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NHTSA spotlights rollover crash concerns with large passenger vans

As summer nears, traffic safety experts in Ohio and across the country know that rollover truck accidents become an increased risk on roads and highways.

Commonly, rollover crashes involving big rigs — such as 18-wheler jackknife accidents — owe to a number of factors, most centrally inexperienced drivers, vehicle safety and maintenance issues, and improper cargo loading (most often overloading).

The same is true with other vehicles, especially 15-passenger vans, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is seeking to disseminate safety tips regarding these singular vehicles before the advent of the summer season.

In fact, notes the agency, such vans are particularly prone to rollover accidents, given their added length and width, and many operators not well accustomed to driving them fail to appreciate that. The NHTSA recommends above all else that drivers of 15-passenger vans have adequate experience handling them and are properly licensed to do so.

The agency also wants it widely known that close attention needs to be paid when loading such vans. An absolute taboo is overly weighing them down, which reduces their stability in virtually all handling aspects.

Tires, too, are a heightened concern for 15-passenger vans. Whereas drivers of passenger cars are advised to pay due attention to their tires, that admonition means something extra when it comes to passenger vans.

The experts recommend this: thorough checking of all van tires prior to every trip, with absolute care taken to ensure that they are properly inflated and appropriately rated and sized. The experts also counsel that spare tires should never serve as long-term replacements on 15-passenger vans.

And a final piece of advice concerns seat belts, namely this: Wear them. Close to 90 percent of people who die in van rollovers are not belted at the time of the accident.

Source: NHTSA, “Consumer Advisory: NHTSA reminds drivers of 15-passenger vans to guard against rollover crashes during the warm-weather driving season,” Karen Aldana, April 12, 2013