Few accidents are more serious than a rollover. Here’s what you can do to minimize your risk of injuries in a rollover accident and what you can do to receive compensation if you’re injured.
HOW SUV ROLLOVER ACCIDENTS HAPPEN
While any type of vehicle can roll over, SUV rollovers are the most common because of their high center of gravity. Think of it like carrying a stack of boxes with different weights — when the heavier boxes are on the bottom, it’s easier to control them. While it’s possible to carry the heavier boxes on top, even the slightest direction in change and speed can send them tumbling.
The same thing happens in an auto accident. When a vehicle such as an SUV, truck or van is hit or suddenly sent onto an uneven surface, the fact that more of its weight is higher up makes it easier for it to roll over.
PREVENTING A ROOF CRUSH ACCIDENT
Rollover accidents are never solely due to vehicle design. If they were, high-center-of-gravity vehicles wouldn’t be allowed on the road. Common factors in rollover accidents include:
- Speeding: About 40 percent of rollover accidents involve a driver going over the speed limit.
- Speeds over 55 MPH: About 75 percent of rollover accidents happen above this speed.
- Alcohol: Nearly half of rollover accidents involve an impaired driver.
While you can’t control other drivers, you can make sure your own driving is safe and take defensive driving measures to avoid unsafe drivers. To reduce your risk of injuries if you can’t avoid a crash, always wear your seat belt and never disable your airbags.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO BRING AN SUV ACCIDENT CLAIM
If you’ve been injured in an SUV or car rollover, contact an auto accident lawyer as soon as possible. Ohio has a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims, meaning you must file your lawsuit within two years of the date of your accident.
You can potentially recover against two parties in a rollover accident. The first is the other driver if they were at fault because they violated traffic laws or failed to take other reasonable precautions. The second is your vehicle’s manufacturer if a poor design led to an increased risk of your vehicle rolling over or if your vehicle didn’t have adequate safety features to protect you in a rollover accident.
Safety Research on Rollover Stability
Over the years, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have been working to create a standard for vehicle stability when it comes to light trucks – anything ranging from pick-up trucks, minivans and SUVs. In 2003, 281,000 vehicles rolled over – 20 percent resulted in fatalities and 170,000 resulted in injuries.
After years of being unsuccessful in creating a vehicle standard for rollovers, it was determined to include a brightly-colored label affixed to the sun visor on the driver’s side stating: “Warning! Higher Rollover Risk;” “Avoid Abrupt Maneuvers and Excessive Speed;” “Always Buckle Up” and depicted a vehicle tipping and a belted occupant. In 2000, the NHTSA began the process of adding a rollover rating to new cars.
The five-star rating system would award one star to vehicles with a rollover risk of 40 percent or greater and would award five stars to vehicles with a rollover risk of less than 10 percent. Most recently, the NHTSA’s fatality statistics showed that 10,816 people died in rollover motor vehicle accidents in 2004 – about the same number as in 1999. But vehicles are becoming more stable. The latest crop of cross-over SUVs shows that this class of vehicle is becoming less like a truck and more like a passenger car. Read the whole article on Rollover/Stability from the Safety Research & Strategies, Inc.