What Happens in Rollover Accidents?
Tragically, NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) figures rollover accidents have a higher fatality rate than any other types of crashes.
Quite simply, a rollover accident is one that involves a vehicle being tipped onto its side or rolled onto its roof.
Here at the Law Offices of Prosper Shaked, we have been involved in numerous cases involving rollover accidents – so we’re well placed to explain why these accidents occur, what can happen to the people involved, and what legal options you have if you or a loved one has been involved in a rollover accident.
Why do passenger vehicles rollover?
As with most vehicle crashes, there’s no single reason that rollovers occur. Instead, there are a series of contributing factors that can lead to this kind of car crash.
These factors include:
Around 40% of fatal vehicle rollovers involved excess speed. Even in cases where the speed limit is not being exceeded, around 75% of rollovers involve vehicles that are moving at 55mpg (88kph). When it comes to an accident case evaluation, speed is almost always at the top of the list of questions.
Some vehicles types have a higher ‘rollover tendency’ or ‘rollover risk’ – which simply means they’re more likely to rollover. This is usually due to a higher center of gravity – i.e. the lower and wider the car, the less likely it is to roll. Taller, narrower vehicles like a lorry, pickup, or SUV are more likely to tip or roll if involved in a single-vehicle crash.
Almost half of all fatalities in rollover accidents involve alcohol. Although a DUI charge requires a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) percentage of 0.08% (or 0.04% in a commercial vehicle) here in Florida, any BAC above 0.00% could be considered to have an impact on your judgement, vision and vehicle control.
Road conditions and locations
There are countless weather and road conditions the can contribute to a driver losing control of their vehicle – but beyond losing control, rural roads tend to be the scene of most rollover crashes. This is often because they do not have dividers or barriers – so cars are more likely to leave the road.
You could be forgiven for thinking that most passenger cars or passenger vans involved in rollover incidents are performing complex maneuvers or involved in multi-vehicle accidents – however, this is not the case.
85% of all rollovers only involve one vehicle – and around 90% of all rollover crashes happen when that vehicle is involved in ‘routine driving’ (i.e. going straight or driving around a curve). This indicates that driver error or distractions are often to blame.
What happens in a single-vehicle rollover accident?
There are thousands of situations that could result in a car rolling over – but the majority of rollover incidents involve the vehicle ‘tripping’.
Tripping usually occurs when a car is sliding sideways out of control. Usually, something stops the car sliding – often a raised curb or tires digging into the ground. When suddenly stopped, the quick movement and significant weight mean the vehicle tips sideways.
A vehicle is more likely to tip or trip if it’s on a slope too – and a slope of more than 33% (1:3) will almost always result in a vehicle turning over.
Fatality rate: Rollover crashes often result in occupant deaths
Despite national statistics showing that only 2.1% of accidents involve a rollover, a shocking 35% of all passenger car deaths come from rollovers.
Sadly, many of these deaths come because the occupant or occupants were ejected from the vehicle – meaning it is extremely unlikely that they were wearing safety belts.
Have you or a loved one been involved in a rollover auto accident?
Here at the Law Offices of Prosper Shaked, we approach every car accident case with a completely open mind. Whether we’re dealing with rollover deaths, life-changing injuries, or psychological trauma – we’ll make sure every possibility and eventuality is explored to make sure you or your family member receive the damages you deserve.
Getting in touch with a car accident attorney at a personal injury law firm doesn’t just mean justice for you – it could also mean you help to prevent future accidents and save the lives of other drivers and passenger car occupants.