One of the most dangerous types of auto accidents drivers can have involve vehicle rollovers. Fortunately, these types of crashes are relatively rare, with rollovers only happening in approximately 3 percent of major collisions.
Yet that small percentage of auto accidents is still responsible for roughly 30 percent of the fatalities that occur in wrecks involving passenger vehicles.
What causes rollovers?
Vehicles that are the most likely to be involved in rollover accidents are those with higher centers of gravity due to the tall, narrow designs, i.e., vans, SUVs and pickup trucks.
As the center of gravity shifts when these automobiles navigate curves, lateral forces can affect the balance of the vehicle on the road surface. Speed is also a factor, as is over-correcting after a sudden move to one side or another.
Single-vehicle rollovers typically don’t result from steering maneuvers. Drivers might swerve and strike the the curb, get jostled by a deep pothole or slide on soft shoulders of highways. It’s estimated that in 95 percent of rollover accidents, some obstruction led to a vehicular lurch.
How to reduce rollover collisions
New technologies enhance newer vehicles’ rollover avoidance systems. Together with vehicle designs that emphasize safety, these enhanced safety systems can reduce the number of highway deaths. It’s also up to drivers and their passengers to wear seat belts each time they ride. It’s estimated that all of these factors combined with more stringent federal regulations can reduce the number of individuals injured and killed in rollover accidents by 50 percent or even greater.
The good news is that better-designed automobiles have fewer rollover incidents. The bad news is that when they do occur, they are still deadly. Learn how you can mitigate damage if your vehicles rolls over on the highway.
- Consistent use of seat belts prevents ejection from the vehicle, as 75 percent of those ejected suffer fatal injuries.
- Don’t speed — 40 percent of rollover fatalities involve driving too fast.
- Don’t overload the vehicle, especially by carrying loads on top of the roof. Heavy cargo should ride low in the vehicle’s center and far away from the tailgate.
- Maintain proper tire pressure and use appropriate tires for the automobile.
- Pay particular attention on rural roads, as these are more prone to this type of accident.
If you get hurt in a rollover collision, review all of your legal options for compensation.
Source: Consumer Reports, “Car rollover 101 How rollovers happen and what you can do to avoid one,” accessed Aug. 11, 2017