, such as anti-lock brakes. No matter what special bells and whistles come with your vehicle, it is important to know how to properly maintain your vehicle. When it comes to brake maintenance, you want to make sure that there is a firm and constant pressure on the brake pedal. When it comes to tire pressure, you want to make sure your tires have the right amount of air inside, to avoid tire blowout.
Driving an SUV or large pickup truck might seem like fun, but it is very dangerous. These large vehicles are prone to accidents because of their size and higher likelihood of rolling over. If you suffered an injury in an Oklahoma City car accident, call the experienced personal injury attorneys at Cunningham & Mears at (405) 232-1212, or complete a contact form to schedule a consultation.
Ryan Y. Cunningham is a founding partner of Cunningham & Mears. Mr. Cunningham devotes his practice to protecting the rights of injured Oklahoma residents. In addition to assisting injured clients, Mr. Cunningham endeavors to improve personal injury representation by speaking on issues related to personal injury law to attorneys in continuing legal education courses and to law students. Learn More