Fifteen Passenger Van Safety

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The following safety advisory was provided by Disabled Sports USA insurance agent and is good information for drivers of 15-passenger van orientation.  For a full printout of the advisory, please click here.

Instability of 15-Passenger Vans Makes Them Unsafe

While their appealing seating capacity makes it convenient to transport groups of people from place to place, the 15-passenger van’s instability on the road should make everyone aware of the fatal dangers they pose.

When you add ten or more people, the weight distribution increases the rollover risk if the driver needs to turn sharply to avoid an obstacle in the road. SafetyForum reports that “Overall, the vans were three times more likely to roll over in a crash when loaded with 10 or more passengers than when they carried fewer than five.” They also claim, “When vans are fully loaded, single wheels do not provide adequate rear traction to perform emergency steering maneuvers without fishtailing.”

Ensuring Passenger Safety and Preventing Rollovers

The biggest safety factor in providing passenger safety is being able to prevent rollovers.  Rollovers can occur when the large, high-center-of-gravity van begins to fishtail. If the driver cannot regain control of the vehicle, then a rollover is imminent. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says the following things can cause these awkward vehicles to fishtail and rollover:

  • If possible, avoid rural roads: The van is likely to overturn when it strikes a ditch or embankment or when it is tripped by an object or runs onto soft soil.
  • Avoid driving while fatigued or too fast for conditions
  • Avoid overcorrecting the vehicle: Especially at freeway speeds, this situation can cause the driver to lose control, resulting in the van sliding sideways and rolling over.
  • Do not overload the vehicle and do not carry cargo on the roof as these vans are already top heavy
  • Ensure tires have proper tread: This will help avoid potential slides on wet pavement.
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