Rollover Accidents: What You Need to Know
There isn’t just one basic type of car accident. There are several different types of car accidents and some types of car accidents are more dangerous than others. Rollover accidents are one of the rarer types of car crashes, but they are one of the most dangerous car accidents. According to the Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), vehicles only roll over in about 2% of all crashes, but they cause approximately one-third of all motor vehicle accident fatalities.
What is a Rollover Accident?
The IIHS considers an accident a rollover accident if the vehicle turns over onto its side or roof during the accident. Unlike other types of car accidents, rollover crashes often don’t involve another vehicle, but that doesn’t mean that rollover crashes can’t be prevented. Here are a few driving safety tips to help you avoid rollover accidents.
What Causes Rollover Accidents?
Vehicle type can be a major contributing factor in rollover accidents. Rollover accidents can happen to any type of vehicle, but they do tend to be more common in vehicles like SUVs, vans, busses, and trucks. These vehicles have a design that makes them taller than other vehicles and gives them a higher ground clearance, creating a higher center of gravity that makes them more prone to rolling over. Not only do these types of vehicles have design factors that make them more likely to roll over, they’re also more likely to be transporting items, which can also contribute to rollover crashes.
Alcohol is another contributing factor in many cases. According to the NHTSA, nearly half of all fatal rollover accidents involve alcohol. The NHTSA also cites driver inattention/distraction as being another common cause.
How to Prevent Rollover Accidents
Car Safety Features
Car safety technology has developed to help reduce the rate of rollover crashes so if you’re in the market for a new car, you’ll definitely want to take a good look at the safety features on any vehicle you’re considering, especially if it’s a SUV or pickup truck. The newer the vehicle is, the better its safety features are likely to be.
Look for features like Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and side-curtain airbags. ESC doesn’t completely prevent rollover accidents, but it’s been so effective at reducing the number of rollover crashes, it’s become a standard feature on all new cars and trucks. According to the IIHS, ESC reduces the risk of fatal single-vehicle rollover crashes by 75% for SUVs and 72% for cars. If you’d like to see how a car’s safety features are rated, the NHTSA has a database of crash test safety ratings.
The condition of your tires can have an impact on how likely it is your car will roll over. Check your tire pressure regularly to make sure they are properly inflated according to your manufacturer’s specifications. If you need to replace your tires, make sure you get tires that are the same type that originally came with your vehicle.
Be Careful When Loading Vehicles
When you’re loading up a vehicle, be careful about how you place things so your vehicle doesn’t become unbalanced, particularly if it’s a type of vehicle with a high center of gravity. Try to keep the heaviest things close to the ground, near the center of the vehicle, and as far back from the tailgate as possible. Try to avoid transporting things on the roof of your car if it’s at all possible.
One of the biggest contributing factors to rollover accidents is speed. Approximately 40% of all rollover accidents involve excessive speed as a factor. Be particularly careful when traveling on roads where the speed limit is 55 MPH or higher. About three-quarters of all fatal rollover accidents happen on roadways with a speed limit of at least 55 MPH.
Preventing rollover accidents doesn’t have to involve doing anything out of the ordinary. Basic safe driving measures can do a lot to reduce the risk of a rollover accident. Don’t drink and drive, keep your mind focused on the road, and slow down and be careful when navigating curves or turning corners.
Staying Safe in a Rollover Accident
In the event of a rollover crash, your seat belt is one of the best lines of protection. When a car rolls over, passengers can very easily be thrown around inside the vehicle if their seat belt isn’t buckled and there’s a very high possibility that a person could be thrown out of the car through a window or the windshield. About half of fatalities related to rollover accidents happen when a person is ejected from the vehicle, so be sure to always wear your seat belt!
Need Help After a Michigan Car Accident?
No matter how a car accident was caused, the consequences can be devastating and it’s important to have a lawyer on your side who can fight for you to get the compensation you need while you recover. The car accident lawyers at Goodwin & Scieszka have decades of experience helping the victims of Michigan car accidents. Contact us today for help with your case.