NBC news has a shocker: Passenger vans are unsafe when they are fully loaded. The story reports that 670 have been killed and 1300 have been injured in the last two decades in rollover crashes.
I was coming back to CA from Las Vegas a few years ago when I saw the aftermath of a passenger van crash. There were bodies all over the place. Seven of the ten occupants were killed. It seems that every year I hear about van crashes up in the San Juaquin Valley that kill farm workers.
I’ve driven vans and have ridden in them. I’ve seen them on the road. Perhaps I’m being harsh, but don’t people know that heavily-laden vehicles tend to be unstable? On the other hand, look at the claimed number of SUV rollovers. I’ve ranted about people not knowing how to operate their vehicles before.
It’s really very simple: Know your vehicle. A van is not an SUV is not a sedan is not a Porsche. A Porsche can take very sharp curves at very high speed (according to my empirical data ). A van can’t. You should be able to feel the difference between your loaded vehicle and your unloaded vehicle. You should be aware that there is a placard on the door frame or a note in the owner’s manual that states the gross weight of the vehicle, and that it’s unsafe to exceed that limit. If you don’t overgross the vehicle, you reduce the risk of a high-speed blowout. You should pay attention. Pay attention to the road, to other drivers, to what your vehicle is doing and how it reacts to control inputs. If you pay attention, you’ll probably not have to make a maneuver that will upset the vehicle.
In other words, drive smart. Then we won’t have to have the news report the obvious.