Comment 5703

By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted March 02, 2007 at 11:18:31

ONe further note on four wheel drive. Because of its obvious ability in deep snow etc, it is tempting to conclude that this gives some sort of safety advantage.

It's always fun to tally how many 4wd vehicles have snow tires. In my neighbourhood I've seen only one all winter. I guess the laws of friction don't apply if you have the forces of marketing behind you.

You will scour road safety statistics to find any evidence that 4wd/awd is safer and find nothing. In some cases, the trend appears to be worse. This is certainly true for 4wd trucks compared to the same models in 2wd with respect to rollovers. Not surprising, laws of physics say taller vehicle = more rollovers.

Further to what is the major factor for crashes; aggressive driving or vehicle engineering, this is difficult to extract for all crashes, too many factors to examine mathematically. But at least for rollovers this has been done in establishing the "SSF" static stability factor that translates into a 5 star system for NHTSA rollover ratings.

They found that 88% of rollovers were mathematically accounted for by the SSF (purely a vehicle factor).

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