Rollover crashes are caused when there is an extreme shift in the weight of a vehicle that causes it to tip over onto its side or roof. In some cases, a vehicle could complete several rotations before coming to a stop.
Often these are some of the worst accidents that can occur. Due to the amount of force applied to the occupants in the vehicle a rollover crashes are usually fatal. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, nearly 85% of all rollover-related fatalities are the result of single-vehicle crashes.
This means that most rollover crashes and fatalities do not involve any other vehicle. Suggesting that a driver’s behavior (distraction, inattentiveness, speeding, and impaired driving) plays a significant role in rollover crashes.
Statics of a rollover crash
The fatality rate in a rollover crash is higher than other automobile accidents. Luckily this type of crash is rare. For instance, NHSA (National Highway Safety Administration) states:
- Of the nearly 9.1 million passenger car, SUV, pickup, and van crashes in 2010, only 1% involved a rollover.
- However, these rollover crashes accounted for nearly 35%of all deaths from passenger vehicles.
- In 2010 alone, more than 7,600 people died in rollover crashes and the majority of them (69%) were not wearing safety belts.
Avoiding a rollover crash
The news is not all bad. When seen in terms of rollover-fatalities per million registered vehicles, all vehicle types have improved, and SUVs have improved the most. Common sense and routine maintenance can greatly increase your odds of avoiding a rollover and walking away from one if it happens. Here are some survival tips:
- Newer is better. Choose a vehicle with the most up-to-date safety systems. Especially important are electronic stability control and side-curtain airbags.
- Wear safety belts. Belts help keep you in the seat, so you are not tossed around in a rollover crash.
- Check the tires. At least once a month check all the tires are properly inflated to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer and that they are in good shape.
- Watch the load. Overloading any vehicle, particularly SUVs and pickups, decreases its stability. The worst practice is to place heavy loads on the roof. Try to stay well within the load ratings specified by the manufacturer.
- Watch your speed. Speed makes a vehicle’s tendencies to roll over more severe, and it also makes more demands on a driver’s attention and skill.
- Beware on country roads. Almost three-quarters of fatal rollovers occur in rural areas on roads where the speed limit is 55 mph or more.
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