Rollover accidents are a dangerous type of car accident that causes catastrophic injuries and death. What are common reasons that vehicles roll over in a crash?

Common Causes of Passenger Vehicle Rollover Crashes

While any type of car accident is serious, a rollover wreck can be more violent and a major cause of fatalities. These accidents occur when a vehicle—often a sports utility vehicle (SUV), truck, pick-up truck, mini-van, or van—flips onto its side or top.  According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), rollovers accounted for 32 percent of all fatalities in car accidents in 2015—with 3,424 victims being killed. If you or a family member was the victim of one of these tragic wrecks, you need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to obtain the compensation you deserve.

Main Reasons Rollover Vehicle Wrecks Occur

Vehicles like SUVs, trucks, and other larger vehicles are more likely to be involved in a rollover crash because they are top-heavy and their center of gravity is higher. This makes them less stable than smaller vehicles. These accidents occur when the driver has to suddenly jerk the wheel or hits something like a curb, median, or guardrail—often at a high speed. While many of these accidents are single-vehicle crashes, multi-car crashes also result in rollovers, especially when vehicles are hit from the side. Common causes of these accidents include:

  • Weather. Rain and ice can make roads slippery, and fog can significantly reduce visibility. These conditions can cause a driver who is not driving for weather conditions to smash into another one that sets off a chain multi-car crash with numerous vehicles being hit and some rolling over.
  • Speed. The danger of rollover accidents and deadly multi-vehicle crashes is greatest when drivers are going faster than 55 miles per hour—especially at excessive speeds on the highways.
  • Distracted driving. Drivers engaged in distracted driving, like texting, talking on a cellphone, or eating or drinking, take their eyes, hands, and minds off their driving. In a split second, they could cause an action that leads to a rollover crash—either their own or another driver’s.
  • Drowsy driving. When a driver is drowsy, he can easily veer into another lane and the side of another vehicle, causing it to roll over or crash into another vehicle, or not realize the vehicle in front of him has slowed down or stopped, starting a domino effect and rollovers.
  • Alcohol. Many rollovers are caused by the negligent driver being under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol consumption causes a driver’s alertness and reaction times to be significantly diminished and can cause him to not even realize he is driving the wrong way on a ramp to the highway or on a one-way street—resulting in victims suffering catastrophic injuries or death.
  • Rural roads. Rollover accidents frequently happen on rural roads where the speed limit is at least 55 miles per hour and there are no barriers or medians.
  • Swerving. When a car’s center of gravity becomes imbalanced, it can tip. Swerving or traveling too fast around a curve can easily pitch the center of gravity to one side. This shift will increase a driver’s chance for a rollover.

Why Rollover Car Accidents Can Be So Serious

While rollover accidents are not the most common crashes, they can be the most deadly. In a straightforward collision, a vehicle and its passenger generally endure the force of one or two impacts. However, in a rollover, a vehicle is slammed into the ground several times as it rolls over as well as being hit by another car. Other reasons that rollover accidents can be more dangerous include:

  • Internal engine and fuel parts could be damaged, which can increase the danger of a car fire.
  • If the vehicle rolls over into other lanes of traffic and collides with other vehicles, it can cause a multi-vehicle crash.
  • Victims can be partially or totally ejected from their vehicle in a rollover if their seat belt unlatches, the door latch fails, the window or windshield glass is smashed, or the driver is speeding.
  • A rollover can result in the roof of the vehicle collapsing and crushing the trapped victims inside.

When victims are not killed in these accidents, they can suffer life-altering injuries like traumatic brain injury, spinal injuries, serious fractures, amputation, or internal bleeding.

Were you or a family member hurt in a rollover accident? These cases can be complicated, especially if the rollover accident resulted in an ejection, multi-vehicle crash, or roof collapse. An experienced car accident attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

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