Many safety measures have been implemented to reduce vans, pickups, and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) from rollover accidents. However, accidents still happen because of these vehicles’ tall, narrow build. Rollover accidents make up a small percentage compared to other road accidents. Getting legal representation in the event of such an accident is an essential step in getting the compensation you deserve.
SUVs are top-heavy, and the center of gravity is also higher. This reduces their stability and balance. Rollovers happen when a vehicle tips on its roof or side after an accident. This can cause an impact on other cars or stationary objects. The vehicle occupants may be ejected from the SUV.
The Risk Factor of SUVs Rollovers Based on Statistics
SUVs are popular in the U.S. because many believe they are rugged, sturdy, and safe. However, these vehicles can be dangerous. In some cases, the dealers fail to provide the correct information for safety.
While all vehicles have the potential to rollover depending on the circumstances, narrower and taller vehicles such as SUVs have a higher instability and are more like to rollover. These types of accidents are dangerous and account for around 3 percent of vehicle accidents considered to be serious.
In this type of accident, the occupants of the SUV can be thrown violently inside the vehicle, which means more chances of sustaining severe neck and head injuries. If a person gets ejected, the impact can be fatal.
The potential danger of SUV rollover accidents is exemplified by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) statistics. In the U.S., over 280,000 rollover accidents happen yearly, with more than 58,000 people sustaining injuries in rollover accidents involving SUVs.
A rollover accident involving an SUV increases the chances of severe injuries by over 36 percent, with 90 percent being single-car accidents. More than 45,000 fatalities are reported yearly, with 63 percent of the fatalities happening due to SUV ejection.
Types of SUV Rollover Accidents
Various types of SUV rollovers happen in Houston, Texas. These include:
- Ramp Rollover: If an SUV drives on a high object or ramp on one side, it can roll over.
- Lateral force rollover: This involves situations where the SUV is at high speed and takes a curve. The high center of gravity causes the vehicle to roll over.
- Site-slope rollover: This happens when the SUV driver unintentionally goes off the road or leaves a paved roadway. Getting on uneven surfaces may lead to a rollover.
- Sideways skid rollover: This happens when the SUV loses traction on its rear wheels. This may cause the tires to hit objects leading to a rollover.
Common Reasons for an SUV Rollover
SUV rollovers can happen due to various reasons. These include:
When an SUV is speeding, it can tip and lose balance. This is usually when a vehicle moves too fast around highway exits or curves. Speeding in rainy weather can also lead to rollovers. Slick pavement increases the chances of SUVs tipping.
Drinking and Driving
Using alcohol impairs your reflexes, reaction time, and judgment. When driving under the influence, a driver can cause an accident because of judgment issues. There is also a likelihood that such a driver may find themselves on uneven pavement. One-third of the traffic fatalities in the U.S. are caused by alcohol impairment.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 800 annual deaths and 50,000 injuries caused by drowsy driving. This mostly happens when a driver has been on the road too long or is fatigued.
A driver’s behavior can lead to a rollover, especially if there is a sudden direction change. Such changes cause an imbalance in the SUV’s center of gravity when the driver turns quickly, attempting to correct a course. Driving on pavement or the road shoulder increases the risk even when the driver is sober.
Worn tires don’t have a proper grip like new tires do. Insufficient grip causes rollovers, and it’s made worse by speeding. Chronically underinflated and overinflated tires make your tires wear out faster. Check your SUV tires regularly to ensure they are inflated correctly and in the best condition. This can prevent rollovers.
Rollovers result from unbalance in vehicles and a center of gravity shift. When an SUV is overloaded, this effect can happen. Placing heavy luggage or biking gear on top of the SUV causes instability, and the vehicle may be unable to remain upright. Find out how much weight the SUV can comfortably carry and ensure you stick to it.
Most rollovers are as a result of tipping. This happens when the vehicle hits debris, slopes, potholes, or curbside. The imbalance causes the SUV to tip.
Over 75 percent of all rollovers happen on rural roads. This is because there are no barriers, which makes drivers go off the pavement, causing the car to become unbalanced.
Reducing SUV Rollover Risks
The alarming statistics can deter your SUV experience or keep you from buying one. However, this should not be the case. While this type of accident can’t be entirely avoided, the chances of happening can be reduced when the proper precautions are taken:
- Drive carefully and don’t over speed.
- Don’t overload the SUV.
- Avoid sharp or sudden steering changes.
- Maintain the SUV regularly.
- Stay alert for any visual limitations.
- Wear a safety belt and ensure everyone in the SUV is secured.
There is no way to control what other road users do. However, you can practice defensive driving and stay away from hazards on the road to avoid rolling over.
Proving Fault in SUV Rollover Cases
If you want compensation, you need to prove that the other driver was liable for the incident. In Texas, the courts have to examine and then assign blame based on the responsibility of everyone involved.
Working with the right attorney means they will thoroughly investigate the incident. Police reports regarding the case hold much significance. Opinions given by third parties can help build a case determining who was at fault.
The opinion of an officer cannot settle some cases. You may need different forms of evidence:
- Witness statements
- Accident reconstruction
- Video footage from traffic cameras and dashcams
If anyone was injured in a rollover accident, they need to prove fault. Getting suitable legal representation can have a significant impact on the case.
What to Do After SUV Rollover Accidents
If you happen to be involved in a rollover accident, stay calm and turn off the engine. You need to contact the police or relevant authorities for further help. If you can remove your seatbelt, do so and exit the vehicle. Try to find a safe exit, like a window without metal or glass debris. Move away from the vehicle and move away from traffic.
You must file a report with the police and start working with insurance. You need to contact a lawyer to assist you with the legal procedures. If injuries or losses were sustained after the rollover accident, an attorney can help you get the proper compensation.