1993 Ford Explorer Rollover
In August 1993, I was driving a 1993 Ford Explorer with Firestone tires. I was pulling a camping trailer, which, for the record, was within the ratings for the vehicle. The Explorer had just 9,000 miles on it when the accident occurred. I was on the inside lane of the divided highway with a Semi Truck in the outside lane. For unknown reasons, the Explorer suddenly began to swerve and the camping trailer fishtailed causing the Explorer and trailer to roll 3-4 times at highway speed. I ended up in the median, right side up.
The Explorer was completely totaled, as was the camping trailer. All of the glass in the Explorer was completely shattered or all together gone. The passenger side bucket seat headrest had been sheared off. Fortunately for my friend and I, I had just dropped him off in Casper, just 15 miles before the accident occurred. Had he still been in the vehicle, he surely would have been killed. The highway patrolman told me that two things had saved my life: wearing a safety belt and the roof of the Explorer had formed a V shape directly over my head where I had been sitting in the drivers seat. This was possibly the only place that anyone would have survived this accident as the majority of the roof had been squashed down to seat level.
My injuries included broken ribs, a collapsed lung, concussion, multiple contusions and lacerations to head, face, shoulders arms and legs. I was hospitalized for about a week and missed about a month of work. The insurance claims totaled more than $50,000.
I had assumed that the Semi Truck that I was driving next to had created a draft that had caused me to lose control of the Explorer, or I had done something in driver error. However, just last week, while watching a magazine show on the Firestone recall, and Fords previous testing of the Explorer rollover tendencies, I decided to get the pictures my wife had taken of the accident. It revealed that two of the tires on the drivers side were completely destroyed, and the two on the passenger side had escaped any damage. It is my hunch that the drivers side rear tire failed.
While I am not sure if Firestone tires, or a vehicle that is now known to have rollover tendencies caused this accident, I would like an expert in this area to give me their opinion. I am curious about Ford deciding to reduce the pressure to 26 lbs in these tires. Did they test or alter the ratings for the towing capacities of the Explorer? A lot has been said about not overloading the vehicles. What does this mean for towing a trailer or boat? Is the Explorer not marketed as a vehicle that can be used for towing? Does the lower tire pressure added to a trailer being towed add to the risk of tire failure? Is it the responsibility of the Explorer owner to know this?
It appears that Ford did some redesigning of the Explorer in 1995 to enhance stability and reduce rollover tendencies. If this is a result of actual rollovers that occurred in the real world, including mine, I am interested in learning more about this. I would like to be added to a Class Action lawsuit if it is deemed that I should be, once an expert reviews my case.
Thank you for your help and for your website on this serious matter.
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