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Why car rollovers happen and how to come out of one alive

Of the many different types of automobile accidents that can occur, perhaps rollovers are the most violent type with the highest potential for resulting in catastrophic injuries or death. Much like other types of car crashes, vehicle rollovers require a number of different factors to be at play for one to occur such as driver negligence, vehicle malfunction, or environmental causes. It's the sheer combination of these factors happening in a defined sequence that contributes to the rollover occurring.

Improved car design and increased government rollover testing has lead to the percentage of all serious car crashes resulting in rollovers to be just 3 percent. Although any type of vehicle is capable of being involved in a rollover, the taller or narrower the vehicle, the higher the potential it has for becoming involved an accident of this type. This is one of the reasons vans, pickups, and SUVs are most prone to becoming involved in a single car crash more so than other automobile types.

More than 30 percent of rollovers result in fatalities. Of those, more than 40 percent are deemed to be caused by excessive speed. Of those, 75 percent happen in locations where speed limits are posted as 55 MPH or higher, such as rural areas and on interstates. Exceeding the posted speed limit, coupled with distracted or impaired driving, or lack of alertness, account account for more than 90 percent of rollovers occurring during routine driving activities such as managing a curve or continuing straight. In rural areas, 75 percent of these type accidents are caused by the lack of barriers or divisions within roadways.

Finally, because alcohol can greatly impact one's responsiveness, impulses, and vision, it's thought to play a large part in the loss of control of one's vehicle in a rollover incident. Statistics show that drunk driving, at any Breath Alcohol Content, or BAC, rate over 0.00, is largely to blame for over half of all rollovers. These types of accidents can also be caused by mechanical defects or unstable vehicles, distractions, and inexperienced driving as well.

If you've been involved in a rollover either as a driver or passenger, you've most likely sustained significant injuries for which you may be eligible for compensation. Scheduling an appointment with a personal injury attorney to discuss the case will provide you with better insight into your rights and responsibilities as it relates to filing a claim.

Source: NHTSA, "Rollover Causes," accessed Dec. 14, 2016

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Brian Jensen

Representation in the Houston Area with 3 Convenient Locations:

Bellaire Office
Frost Bank Building, 6750 West Loop South, Suite 800
Bellaire, TX 77401

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