Rollover Accidents – Car Accident Attorneys – Personal Injury Lawyers
Movie special effects may include dramatic car chase sequences that feature spectacular rollover accidents. Of course, the occupants of the vehicles that flip and roll in the movies usually emerge unharmed, at most limping a little. This unrealistic depiction of a rollover accident ignores the fact that, in a real accident of this kind, people are helplessly thrown around by terrific forces and can be very badly hurt.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that about 280,000 rollover crashes happen in the United States every year. This accident type results in about 10,000 fatalities annually.
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How A Rollover Accident Happens
Some simple principles of physics explain why a motor vehicle rolls over when taking a fast turn or swerving suddenly. A moving object tends to keep going in a straight line. The driver may steer a vehicle’s front wheels into a turn, and the drive wheels may exert force to take the vehicle onto a new path, but it is hard to overcome the momentum that tends to carry the vehicle straight ahead.
The faster a car is moving, the stronger the force that must be overcome to make a turn. And, if a vehicle is tall and has a high center of gravity, like a sport utility vehicle or a high-clearance pickup truck, it is more likely to lose stability on a turn. The vehicle starts to skid sideways and tip over, and if the force is strong enough, it will roll.
Statistics from the NHSTA show that SUVs were much more likely than passenger cars to have fatal rollover crashes. In one year, only about 16 percent of fatal passenger car accidents were rollovers, but rollovers occurred in well over a third of fatal SUV accidents.
Safety advocates and consumer organizations have recommended manufacturing changes to make vehicles less likely to roll over when making sudden maneuvers. Since 2012, electronic stability control has been a required feature.
Electronic stability control is a complex system that keeps track of a moving vehicle’s tendency to lean, the wheel traction and the driver’s use of the steering wheel. When the proportion of these factors is likely to cause the vehicle to flip, the system applies brakes and lowers speed, enhancing stability.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has stated that electronic stability control could reduce rollover incidents by 70 percent or more. That would make a significant impact on the injury and fatality rate in car accidents around the country.
Many vehicles in the area are pre-2012 models that do not have this technology to help drivers avoid rollovers. However, drivers can take responsibility for protecting themselves and others. The strategies for preventing rollovers amounts to actions that can help reduce other kinds of accidents, too, such as rear-end crashes.
Perhaps most importantly, motorists should avoid excessive speed, especially on curves and while making turns. They can also stay alert for any road conditions or actions by other drivers that could require them to change direction quickly.
Anticipating and planning how to react, drivers should allow more space around their vehicles. Drivers will have more time to switch lanes or turn and are less likely to lose control of the vehicle. With care, they can often prevent a rollover. Should you have any more questions for our car accident lawyers click here