Though movie enthusiasts may associate rollover accidents with an exciting sequence in an action film, these types of auto accidents are more common than some may think and are the deadliest risk for occupants of SUVs (sport utility vehicles), trucks, or minivans. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 280,000 rollover accidents occur each year, resulting in more than 10,000 fatalities. SUVs unfortunately have the highest risk for rollovers as they often carry heavy loads, which may make them more top heavy, increasing the likelihood of the vehicle rolling over in an accident.
As explained by Howstuffworks.com, rollover accidents are directly related to a vehicle’s stability in turns, and this stability is influenced by the relationship between the center of gravity and the distance between the left and right wheels, also known as the track width. A high center of gravity and a narrow track may cause a vehicle to be unstable when there is a turn or sharp change in direction, all of which can increase the odds the vehicle will tip over once it begins to skid sideways. This particular problem is more pronounced in SUVS and pickup trucks with 4-wheel-drive because both have a higher ground clearance for off-road driving.
Presently, cars and trucks are not subject to federal rollover standards despite pressure to do so. However, the NHTSA introduced a rollover rating system in 2001 to help predict which vehicles may have the greatest risk of a rollover. In the rating system, one star indicates a greater than 40 percent risk of a rollover, while five stars is less than a 10 percent risk. The ratings are based on an engineering analysis of each examined vehicle’s center of gravity and the width between the front tires.
A few vehicle models that received a low rollover crash test ratings, with up to a 30 percent risk of a rollover accident, include: Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, and a Dodge Dakota. Two cars with less than a 10 percent risk are the Subaru Impreza and the Acura TL.
The main cause of rollover accidents may boil down to science, but a defective car design can absolutely be a factor in a rollover crash as well. If you have been injured in a rollover accident that was caused by a vehicle defect, you may be entitled to compensation. The skilled vehicle rollover accident lawyer Steven H. Heisler, “The Injury Lawyer,” is committed to holding any at-fault parties responsible for a rollover crash liable so that you receive the compensation you need to recover. Call (877) 228-4878 for a no-cost consultation.