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NHTSA Warns of Rollovers in Vans

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

Large vans, which are popular with trailer-towing enthusiasts, are far more prone to
rolling over in accidents when fully loaded with passengers than when unloaded, the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported. NHTSA posted the consumer
warning as a result of a number of rollover crashes during the past year. The models
covered by the advisory include General Motors Corporation’s Chevrolet Express 3500, GMC
Savanna G3500 and Rally/Vandura G3500; Ford Motor Company’s Econoline E350 and Club Wagon
E350; and DaimlerChrysler AG’s Dodge Ram Van/Wagon B3500 and Ram Wagon B350. The large vans
(which can carry up to 15 people) had a rollover rate in single-vehicle crashes that was
three times greater when fully loaded than unloaded, according to NHTSA. Loading the vans
with the maximum number of passengers (or equal weight of cargo) raises their center of
gravity, which greatly increases their likelihood of rollover, NHTSA said. Drivers should
be familiar with the handling characteristics of their vans, NHTSA said, especially when
the van is fully loaded, and passengers should wear seat belts.

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