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Journal Article

The Relationship Between Tire Mark Striations and Tire Forces

Tire mark striations are discussed often in the literature pertaining to accident reconstruction. The discussions in the literature contain many consistencies, but also contain disagreements. In this article, the literature is first summarized, and then the differences in the mechanism in which striations are deposited and interpretation of this evidence are explored. In previous work, it was demonstrated that the specific characteristics of tire mark striations offer a glimpse into the steering and driving actions of the driver. An equation was developed that relates longitudinal tire slip (braking) to the angle of tire mark striations [1]. The longitudinal slip equation was derived from the classic equation for tire slip and also geometrically. In this study, the equation for longitudinal slip is re-derived from equations that model tire forces.
Technical Paper

The Influence of Vehicle-to-Ground Impact Conditions on Rollover Dynamics and Severity

This paper explores the influence of the impact conditions on the dynamics and the severity of rollover crashes. Causal connections are sought between the impact conditions and the crash attributes to which they lead. The paper begins by extending previously presented equations that describe the dynamics of an idealized vehicle-to-ground impact. It then considers the behavior of these equations under a variety of impact conditions that occur during real-world rollovers. Specifically, the equations of this impact model are used to explore the ways in which and the extent to which rollover dynamics and severity are influenced by the following factors: (1) the vehicle's shape and its orientation at impact, (2) its weight, center-of-mass location, and roll moment of inertia, (3) its translational speed, (4) its downward velocity, and (5) its roll velocity. Throughout this discussion, data from real-world and staged rollover crashes is used to give the parameter study an empirical basis.
Technical Paper

Speed Analysis of Yawing Passenger Vehicles Following a Tire Tread Detachment

This paper presents yaw testing of vehicles with tread removed from tires at various locations. A 2004 Chevrolet Malibu and a 2003 Ford Expedition were included in the test series. The vehicles were accelerated up to speed and a large steering input was made to induce yaw. Speed at the beginning of the tire mark evidence varied between 33 mph and 73 mph. Both vehicles were instrumented to record over the ground speed, steering angle, yaw angle and in some tests, wheel speeds. The tire marks on the roadway were surveyed and photographed. The Critical Speed Formula has long been used by accident reconstructionists for estimating a vehicle’s speed at the beginning of yaw tire marks. The method has been validated by previous researchers to calculate the speed of a vehicle with four intact tires. This research extends the Critical Speed Formula to include yawing vehicles following a tread detachment event.

Rollover Crash Reconstruction

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “of the nearly 9.1 million passenger car, SUV, pickup and van crashes in 2010, only 2.1% involved a rollover. However, rollovers accounted for nearly 35% of all deaths from passenger vehicle crashes. In 2010 alone, more than 7,600 people died in rollover crashes.” Rollover accidents continue to be a leading contributor of vehicle deaths. While this continues to be true, it is pertinent to understand the entire crash process. Each stage of the accident provides valuable insight into the application of reconstruction methodologies. Rollover Accident Reconstruction focuses on tripped, single vehicle rollover crashes that terminate without striking a fixed object.
Technical Paper

Post-Impact Dynamics for Vehicles with a High Yaw Velocity

Calculating the speed of a yawing and braked vehicle often requires an estimate of the vehicle deceleration. During a steering induced yaw, the rotational velocity of the vehicle will typically be small enough that it will not make up a significant portion of the vehicle’s energy. However, when a yaw is impact induced and the resulting yaw velocity is high, the rotational component of the vehicle’s kinetic energy can be significant relative to the translational component. In such cases, the rotational velocity can have a meaningful effect on the deceleration, since there is additional energy that needs dissipated and since the vehicle tires can travel a substantially different distance than the vehicle center of gravity. In addition to the effects of rotational energy on the deceleration, high yaw velocities can also cause steering angles to develop at the front tires. This too can affect the deceleration since it will influence the slip angles at the front tires.
Technical Paper

Factors Influencing Roof-to-Ground Impact Severity: Video Analysis and Analytical Modeling

This paper explores the dynamics of rollover crashes and examines factors that influence the severity of the roof-to-ground impacts that occur during these crashes. The paper first reports analysis of 12 real-world rollover accidents that were captured on video. Roll rate time histories for the vehicles in these accidents are reported and the characteristics of these curves are analyzed. Next, the paper uses analytical modeling to explore the influence that the trip phase characteristics may have on the severity of roof-to-ground impacts that occur during the roll phase. Finally, the principle of impulse and momentum is used to derive an analytical impact model for examining the mechanics of a roof-to-ground impact. This modeling is used to identify the influence of various impact conditions on the severity of a roof-to-ground impact.
Technical Paper

Event Data Recorder Performance during High Speed Yaw Testing Subsequent to a Simulated Tire Tread Separation Event

This paper presents event data from the Sensing and Diagnostic Module (SDM) of a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu during high speed yaw testing. Yaw tests were performed using tires that were intact and tires that had the tread removed. The tires that had the tread removed were placed at various wheel positions on the vehicle (e.g. leading side - front, leading side -rear, trailing side - rear). This testing simulates the loss of control phase subsequent to a tread separation. Speeds up to 117 km/h (72.9 mph) were achieved. A simple electro-mechanical device was incorporated to the dynamic testing to simulate a low-severity non-deployment event that triggered the recording of pre-crash data by the SDM. The SDM data from the tests was imaged and compared to reference data from vehicle-mounted instrumentation recording wheel speed, steering angle, measured vehicle sideslip angle and GPS calculated over the ground speed.
Journal Article

Determining Vehicle Steering and Braking from Yaw Mark Striations

This paper presents equations that relate the orientation and spacing of yaw mark striations to the vehicle braking and steering levels present at the time the striations were deposited. These equations, thus, provide a link between physical evidence deposited on a roadway during a crash (the tire mark striations) and actions taken by the driver during that crash (steering and braking inputs). This paper also presents physical yaw tests during which striated yaw marks were deposited. Analysis of these tests is conducted to address the degree to which the presented equations can be used to determine a driver’s actual steering and braking inputs. As a result of this testing and analysis, it was concluded that striated tire marks can offer a meaningful glimpse into the steering and braking behavior of the driver of a yawing vehicle. It was also found that consideration of yaw striations allows for the reconstruction of a vehicle’s post-impact yaw motion from a single tire mark.
Technical Paper

Comparison of Calculated Speeds for a Yawing and Braking Vehicle to Full-Scale Vehicle Tests

Accurately reconstructing the speed of a yawing and braking vehicle requires an estimate of the varying rates at which the vehicle decelerated. This paper explores the accuracy of several approaches to making this calculation. The first approach uses the Bakker-Nyborg-Pacejka (BNP) tire force model in conjunction with the Nicolas-Comstock-Brach (NCB) combined tire force equations to calculate a yawing and braking vehicle's deceleration rate. Application of this model in a crash reconstruction context will typically require the use of generic tire model parameters, and so, the research in this paper explored the accuracy of using such generic parameters. The paper then examines a simpler equation for calculating a yawing and braking vehicle's deceleration rate which was proposed by Martinez and Schlueter in a 1996 paper. It is demonstrated that this equation exhibits physically unrealistic behavior that precludes it from being used to accurately determine a vehicle's deceleration rate.
Technical Paper

Analysis of a Dolly Rollover with PC-Crash

This paper evaluates the use of PC-Crash simulation software for modeling the dynamics of a dolly rollover crash test. The specific test used for this research utilized a Ford sport utility vehicle and was run in accordance with SAE J2114. Scratches, gouges, tire marks and paint deposited on the test surface by the test vehicle were documented photographically and by digital survey and a diagram containing the layout of these items was created. The authors reviewed the test video to determine which part of the vehicle deposited each of these pieces of evidence. Position and orientation data for the vehicle in the test were then obtained using video analysis techniques. This data was then analyzed to determine the vehicle’s translational and rotational velocities throughout the test. Next, the test was modeled using PC-Crash.