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What causes rollover accidents?

Victor Lewin - Wednesday, June 10, 2015

According to America's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, occupants of minivans, SUVs and trucks are at greatest risk of fatal rollover accidents. More than 10,000 of our neighbors to the south die each year in over 280,000 rollover collisions.

During one calendar year, nearly 36 percent of the deaths in SUV accidents involved rollovers. In the same year, less than 16 percent of crashes involving passenger cars were rollovers. The top heavy and taller SUVs are predisposed to tipping and rolling, and the heavy cargoes some carry increase the risk.

There is a correlation between rollovers and the stability of an automobile while turning. The center of gravity is higher in SUVs and the distance between the right and left wheels are narrower. When a vehicle makes a quick turn, it is destabilized and much more likely to tip and roll in a skid.

Sharing the risk with SUVs, are 4-wheel-drive pickups. The higher clearance off the ground that enables them to drive off-road makes them more vulnerable to rolling over. Some SUVs are not fitted with control systems for roll stability to decrease fatal rollovers.

The typical fatal 4-wheel-drive rollover accident is a one-vehicle crash that happens on a weekend night with a male driver younger than 25. Alcohol use frequently is involved, and in 75 percent of the fatal rollover wrecks, the victim was ejected because he didn't wear a safety belt.

Even when there are no fatalities involved, life-threatening injuries can result from these type of collisions. Those who survive may be faced with permanent disabling injuries that prevent them from working and resuming an active lifestyle.

It may be necessary to pursue legal action against an at-fault driver in order to receive compensation for injuries suffered in a rollover crash.

Source: howstuffworks.com, "Rollover Accidents Explained," accessed June 05, 2015

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