Effects of Crosswinds on Vehicle Response – Full-Scale Tests and Analytical Predictions 800848
Full-scale vehicle response tests were conducted on five vehicles using a crosswind disturbance test facility capable of providing a 35 mph wind over a nominal 120 ft test length. The vehicles were a Honda Accord, Chevrolet station wagon, Ford Econoline van, VW Microbus, and Ford pickup/camper. Results showed that passenger cars, station wagons, and most vans have virtually no crosswind sensitivity problems, whereas the VW Microbus, the pickup/camper (in winds higher than 35 mph), and cars pulling trailers do have potential problems. Key vehicle parameters dictating this yaw response sensitivity are the distance between the aerodynamic and tire force centers, tire restoring moment (including understeer gradient), and the basic aerodynamic side forces. A simple analytical relationship in these terms was developed to predict steady-state yaw rate in steady winds. The collected results show the validity of the simplified expressions and define the relationship between subjective driver ratings and the objective measures. This latter step represents the first attempt at defining maximum allowable crosswinds for a given vehicle response.