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Understanding the Dangers of a Rollover Accident

Car accidents are among the leading cause of personal injury and death in the United States. While many Americans are aware of this fact, few realize that rollover accidents are a significant contributor to the thousands of accidents, injuries, and fatalities that occur each year. A car accident would be classified as a rollover when the vehicle tips or rolls over onto its side or roof. In more serious rollover accidents, vehicles may also roll over several times before coming to rest.

In comparison to other traffic accidents, rollovers are particularly violent in nature. This is because passengers are subjected to multiple forces and impacts during the collision. As a result, the rates of physical injury, catastrophic injury, and death are incredibly high. A few notable statistics about rollover accidents – according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) – are as follows:

  • Most fatal rollover crashes are single-vehicle crashes
  • More than 280,000 rollover accidents occur each year in the U.S.
  • More than 10,000 people are killed in rollover accidents each year
  • Rollover accidents account for nearly 35% of all passenger vehicle fatalities
  • Rollover accidents are more likely to result in death than any other type of accident

Types of Rollovers

Tripped Rollovers
This type of accident occurs when a vehicle runs off the road and is tripped by driving into a ditch or soft soil or by hitting an object such as a curb or guardrail. Roughly 95% of single-vehicle rollover accidents are tripped rollovers.

Un-Tripped Rollovers
Un-tripped rollovers are less common and account for about 5% of all rollover accidents. Typically, these accidents happen as a result of a vehicle attempting to avoid a collision, especially at high speeds. It is also common among top-heavy vehicles.

Causes of Rollover Accidents

Speed and Driving Behavior
High speed and driver behavior are the largest factors in rollover accidents. Approximately 40% of fatal rollovers involve excessive speeds. Driver behavior, including driver distraction and driver impairment, are also common causes.

Location and Road Conditions
Roadways with high speed limits, rural roads without dividers or barriers, and roadways with defects or soft soil nearby can increase the risks of a rollover accident.

Routine Driving & Single-Vehicle Accidents
According to the NHTSA, a large majority of rollovers happen when a vehicle was involved in a routine driving maneuver, such as driving straight or maneuvering around a curve. Additionally, most rollovers are single-vehicle accidents.

Types of Cars and Vehicles Prone to Rollovers

Vehicle type is also a significant factor behind rollovers. While all vehicles can roll over, some are more prone to rollovers than others. In recent years, it was discovered that rollovers were a serious risk for certain types of vehicles. This prompted the creation of what is known as a rollover rating system, which essentially measures how top-heavy a vehicle is; the more top-heavy a vehicle, the more likely it is to roll over. This is because a vehicle's stability is influenced by its center of gravity.

Examples of vehicles commonly associated with rollovers include:

  • Pickup trucks
  • SUVs
  • Vans
  • Commercial trucks
  • Vehicles with high ground clearance (4x4 vehicles, off-road vehicles, ATVs, and others)

Whatever the underlying cause of a rollover accident may be, nothing changes the fact that they are extremely serious and incredibly dangerous. If you or your loved one has been injured in a rollover, a Houston car accident attorney from the Daspit Law Firm is prepared to guide you through the personal injury claim process and toward the compensation you deserve.

To learn more about your case, request a free case evaluation by calling (713) 364-0915.

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