Over Steering – Driver Overcorrection- Driver Oversteering
is a vehicle handling characteristic which exists independently of anything the
All these terms are used to
denote a driver action which is inappropriate for a particular vehicle, at least
in a particular circumstance, and
which causes the vehicle to go out of control, and sometimes to rollover. They
are generally used to impugn fault to the driver and to imply that the driver
made a mistake and that it is the driver's fault that something bad happened. But
there is a difference between causing something to happen and being responsible
or liable for the outcome. Consider the case of the honest card dealer, he may
cause you to go broke by turning a particular card, but the responsibility for
your misfortune is yours because you decided to play.
So it is not always true
that everything a driver causes is the drivers fault. It may be the driver’s
fault that they got themselves into a situation which triggered the
“excessive” steering effort which resulted in loss of control or a rollover.
But the loss of control is generally not the drivers fault; first
because they probably didn’t know it was going to happen – and even if they
“knew” in some sense, they
probably didn’t have time to recollect, consider and act on the knowledge.
Secondly, at least in the case of rollovers, the vehicle probably should not
have done what it did regardless of the driver’s actions.
Light vehicles should not
rollover simply as a result of driver control efforts- steering and braking.
This is a designed in defect resulting principally from marketing considerations
which limited the widths of some vehicles, mostly small SUVs and 4 x 4s. These
vehicles can sometimes be rolled with a single “excessive” steering input
made easier, we should note, by the high levels of power assist found in some of these
vehicles. The vehicle's response, the transition to an uncontrollable rollover
state can be very quick, less than a second in some cases. The situation can be
unrecoverable for any but the most experienced and knowledgeable driver who is prepared to turn the wheel and then
return the wheel in
what is virtually one continuous oscillating motion.
That’s one problem with
blaming the driver for an “oversteering” or “overcorrection”
accident- its over before they know what happened. They don’t have time
to correct even if such a correction might be possible. Most drivers can’t
catch it and bring it back, it happens too fast and they may not even be aware
that it's happening until it’s too late. The second problem is this: Figuring
out what “too much” steering is ahead of time. How much is too much? It
depends a lot on the current condition of the vehicle. Tire size, type and
pressure can be important as is vehicle loading. Anything that effects
the ride height or weight distribution in the vehicle can have an influence. The
condition of the suspension can also be important, worn shocks or bushings can
adversely effect the vehicle’s stability.
Most important perhaps is
the fact that most drivers have no experience operating at the limits of
handling, nor can they get any- it’s too dangerous, especially in a vehicle
that can rollover. How far or how fast
can you turn the steering wheel in your vehicle before you lose control? How
could you figure it out?. Do you practice limit maneuvers in your vehicle so
that you can be ready ahead of time? If you don’t know and can’t find out
what your vehicle’s limits are, maybe its not
your fault if something bad happens when you “oversteer” or