One of the best ways to prevent a car accident is being informed about the different types of accidents and what may cause them. Rollover accidents are one of the most common road accidents, with 280,000 reported each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These accidents take more than 10,000 lives annually.
Cars most at risk for a rollover accident are SUVs, minivans, and trucks. According to an article from How Stuff Works, in 2003, 35.7 percent of fatal SUV crashes resulted from a rollover accident. SUVs are much more likely to roll over in serious accidents because they typically carry heavier loads that make them more top heavy.
Although most SUVs now have a built-in roll-stability control system that works to reduce the risk of rollover accidents, these vehicles are still susceptible to rolling over because of the way they are built.
A car’s stability when turning is directly related to the likelihood of a rollover accident. The car’s center of gravity and the distance between the left and right wheels, also known as the track, affect turn stability. Most SUVs and trucks have a high center of gravity and narrow track that makes them unstable in fast turns or sharp changes of direction. All of this increases the vehicle’s odds of tipping over once it begins to skid sideways, putting the passengers’ lives at risk.
Fatal rollover accidents are most frequently single-driver accidents that occur on weekend nights, when alcohol is most likely involved. In three out of four of these rollover accidents, victims were thrown from the vehicle. This indicates that the passenger was not wearing a seatbelt.
To prevent this type of accident, the NHTSA developed a five-star rollover rating system. The ratings are based on an analysis of each vehicle’s center of gravity and width between the front tires. The results are then compared to police accident reports for further confirmation. A five-star rating means the rollover risk for the vehicle is less than 10 percent, and a one-star rating means the risk is greater than 40 percent.
While this preventative information is useful, an important part of avoiding a rollover accident—as with any other accident—is to drive with all necessary precautions taken. Making sure all passengers are buckled up is an essential part of car safety that should never be overlooked. Being constantly alert while driving is the best accident prevention.
If you or your passengers are in a car accident, rollover or other, due to the negligence of another driver, contact an experience personal injury attorney to find out your options.
Photo Credit: Flickr Contributor, excelglen