KNBC channel 4 in Los Angeles just showed video of a red Grand Cherokee rolling over.
A news crew was reporting on the rain (yes, in Southern California they actually send crews out to show pictures of rain) near the town of Alpine. There was some snow on the ground, but it was not a “covering”. The Grand Cherokee seemed to be travelling a bit fast for the conditions, but there was only a glimpse of another vehicle for comparison. He was kicking up a bit of a “rooster tail”. He suddenly entered a clockwise skid, slid off of the road, and rolled about four times. No one was injured. There was a small pickup truck by the side of the road, and it’s possible the Jeep driver panicked and braked too heavily. Or he could have just been driving too fast for a rainy/snowy/icy(?) road. My personal guess is that he was distracted by the news crew (I cannot understand why people insist on becoming distracted by things that are not a factor) and lost control when he made an accidental input to the controls while he was travelling too fast for the conditions. Just a guess though.
The report also mentioned the government’s new rollover ratings. The worst was the Infiniti QX4, followed by the Jeep Grand Cherokee in the #2 position.
There have been arguments on these boards about the safety of SUVs, particularly about their rollover potential. First rollover: Given the video I saw, any car that slid off of the road at that speed would have rolled over. It just happened to be a Jeep. (FWIW, I see more non-SUVs on their backs in the L.A. area than SUVs.) Second, safety: No one in the Jeep was injured.
It has been a “pet peeve” of mine that people are generally not trained well enough to drive. People seem unaware of physics and seem not to understand that they are not sitting in their living room. Driving, especially in unfamiliar conditions, requires a driver’s undivided attention. Do I munch on the occasional burger whilst I drive? Yes. Do I talk on the cell phone? Rarely (there’s no one I really need to talk to that urgently); but yes, I do. Have I been distracted by reading a map? Of course. But I realize that my attention is diverted and I am especially vigilant at those times. In a car of in an aircraft, I have stopped conversation mid-sentence when the vehicle needed immediate attention. The phone, the burger, the Coke®… whatever, is going to wind up on the floor before I will stop controlling my vehicle. But driving 100 miles a day, I see many many people who seem oblivious to the fact that they are in a situation that the human body was not designed for: Going 50 or 60 miles per hour. It’s pretty safe. We do it all the time. But a sudden stop at that speed can be fatal.
So this is mundane and pointless, and somewhat pedantic. But I’d like people to think about what they are doing when they are in a vehicle. And pay attention. With weather that is unfamiliar to many or most Southern Californians, it pays to be vigilant.