Rollover accidents aren’t just frightening, they’re deadly. The alarming statistics paint a troubling picture, however, they serve to inform of us some of the causes of rollover accidents and what might be done to prevent them.
What is a Rollover Accident?
When a car, SUV, truck, or other vehicle flips over, this is considered a rollover accident. This type of accident can happen to any type of vehicle, though larger vehicles like SUVs and pickup trucks are more susceptible. During a rollover accident, drivers and passengers who are not wearing a seatbelt can be ejected from the vehicle and suffer great harm. Most rollover accidents (85%) are single vehicle accidents, meaning only one vehicle is involved. Other times, a collision may lead to a rollover accident.
Thankfully, rollover accidents are less common than other types of vehicle accidents, however, they are responsible for about 30% of passenger vehicle fatalities.
How do Rollover Accidents Happen?
You’ve likely heard the common explanation of why a vehicle might rollover—a higher center of gravity. But what does that mean?
When a vehicle has a higher center of gravity, that indicates that its average location of weight is located in a position which is higher than the center of the vehicle. Vehicles that are thin and narrow, like SUVs, large passenger vans, and pickup trucks, have a higher center of gravity than vehicles which are lower to the ground (passenger cars) or that have a wide base (humvees). When they go around a turn, you can sometimes feel like your body is tilting. This is when the center of gravity shifts so that it is no longer evenly supported. A large enough shift would cause a vehicle to turn over. The types of shifts that can cause a rollover accident are discussed below.
Common Causes of Rollover Accidents
Go around a turn too quickly or hitting a curb or pothole at a fast speed can be enough to cause a rollover in a vehicle with a high center of gravity. The NHTSA reports that about 40% of fatal rollover crashes happened because of speeding.
About 50% of rollover crashes involve an intoxicated driver. Drinking and driving is never wise—and it can cost you your life. Not only does it increase the chance of a rollover accident, it increases the chance of a collision and endangers lives.
Driver distraction is the most common cause of any type of vehicle accident. Part of this is because it is such a broad category that includes any activity that draws the driver’s attention away from the road, from making a phone call to eating a burger to changing the radio station. When focus is diverted from the task at hand, drivers can miss important cues, like another drivers brake lights or a large pothole that needs to be avoided. In a rollover accident, swerving caused by driver distraction could cause a vehicle to become unbalanced and flip.
Sometimes, a driver partakes in an evasive maneuver to avoid another driver, a pedestrian, or an animal. A sharp turn can cause a vehicle to flip over, especially if they are already on uneven ground or if they hit an object that causes the vehicle to become unbalanced.
To avoid a rollover accident, follow posted speed limits and keep your eyes on the road. Be aware of any potholes and take sharp turns slowly.
Consulting with a Tampa Car Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a rollover accident, speaking with a trained Tampa rollover accident attorney should be your next step. The government mandates that vehicles undergo rollover testing and that they live up to particular safety rules. While some rollover accidents may be caused by poorly maintained roadways, driver negligence, others may be caused by poorly designed or poorly manufactured vehicles or vehicle components that do not meet governmental regulations.
The best way to ascertain who may be at fault for your accident is to discuss it with a skilled Tampa rollover accident attorney who has experience investigating car accidents. A consultation can help determine whether you have a valid claim.
Injuries sustained in a rollover accident can be severe. By seeking assistance from a reputable Tampa car accident attorney, you can seek compensation from the liable parties to help pay for your medical bills and other accident-related costs.
Don’t hesitate—reach out to a Tampa rollover accident attorney today and get the right team working on your claim.