Electronic Stability Control System – Giving Vehicles Greater Stability

Jan 29

The US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports close to 10,000 deaths and more than 24,000 cases of serious injuries (every year) due to rollover accidents. Rollover accidents register the second highest number of deaths and grave injuries; the first is by head-on collisions.

A rollover accident can involve any type of vehicle, but most especially: vehicles that have tires that are worn out as these easily lose traction; those that have a greater tendency to oversteer, or turn farther than it was meant, or understeer, that is, turn lesser that intended; and, SUVs due to their design of having a higher center of gravity from the ground.

To lower occurrences of rollover accidents some car manufacturers now design their vehicles with a modern safety device, called the Electronic Stability Control (ESC). This safety device consists of sensors that are able to detect loss of vehicle control; upon detection, the device automatically applies brakes on the appropriate wheel to enable the driver to regain vehicle control and put it back on track. Besides this, ESC also: gives the vehicle greater stability, especially during abrupt turns; reduces risks of oversteering and understeering; improves traction on icy and slippery pavements; and, increases vehicle control on gravel patches and road shoulders.

Aside from SUVs, pick-ups and vans also have a center of gravity that is farther from the ground, thus, making these more prone to rollover. The risk of rolling over, however, becomes much higher in fully occupied 15-passenger vans because as more passengers get inside it the higher its center of gravity becomes. Placing heavy cargo inside or on its roof further raises its center of gravity, which increases all the more its risk of tipping over easily on sharp, emergency turns. This is due to the fact that the combined weight of passengers and cargo greatly reduces the vehicle’s stability, resulting to its increased tendency to oversteer.

To make sure that a van remains stable, the NHTSA issues these safety precautions: ask passengers (if there are only a few) to occupy the front seats, which are frontward the vehicle’s rear axle; and, avoid loading heavy cargo on the roof or inside the vehicle, else, make sure that the weight of the cargo does not go above the vehicle’s maximum safe load or that the cargo’s weight is equally distributed inside the van.

Rollover accidents have already injured or taken the lives of many individuals in the past, dramatically changing victims’ and their family’s lives. Though no amount of monetary compensation will undo any harm already done, it can provide victims the financial help to meet the resulting effects of injuries or death. For the best legal action that will allow victims or their families to seek and receive the full amount of compensation allowed under the law, it is best that victims are represented by top caliber personal injury lawyers, who will be able to assist them pursue such legal act.

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