For thousands of different reasons, millions of people have purchased SUVs in the past several years. The high seating position gives a commanding view of the road and a sense of invincibility. The high ground clearance and off-road tires let you know they can handle just about anything thrown their way. The rugged industrial looks and powerful motors add to the driver's self-confidence and sense of power. Particularly in the case of the HUMMER.

Many folks who have purchased H1s, H2s and H3s have done so because of the sense of security they get knowing that should an accident occur, they and their loved ones will be protected inside. So you can imagine the confusion Iris Ziroli felt when the front end of her H2 ground into the pavement after nudging a pole in her local fast food drive-thru. No hard impact or off-road activity, just a low-speed minor collision and the HUMMER is down for the count.

Apparently Iris is among 20 Hummer H2 owners whose cases are sitting on the desks of the NHTSA as they investigate whether a faulty steering knuckle on 2003 model year H2s is to blame. The part in question was apparently changed in 2004 but it's possible that the 47,900 other 2003s on the road might have a similar propensity for nosedives. The NHTSA has also collected data on 61 similar cases involving Suburbans and Avalanches that used the same knuckles. GM, for its part, is saying that cause and effect are being mixed up in these cases. It was the initial impacts that caused the knuckle failures, not the knuckle failures causing the accidents. No deaths or serious injuries have been reported in these cases and the investigation continues.

[Souce: Sacramento Bee (sub required) via Detroit News]

Tip: Thanks to Chris C.