Being involved in a rollover accident can be one of the most terrifying experiences that anyone can have. When a vehicle begins to roll, there is nothing to be done and no way to control the situation.
Such a terrifying rollover crash took place recently in central Florida last week when the driver of a sedan lost control of his vehicle. He first struck a mailbox, followed by some ATVs that were parked just outside of a scooter dealership. The entire incident was caught on surveillance cameras. The vehicle rolled over several times before coming to rest on its roof.
Thankfully, eyewitnesses to the event turned into quick-thinking Good Samaritans and set about rescuing the driver from the mangled sedan. It was a good thing too. The vehicle started to smoke after the crash. Bystanders worked together and used fire extinguishers to put out the fire and flipped the vehicle so that the injured driver could be pulled out of the vehicle.
Emergency crews arrived on the scene and transported the male driver to an area hospital with head trauma. His injuries are believed to be non-life-threatening.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), three out of every four rollover ends in fatality. Every year there are 280,000 rollover accidents with 10,000 people being killed in rollover accidents in the United States. Rollover accidents also cause serious injuries 36% more than accidents where no rollover was involved.
There is a misconception that only SUVs, big rigs, or other “higher profile” vehicles or vehicles that have a higher center of gravity can suffer from a rollover crash. It’s certainly true that vehicles with a higher center of gravity are more likely than other types of vehicles to roll over, but the truth is that any vehicle has the potential to roll over.
Currently, there are no safety requirements set by the federal government for auto manufacturers to follow regarding rollover risk. In 2001, the NTSB introduced a rollover rating system designed to help consumers and others predict the likelihood of a rollover accident in specific vehicles. The ratings are based on a five-star system that takes into consideration the engineering and analysis of a vehicle’s center of gravity and the width between the front tires. The information is then compared to the accident reports filed by US police departments and state highway patrols. Five stars, for example, means that a vehicle has a 10% chance of rolling over while a vehicle rated with one star indicates a chance of rollover at 40% or higher.
If you want to reduce your chances of a rollover accident, here are some tips:
Know Your Vehicle – If possible, check the NTSB rollover rating of your vehicle. If that information is not available, understand how your vehicle responds to the road in terms of handling. Are your brakes stiff or soft? How about the clutch? Be aware of the rates of acceleration and deceleration for your vehicle and bear them in mind when you’re behind the wheel.
Check Your Tire Pressure – Every vehicle’s owner’s manual will list the recommended tire pressure or PSI. Making sure that your tires are properly inflated can go a long way to lowering the chance of a rollover. Also, check the tread and for any tire wear. Worn tires can dig into the ground and raise the risk of a rollover.
Avoid Overloading Your Vehicle – Many people are hitting the highways for summer vacation, or moving from one location or another. Be aware just how much is considered a safe load for your vehicle. When a car, truck, SUV or other vehicle is overloaded, the stability of the vehicle is compromised. If you are putting a heavy load on top of your vehicle, such as a cargo carrier, this will affect the vehicle’s overall center of gravity. Try to put the heaviest cargo low on the floor of the vehicle and as close to the center of the vehicle yet as far from the rear end as possible. This will lessen the chance of the load shifting and causing your vehicle to tip over or roll.
Watch your Speed – The chance of a rollover accident is increased when a vehicle travels at a higher rate of speed. The chances of missing a curve, taking a turn too quickly, or overcorrection can cause a rollover accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicated in a report that close to 75% of all rollover accidents involving a fatality happened on roadways where the speed limit was 55 mph or greater.
Wear Seat Belts & Use Proper Restraints – One of the greatest dangers in a rollover crash is the risk of being ejected from the vehicle. Federal safety officials have estimated that half of all fatalities that occur in a rollover accident were because someone in the vehicle was either fully or partially ejected. Buckling up with seatbelts and using child restraints can help save lives, even in a rollover crash.
Sometimes a rollover is caused thanks to someone else’s actions. If you or a loved one has been involved in a rollover or any other type of accident, you need the advice of a personal injury attorney. Call the Aventura car injury attorneys at NK&P today for a free consultation. Our officers serve all of Dade and Broward County.