Theoretical Evaluation of Vehicle Stability in Mountainous Areas
A probability for a vehicle to overturn when climbing a hill or when going straight downhill is rather small because the design of vehicles makes them sufficiently stable with respect to a longitudinal bank. When the vehicle is loaded and moving uphill, its rear (driving) wheels receive a substantial additional load, while the load on the front wheels decreases. Consequently, the decreased traction of the front wheels diminishes the control of the vehicle, and it can also become completely uncontrollable. The article investigates the influence of a mountainous terrain to the controllability of vehicles. Situations commonly arising during exploitation of vehicles in mountainous areas are analyzed. Theoretical calculations of sideslip angles are illustrated by examples of recent accidents of military patrol cars in Afghanistan. Realistic estimates of safe driving speeds are presented. The main reason for the high rate of accidents is found to be an overly high center of mass of reinforced vehicles under consideration. (original abstract)
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