Even though rollovers, or vehicle flips, account for only 3 percent of all severe car crashes, they account for approximately 30 percent of those killed while traveling in a passenger vehicle. Second to only head-on collisions, vehicle rollovers are the most deadly vehicular accidents on American streets. Those who survive these accidents are commonly left with lifelong injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and lost limbs. This daunting statistic makes vehicle rollovers and flips one of the most dangerous circumstances that could occur while you are on the road. Continue to learn about vehicle rollovers and the types of vehicles that are most likely to flip.
What is a Rollover Accident?
A rollover accident is a complex type of vehicle crash that occurs when the vehicle experiences a loss of control. The car then tips over onto its side or roof during the crash. This often happens when a vehicle’s gravity abruptly shifts from one side to the other, which creates a pendulum effect. Vehicle rollovers and flips may lead to passenger ejections, side panel crushing, and roof collapses. The damage that flips create is notably violent and has a higher fatality rate than most other kinds of vehicular accidents.
What Causes Vehicles to Flip?
A myriad of reasons may cause a car to flip or rollover, anything from hazardous weather conditions to flawed vehicle design. Here are a few reasons why a vehicle flip may have taken place:
- Speed. Speed accounts for approximately 40 percent of deadly rollovers. Furthermore, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 75 percent of fatal rollovers occurred in areas where the posted speed limit was 55 miles per hour or higher.
- Overloaded Vehicles. Vehicles, especially SUVs and pickups, have less stability, if it is overloaded. Placing heavy loads on your vehicle’s roof can be a dangerous practice. Instead, opt to store your heaviest cargo low on the floor and close to your vehicle’s center. If you must place cargo on your vehicle’s roof, it is best to stay within the manufacturer’s load ratings.
- Wear Your Seatbelt. Approximately 50 percent of fatal rollovers take place when people are ejected from the vehicle and about 75 percent of people ejected from a vehicle do not survive. Wearing a seatbelt can prevent you from being tossed around during a vehicle flip.
Types of Vehicles Likely To Rollover
Generally, SUVs have the highest rollover involvement rate of any vehicle type in fatal crashes. 36 percent of fatal rollover crashes occurred in an SUV. Coming in second, 24 percent of deadly rollover accidents involved a pickup. 19 percent of fatal rollover crashes were attributed to vans, with the remaining 15 percent taking place in a traffic car. Additionally, SUVs had the highest rollover rate for vehicles in injury crashes, in comparison to any other type of passenger vehicle, at 12 percent. On the other hand, 7 percent of injury crashes involved a pickup, 4 percent included vans, and only 3 percent for passenger cars.
SUVs have a higher tendency of flipping because they are typically taller than other types of passenger vehicles. Moreover, SUVs with long off-road suspensions have an even higher center of mass. Pickups are likely to be involved in deadly rollover and flip accidents because they are often driven on rural roads. Studies have shown that those driving down rural roads often do not wear seat belts as often, which leads to more severe injuries. Overall, SUV rollover accidents are common due to their higher center of gravity and the region they are generally driven in.