How to tip over a vehicle (or at least lose steering traction)

Overhanging a load, especially a liquid load is probably a likely scenario.  A question to consider.  What is the bigger risk?

(a) Full tank?

(b) Half full tank?

The load is a 400l diesel tank with pump.


About John Culvenor

Hi, Thank you for taking a look at this blog. I work in engineering, ergonomics, creativity, design, training, etc. Often this is about helping solve legal puzzles through accident analysis. Sometimes it is about thinking up better designs for equipment, workplaces, and systems. This blog is about good design and bad design, accident analysis and how it can be done better, and how we can make a better, safer world by design!
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12 Responses to How to tip over a vehicle (or at least lose steering traction)

  1. Hi John,
    Just a couple of questions,
    1. Is the tank baffled to prevent surging of fuel forwards and backwards?
    2.What % weight of the tank is overhanging the rear axle,(leverage force lifting vehicle up?
    3 What topography are you going to traverse? Down loads is less like to tip vehicle I think.
    Overall why not use a trailer that will safely fit tank within its sprung weight (duel axles etc?) with the tailgate down certainly the vehicle is unbalanced for any task off level ground, even then it is unstable) . Your photograph shows to me vehicle is not suitable to this purpose and I do know trailers are available (electrically braked?) not sure.

  2. rodcurrey says:

    Half tank for sure.

    • I think so too. If there’s no baffles, a half full tank could easily see all of the liquid shift behind the axles + momentum. We might worry ordinarily about a vehicle with maximum load. However I don’t that’s the case here.

      “No worries about the load mate it’s only half full”

      • Fritz Menzl says:

        Hi John, years ago I saw a Coca Cola truck with thousands of boxed glass bottles “shaking, rocking, and rolling” when he driver braked at an intersection.

        The bottles got in swingig resonance in the plastic boxes. Was a quite funny scene, especially the surprised face of the driver, the vehicle just acted like a “rodeo horse” :-).

      • Must have been a sight Fritz! Dynamic loads are a different scenario.

  3. rodcurrey says:

    However looking at the load centre either could
    be the bigger risk depending on the ground conditions you first encounter!

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