1985-01-01

Accident Avoidance-Crosswind Sensitivity of Some Streamlined Cars 856047

This paper is based on a detailed analysis of real-life situations and is intended to highlight some of the problems that can occur with modern lightweight cars when their aerodynamic shape approaches that of an aerofoil. The problem of disappointing straight line stability when travelling at speed may be more pronounced in the United Kingdom than in Central Europe where one of the cars so flawed was conceived and developed. The topography, significantly higher crosswind speeds, the alignment of the main trunk roads relative to the prevailing winds of high speed, and the proneness for such winds to have extraordinary gust levels are cited as an explanation for the difficulties experienced by motorists when the low drag, front-engine, rear-wheel-drive car was launched in 1982/83. Progress has been made to minimise the handling problems under high speed and crosswind situations, but there is little chance of achieving better driver skill. Therefore, it must fall on the carmakers to do better and make their product fit for even morons to drive safely and be as predictable in their road manners in wet, windy weather as under less demanding conditions.

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