A week ago we brought you news of a Mahindra XUV500 aquaplaning (follow the link for the images and more details) and rolling over with five occupants inside, near the town of Surathkal in Karnataka. Thankfully, all of the SUV’s occupants are fine for the most part – with minor injuries – although one of the ladies suffered a slipped disc in the accident.
As news of this accident spread on motoring blogs and forums, including our very own – there were a lot of queries as to why none of the airbags deployed. This was a top-end W8 variant of XUV 500 that came with all the bells and whistles, and yet its ABS, EBD, side airbags, and roll over mitigation either didn’t work, or weren’t able to lessen the impact of the crash.
We reached out to Mahindra and they have now responded to both our – as well as the unlucky owner’s – query regarding the accident. This is what the official statement from India’s top UV maker reads:
- Based on information we have gathered till date, and as you have also correctly concluded in your email, the cause of the accident appears to be “aquaplaning” which has resulted in toppling of the vehicle. The Electronic Stability Control (ESP) as a function, uses selective braking of wheels to stabilize the vehicle during “under steering” and “over steering” situations. Typically, during an “aquaplaning” situation, contact between wheel and ground, would be lost temporarily, resulting in loss of traction preventing the vehicle from responding to control inputs. Hence in aquaplaning situations, ESP will not be able to play any meaningful role. From the images, it appears that both of the rear tyres are completely worn out. It is well established that vehicle dynamics are significantly dependent on the condition of the tyres. Worn tires, especially bald ones, can easily lose traction on wet roads, where the grooves aren’t deep enough to channel water out from beneath the tread resulting in “aquaplaning” situations. We also note from the images that the original tyres have been replaced, though we are not at this time able to ascertain the specifications of the replacement tyres used or as to how this aspect could have contributed to the “aquaplaning”. As a technical person, I would urge that in the interest of safety, please always use tyres meeting specifications recommended by the manufacturer and which are in good condition, especially when driving in bad weather conditions.
- The XUV 500 is equipped with front and side airbags. Front airbags would deploy only during frontal impact condition at specified speeds. In this case, there is no damage seen in the front of the car. As there was no frontal impact the front airbags had not deployed. Side Airbags too are designed to deploy in case of acceleration due to impact. Since the toppling was caused due to “aquaplaning” situation and not due to side impact collision, the side airbags also would not have deployed in this case.
- In our experience, in accidents of such kind, it is the safety cage integrity and seat belt usage that play the most significant role in reducing injuries and risk to life and that aspect of XUV 500 design seems to have significantly contributed to avoiding any serious injury in this unfortunate accident.
We wish to assure you that we at Mahindra, always consider safety as our top most priority. Our customer Care team will be in touch with you to further investigate this accident.
Is that explanation satisfactory enough for you? Do let us know your views via comments sections below, or give us a shoutout on one of the social networks. We are always listening to you.