Seven Things You Can Do to Avoid a Deadly Rollover Accident
A rollover crash - where a vehicle rolls onto its side or roof - often leads to serious injury. Many times such accidents result in ejection of passengers, which frequently results in death. According to findings of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rollovers occur in less than three percent of vehicle crashes. Yet, in 2010 alone, more than 7,500 drivers and passengers died in rollover crashes.1
There are several things you as a driver can do to reduce the chance of being involved in a deadly rollover accident.
1. Choose a vehicle with a low center of gravity and stable base. Today's popular SUVs, minivans and pick-up trucks are primed for a rollover. They have a high center of gravity and narrow base, making many extremely unstable and susceptible to rolling. A car that is lower to the ground is more stable.
2. Buckle your seat belt and make sure all passengers do the same. Over 65 percent of vehicle occupants killed in rollover crashes in 2010 were not wearing seatbelts.2 Unbelted, passengers are tossed around like marbles in a jar when a vehicle begins rolling. Head injuries are especially common with unbelted passengers who can be thrown as projectiles from the vehicle.
3. Slow down for turns. Going to fast to safely complete the maneuver attempted is a primary cause of rollovers. Too often, when a vehicle is going too fast for the turn, it will start swerving sideways. Frequently, this leads to "tripping" when a vehicle runs up against a curb, guardrail or other obstacle that initiates the roll. Slow down and arrive at your destination safely.
4. Respect road conditions. When roads are wet, icy or snowy, they are often slick. This can be deadly, particularly for high profile, unstable vehicles that are already at risk for rollovers. Slow down and drive with caution to avoid an accident.
5. Keep tires in balance.When the air pressure in your tires is out of balance it can make your vehicle unstable and more susceptible to rolling over. Check the air in your tires regularly. Also, have your vehicle professionally balanced when they are rotated. A well-balanced vehicle is a safer vehicle.
6. Do not drink and drive. Intoxication makes even the most cautious driver more erratic. Swerving between lanes and making sharp, unplanned turns can lead to a deadly rollover accident. Ask a friend for a ride home or, better yet, travel with a sober designated driver to assure your safe arrival at your destination.
7. Give other cars a wide berth. Don't tailgate and be sure to give yourself enough room to react and adjust if the drivers near you make erratic moves. It's called driving defensively and it saves lives.
The motor vehicle industry is working to make vehicles as safe as possible. They've added such systems as the Electronic Stability Control system made up of brakes, sensors, engine control modules and microcomputers to monitor car performance and apply brakes and reduce speed when a car leaves the road. They've made roofs stronger to better stand up to the stress of a rollover. But, despite the best efforts of manufacturers and government regulators, in the end it comes down to good car maintenance and excellent driving habits.
Follow the seven tips outlined above and changes are you will avoid involvement in a deadly rollover crash and hopefully all crashes.
If you are involved in a rollover crash or other auto accident, contact the lawyers at Bachus & Schanker, LLC for advice and, if needed, legal representation.
1.http://www.lihs.org/research/qanda.rollover.aspx. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2010. Traffic Safety Facts, 2009. Report no. DOT HS-811-402. Washington, D.C.: US Department of Transportation.
2. http://www.lihs.org/research/qanda.rollover.aspx. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Viano, D.C. and Parenteau, C.S. 2004. Rollover crash sensing and safety overview. SAE Technical Paper Series 2004-01-0342. Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers.