Rollover accidents account for only about 2 percent of crashes in the United States. Yet about 35 percent of passenger vehicle deaths occur during rollover crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 10,000 people die in rollover accidents each year in the United States.
Types of Rollover Accidents
A rollover accident is when a vehicle tips onto its side or roof. A vehicle riding forward at a certain speed acquires inertia that can only be gradually changed by braking or turning. If you turn brutally, the vehicle starts skidding on the road surface, continuing its forward movement even though it is no longer facing in the direction of travel. Because the tires maintain their grip on the road, the car’s momentum tips the car over. The amount of inertia will determine whether the car skids along its side or turns over more times.
There are two types of rollover accidents. The more common type is called a tripped rollover. A tripped rollover occurs when a motor vehicle slides sideways off the roadway. When the tires reach soft soil or an object, the force on the tires causes the vehicle to flip over. The less common untripped rollovers occur when there is no object that serves a tipping mechanism. Top-heavy vehicles that are speeding are at greater risk for untripped rollovers.
Causes of Rollover Crashes
It is important to learn about the cause of rollover crashes for two reasons. First, the cause of your specific crash will be important in determining who was responsible for your accident and, thus, who is responsible for paying for your recovery. Second, if we understand the reasons for rollover crashes we may be able to prevent these types of crashes from occurring in the future.
For these reasons, it is important to know that many rollover crashes are caused by:
- Speeding. Driving too fast is a common cause of rollover crashes. It is important to drive no faster than the posted speed limit and to slow down if the road or weather conditions warrant it.
- Overcorrection by tired drivers, drunk drivers, and distracted or otherwise negligent drivers. A tired, drunk, or distracted driver may suddenly move the steering wheel in an attempt to overcorrect for accidently changing lanes, to avoid an object in the road, or to avoid another vehicle. Overcorrection can lead to a rollover crash.
- Tire problems. Bald tires, flat tires, and driving on the incorrect tires for your vehicle or for the weather can result in rollover wrecks.
Speed is believed to be a factor in about 40 percent of rollover crashes and alcohol use is believed to be a factor in about 50 percent of all rollover crashes. Additionally, about 75 percent of rollovers occur on rural roads where the speed limit is 55 mph or higher.
A full investigation will need to be done to determine what caused your specific accident.
Injuries Caused by Rollover Crashes
Every accident results in unique injuries; however, some of the common injuries that result from rollover accidents include:
- Broken bones.
- Internal injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
The NHTSA estimates that as many as 75 percent of the fatalities reported in rollover accidents could be prevented if seatbelts are worn. You can also help prevent your own injury by making sure that everything in the car is secure and by protecting your face and head to the extent possible. Of course, some injuries cannot be prevented, and in those cases it is important to protect your legal recovery.
Protecting Your Recovery After a Rollover Accident
The majority of rollover accidents are single car crashes. However, if you are a driver or passenger who has been hurt, or the survivor of someone who was killed, in a rollover crash then you are going to need to know how to protect your recovery, who was at fault for the accident, and what kind of damages you should recover. Then, you can begin negotiating with the insurance company, preparing your legal case, and protecting your future.
To learn more about how to do this, please read a FREE copy of our book, The Ultimate Guide for Automobile Accident Victims, and please start a live chat with us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced rollover accident attorney.