Houston Vehicle Rollover Accidents

Vehicle Rollovers – The Most Fatal Type of Accident

Vehicle rollovers are some of the most dangerous incidents to occur on the road. Particularly destructive, this type of accident causes extensive damage to vehicles and has a higher likelihood of causing fatalities. In 2010, rollovers caused over 7,600 deaths. Rollovers aren’t usually caused by run-ins with another driver; over 90% of rollovers involve only a single vehicle. This gives researchers some insight as to how the behavior of the driver can be one of the main factors contributing to a rollover accident.

SUVs Have the Highest Rollover Rate of All Vehicles

SUVs are notorious for having higher occurrences of rollovers. Rollovers in SUV’s are mainly due to their high center of gravity and narrow body. Injuries from these accidents are usually due to the instability of their roofs, which lack roll bars and other safety precautions. Rollovers in SUVs are also the most fatal, with SUVs listed in more than 50% of rollover fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration voluntarily recalls many SUV models each year because of their failure to meet roof safety standards.

Because the roofs are so unstable, a rollover accident is 36% more likely to cause serious injury than any other kind of accident. Rollovers may cause lifelong injuries, including brain injuries, paralysis, and severe back injuries. Unfortunately, there are still no set regulations to improve rollover stability. Manufacturers would have to spend millions and completely restructure SUV frames to lower their centers of gravity.

What Causes a Rollover Accident?

Though most common with SUVs, rollover accidents can happen with any type of vehicle. Rollovers are most commonly attributed to the interaction between the driver, the road, and the environment. The contributing factors that can result in a rollover are as follows:

  • 40% of rollover crashes are due to excessive speeding. At higher speeds, overcorrection is much more likely – all it takes is a quick jerk of the wheel to propel the vehicle out of control.
  • Rollovers tend to happen most frequently on rural roads that do not have barriers in the center. Poor road condition and low lighting, which are common with rural roads, only contribute to the danger.
  • Routine Driving. Data reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicated that over 90% of the vehicles involved in rollovers were maneuvering a curve or simply driving straight, suggesting these accidents are often the result of driver error.
  • Hitting a “Trip.” A trip is anything that a driver could hit and cause a rollover. Hitting a guardrail or ditch can send a car spiraling out of control and often through the air. Sometimes a driver will hit something, run off the road, and hit a trip that causes a rollover.
  • Overloading a Vehicle. Any vehicle that is overloaded will have lower stability and a disproportionate center of gravity. Loads placed on the roof are particularly dangerous.
  • Slippery roads can result in overcorrection when drivers hit a patch of ice or water. Improperly maintained tires that are not inflated correctly add to the likelihood of skidding or hydroplaning.

What Should I Do if I’ve Been in a Rollover?

Often, vehicle rollover accidents will not be covered by minimum requirements on auto insurance. Coverage is only offered if the policyholder purchased collision insurance. If you’ve been in a rollover accident and have sustained injury, there is help for you. Attorneys specializing in rollovers can find ways to get you help with medical care. A rollover attorney will be able to determine if your accident was due to neglected SUV safety standards. Additionally, they understand the impacts that environmental factors and driving patterns can have on crash statistics.