A car accident is a traumatic event, but when a vehicle rolls over during the course of an accident, the injuries can be catastrophic. While rollovers only occur in a small percentage of crashes, they account for approximately 30 percent of all fatalities. SUVs, passenger vans, trucks, and commercial vehicles are more prone to rollovers because of their height and top-heavy designs, but smaller cars and other vehicles are not immune.
The good news is that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently reported a significant drop in rollover fatalities over the past decade. The fatality rate fell from 27 fatalities in the year 2000, to six in the year 2012. In fact, SUVs now have a lower driver fatality rate than automobiles. Electronic stability control features and side air bags have significantly improved the safety for drivers and passengers in SUVs.
However, even with enhanced safety features, it is still imperative that drivers heed manufacturer and safety expert advice to prevent the risk of a rollover accident. Commercial vehicles are restricted by mandated load weights, but passenger vehicles need to abide by these limits as well. Overloading an SUV, truck, or van affects the stability of the vehicle, especially when items are put onto the roof of a vehicle. Cargo should always be placed on the floor and in the center of the vehicle to distribute the weight evenly.
Tire maintenance is also important in preventing a rollover. Air pressure should be equal in all tires so that the vehicle is stable while in operation. Even when one tire is under inflated, the stability of the vehicle is compromised. Low treads, unbalanced tires, and even over inflated tires can lead to a serious accident. Car owners should check the condition of their tires and air pressure at least once per month to avoid an accident.
Many rollover accidents happen when drivers turn too fast or swerve to avoid an accident. Distracted drivers take their eyes off the road when they text, talk, adjust onboard entertainment or navigation systems, or eat. When this happens, they are often forced to change lanes or steer quickly to avoid a collision, which increases the risk of a serious or fatal rollover. Speeding also increases this risk. Traveling at the posted speed limits can significantly reduce the likelihood of you becoming involved in a car accident or rollover.
Moreover, there is no denying that seatbelts save lives, particularly in a rollover accident. Fifty percent of all fatal injuries that occur in rollover accidents result from drivers and passengers being ejected from the vehicle. Seventy-five percent of all people ejected from a vehicle during any type of car accident are fatally injured. All drivers and passengers need to buckle up at all times when traveling in a moving vehicle. The risks of losing your life in a car crash are significantly reduced when seat belts are worn.
Drivers that fail to follow rollover prevention tips endanger everyone on the road. A rollover accident can cause other vehicles to swerve, stop suddenly, or go off the road to avoid a collision. If you or someone you know is injured in a rollover accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP at 1-800-222-USWA (8792), or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.