In the design and development of high-speed tracked vehicles, it is necessary to have an understanding of the interrelationship between the terrain factors and the vehicle characteristics during steering. The handling behavior of skid-steered tracked vehicles is more complex than that of wheeled vehicles because of non-linear characteristics arising from the sliding interface between the track and the ground. In the present work, a five degree-of-freedom (DOF) steering model of a tracked vehicle is developed, and the handling behavior during non-stationary motion is studied when operating at high and low speeds. It is demonstrated that the inclusion of roll and pitch DOF changes the steering response when compared to the response from three DOF models proposed earlier by several researchers. This is due to the strong coupling between the pitch and yaw motions. The effect of the initial forward velocities on the trajectory of the vehicle during non-stationary motion is also studied. It is observed from the results that the stability is influenced by the type of steering input, steering ratio and vehicle forward speed. © 2011 The Korean Society of Automotive Engineers and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.