Gerber Life Family Times --- News and tips for familes of all ages and stages of life

Sports Utility Vehicle Safety

April 2003 Issue

A Growing Problem
Mold in Your Home

Little Shutterbugs
Introducing Kids
to Photography

Genealogy for Kids

SUV Safety

Vision Screening
for Kids

Did You Know?

Mail Bag

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They’re spacious, give drivers a panoramic view of the road and, over the last few years, have become the most popular vehicle on the road – they’re sport utility vehicles or SUVs. As their popularity continues to grow, more aspects of their safety become apparent. SUVs are not passenger cars and the way they are driven can greatly affect your safety as well as the safety of others on the road.

Some things to consider as an SUV owner:

The federal government classifies SUVs as light trucks – not passenger cars. For that reason, SUVs are not required to meet the same side impact crash standards or bumper strength standards as passenger cars. Before you buy, do some research and see how various SUVs compare to each other in terms of safety issues.

Given the height and length of SUV, there are considerable blind spots in the rear that many people are not aware of. Sit in your SUV and have someone place an object the size of a toddler in front of and behind your vehicle. Have them move the object until you can see it in your rearview mirror. Get out of your vehicle and examine the distance involved in the blind spot – you may be surprised.

Read all of instruction manuals and warnings that come with your vehicle – driving techniques vary from vehicle to vehicle.

Obey the vehicle manufacturers recommendations for tire size and air pressure – over or under inflated tires can cause handling problems.

Remember, four-wheel drive vehicles can hydroplane and skid on ice just as easily as any other vehicle. Always monitor your speed and adjust it accordingly for existing weather conditions.

Due to their design, many SUVs are not capable of handling abrupt turns or lane changes. The higher center of gravity in a quick lane change can cause the vehicle to tip and possibly roll. This can become even more pronounced with a full cargo or passenger load – so adjust your speed and steering accordingly.

SUVs are considerably heavier than passenger cars. Because of this, it will take a greater distance to bring an SUV to a full stop – allow extra distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you.

Always wear seatbelts and use child safety seats. Refer to both the vehicle and car seat instruction manuals for proper installation.

So keep these hints in mind and enjoy your SUV. For parents on the go, SUVs offer cargo and passenger versatility unmatched by any other vehicle.

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