Driver response at tyre blow-out in heavy vehicles & the importance of scrub radius
Paper in proceedings, 2014
Front tyre blow-outs lead to several fatal accidents involving heavy vehicles. Common for most heavy vehicles is a positive scrub radius. This can result in a destabilising steering wheel torque at front tyre blow-out. In this study the safety improvement achieved when reducing scrub radius is quantified. By using a heavy truck equipped with a modified electric power steering system it was possible to change the scrub radius virtually. Brakes were configured to emulate front tyre blow-out which appeared as a sudden disturbance on one of the front tyres. In total 20 drivers took part in the study which was run on a test track at 50 km/h. Results show that the produced average lateral deviation from the original direction was 23 cm, when scrub radius was 12 cm, compared to 16 cm, when scrub radius was 0 cm. The main cause of the observed difference was a small, yet significant, initial overshoot in steering wheel angle which can be derived from the destabilising steering wheel torque.