According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rollover car accidents accounted for only one percent of all crashes in the U.S. in 2017. However, they were also responsible for nearly one-third of all traffic accident deaths. All drivers should understand why these accidents are so dangerous and cause such serious injuries.
Understanding Rollover Crashes
By the NHTSA definition, a rollover occurs when a vehicle tips over onto its side or roof at any point during a crash. There are two types of rollovers:
- Tripped. In a tripped rollover, a vehicle comes in contact with an object or road condition (such as soft soil off the road or a guard rail), which causes the car to roll over.
- Untripped. Untripped rollovers are less common, and they occur when uneven weight distribution causes a vehicle to tip during a turn or other maneuver. This happens more frequently with top-heavy vehicles.
The Unique Dangers of Rollover Crashes
Rollover crashes present risks that are different from other types of crashes. It’s more likely that a driver or passenger will be ejected from the vehicle during a rollover as compared to other accidents. In addition, most car safety structures are designed for side and front impact. The roof of the car is typically not as strong and lacks these features. This can leave passengers at risk for serious head and neck injuries when the roof sustains an impact.
Common Causes of Rollover Crashes
Like many other types of crashes, rollover accidents occur most often because of driver error or negligence. The most common causes of a rollover include:
- Speeding. Approximately 40 percent of rollovers involved excessive speed, and nearly three-fourths of the accidents took place in locations where the posted speed limit was 55 mph or higher.
- Overcorrection. A driver may panic and make a sudden, major adjustment when only a minor steering change is necessary. Coupled with speed and road conditions, this can lead to a rollover.
- Driver distraction. Whether the driver is impaired or simply distracted, not paying attention is dangerous on the road. Alcohol is a factor in nearly half of all fatal rollover crashes.
- Worn tires. When tires are worn, improperly inflated, or not correctly suited to the vehicle, it can increase the risk of a rollover crash.
Our Experienced Alabama Attorneys Can Help
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a rollover crash, you may have the right to recover damages from the at-fault driver or another responsible party. Even if you aren’t sure if you have a claim, an experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and find the best way forward.
At Latoff & Latoff, our lawyers are here to help Alabama car accident victims. Call our Mobile office today, or fill out the contact form on this page. You’ll talk with a member of our team who can set up a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your case.