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Fatal SUV Rollover Report and Offroad Auto Insurance Quotes - Are You Covered?

SUV rollover kill has often been in the headlines as car drivers persist in driving their Sports Utility Vehicles and 4X4's on the road like they drive their cars.

However these offroad vehicles do not have the same stability as a normal automobile, the centre of gravity is often much higher in a SUV. When driving offroad the chance of having a fatal SUV rollover accident increases.

Before you take your 4WD on the beach, another point to consider is "did those auto insurance quotes you got, or the policy you signed include offroad insurance!"

If offroad use is not explicitly mentioned in your policy you could have problems claiming.

Barley's Online Insurance Quote

Barley Insurances are New Zealand's specialists in Offroad and 4x4 Car Insurance. Check that yours is fully insured off road or on the beach with you company - if you don't like their answer then get a Free 4x4 Off Road Auto Insurance Quote from Barleys

 

How SUV Rollover Accidents Happen

When driving on beach sand in particular additional caution should be taken to avoid a condition where the front wheels gutter and steering is lost.

When turning, even slightly, a sand curb builds up on the outside of the wheels of the Sports Utility Vehicle or 4WD on the side opposite the direction of the turn.

Should the consistency of the driving surface change - like hitting a patch of soft sand - things can change for the worse very quickly.

non-fatal SUV rollover

Above: A Non-fatal SUV rollover accident at Muriwai Beach that caused serious injuries. More details on this accident below

The sand curb builds instantly and if the steering direction is altered, like to avoid an incoming wave, driftwood or other beach users, the front wheels catch on this curb with such force the steering wheel can be ripped out of your hands as the steering wheel spins to full lock in the direction of the turn –sometimes breaking the driver’s thumbs in the process.

The full lock at right angles causes the front wheels to dig in like a bulldozer blade and stop while the rest of the vehicle is still moving. The car then violently flips over the front wheels at a 45-degree angle.

SUV wreck on Muriwai Beach

Before you take your off road vehicle on the beach check that your insurance policy covers your 4WD activities. Off road vehicles that get stuck in the sand on the beach are quickly destroyed by the powerful surging sweepers on the wild west coast. This 4wd wreck was one of two spotted on Muriwai beach at our last demo.

Fatal SUV Rollover Report

One of the worst accidents on Muriwai Beach was in July 2004.

Of the five people in the SUV vehicle three were killed when it rolled seven times. One of the survivors suffered serious spinal injuries

The NZ Serious Crash Unit investigated why this fatal SUV rollover kill ed three people on Muriwai Beach.

The program focused on how easy it is to flip a vehicle on sand and the scenario described above was suggested as the likely cause of the fatal SUV rollover.

The vehicle was allegedly travelling 100kph plus on a straight part of the beach and possibly made a slight turn to avoid a wave. The experts agreed the front wheels had caught in the guttering scenario above and the vehicle flipped so violently it was airborne for 9.5 meters.

After landing it rolled seven and a half times before coming to rest.

The number fatalities and serious injuries were high because many of the victims were thrown from the vehicle by the huge forces involved in the rollover accident. It was suggested that a slight difference in the hardness of the sand during the turn could have been a contributing factor to the accident.

 

Non-Fatal Rollover Crash at Muriwai Beach!

Be careful on the beach or your 4WD vehicle might wind up like the one pictured at the top of this article. The rollover accident in the pic happened at Muriwai Beach.

There were two people in the SUV at the time of the crash. One suffered serious injuries and was flown to hospital by the rescue helicopter, the other was taken to hospital by ambulance.

The 4WD van was towed from the beach before tide came in.

Keeping an eye out for soft sand, partially buried vehicles, logs and kite and kontiki fishers and their gear is easy if you are not going too fast.

Helicopter needed to fly Non-fatal SUV rollover accident victim to hospital

Above: The rescue helicopter arrives to ferry one seriously injured victim from the SUV rollover accident to hospital, the other occupant was taken by ambulance.

It's tempting to consider the beach as a playground and not a road.

Often inexperienced drivers are seen doing doughnuts while speeding. I have seen four vehicles that have flipped in this fashion on Muriwai over the last 18 years so keep the speed down, take it easy on the beach, drive carefully and don't do wheelies.

One of these was and SUV without a roof and the driver was seriously injured - also requiring the rescue helecopter. Another cost us a days fishing as we towed the very shaken driver back from the top end of the beach.

He had recently purchased a cheap off road VW buggy and rolled it while doing doughnuts.

The off road VW buggy had slid upside down for around 10 metres and the driver had worn all the hair off the top of his head as it was dragged along the sand.

He was embarressed by his sudden baldness - but very lucky he didn't hit anything buried in the sand.

Bad driving on the beach is often cited when beach closures are proposed, lets not give them that opportunity, drive carefully and slowly.

 

The speed limit on Muriwai is 70kph. This is a sensible speed and if everybody adheres to it the beach will be a safer place for motorists and all other beach users.

4WD van and helicopter photos in this 4WD article courtesy of Paul Frost.

Need a free online car insurance quote for offroad and beach driving? Get A Free 4x4 Off Road Auto Insurance Quote from Barleys

 

 

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