Off-Road Recreational Vehicles

Reconstructing off-road recreational vehicle crashes can be very different than reconstructing typical automobile accidents. Exponent has engineers who specialize in off-road recreational vehicles and have many years of experience dealing with the unique issues involved in these cases.  When a recreational vehicle is in an accident on a trail or in the dunes, for example, there is rarely detailed documentation of the incident.  By utilizing vehicle evidence, terrain geometry, witness testimony, and in-depth knowledge of the vehicle’s performance characteristics, Exponent engineers can determine much about what occurred in an accident.  Additional insight into the accident dynamics can be obtained by testing an instrumented exemplar vehicle at the accident site or at Exponent’s Test and Engineering Center (TEC) where the site geometry and terrain conditions can be recreated.  Collecting vehicle measurements to evaluate stability and handling parameters is routinely conducted at TEC as well as testing to document the performance of the occupant protection system.   Recreational vehicles are typically lighter and more compact than passenger cars so that rider movement can play an important role in the control and stability of the vehicle as well as rider protection.  Exponent’s engineers and scientists have researched these issues incorporating this understanding into the analysis of off-road vehicle design, dynamic performance, rider/occupant protection and accident reconstruction.


Our services include:

  • Vehicle and site inspections
  • Three-dimensional laser scans of vehicles and sites
  • Photogrammetry analyses
  • Rapid-response accident documentation
  • Vehicle design and performance evaluation
  • Recreational vehicle testing in the environment that the vehicles are used like designated trails and sand dunes.
  • Standardized testing
  • Occupant protection system evaluation
  • Vehicle component inspections, including throttle and brake systems
  • Analysis of perception/reaction and vision/visibility issues  
  • Risk Analysis