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How to Avoid Rollover Accidents

Car Accidents

Rollovers are among the most dangerous types of car accidents. While only about three percent of all car accidents are rollovers, these accidents count for about thirty-three percent of all car accident fatalities. This is according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which also reports that, “[a]lthough most rollovers (76 percent) [are] associated with a pre-rollover impact, a substantial proportion (24 percent) roll[] over without having impacted anything beforehand.”

This raises an important question: If nearly one in four rollover accidents are single-vehicle accidents that do not involve a pre-rollover impact, what can drivers do to keep themselves safe on the road? Here are 10 tips for how to avoid rollover accidents:

1. Drive the Speed Limit

Excessive speed is a common factor in rollover accidents. The faster you drive, the more momentum your vehicle carries. If your wheels stop suddenly while your vehicle is traveling at a high rate of speed (i.e., due to a collision or hitting a curb), there is a high risk that your vehicle’s momentum will result in a rollover.

2. Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated

Improper tire pressure is a common factor in rollover accidents as well. Both overinflated and underinflated tires can increase your risk of a rollover. With overinflated tires, your vehicle loses traction, and this increases the risk of losing control. With underinflated tires, side-to-side movement of the tire wall can destabilize your vehicle and lead to a rollover if your vehicle turns sideways or gets hit from the side.

3. Avoid Driving Distractions

Distracted driving is a leading cause of all types of car accidents, rollover accidents included. If all drivers paid attention to the road at all times, this alone would prevent thousands of roadway fatalities each year. If you are distracted behind the wheel, not only are you less likely to identify accident risks and rollover hazards, but you are less likely to be able to effectively respond to these risks and hazards as well.

4. Watch Out for “Trip” Hazards On the Road

Many single-vehicle rollover accidents result from “trip” hazards on the road. If a vehicle’s tires make contact with a stationary object while traveling at speed, the vehicle can “trip” over the object resulting in a rollover. Curbs, low shoulders, potholes and debris in the road are all potential trip hazards that can trigger dangerous rollover accidents.

5. Avoid Making Your Vehicle Top-Heavy

Vehicles that are top-heavy are more likely to roll over than vehicles with lower centers of gravity. You can avoid making your vehicle top-heavy by evenly distributing cargo in your vehicle’s cabin, trunk or truck bed. If your car, truck or SUV has roof rails, only use them when necessary, and avoid placing a significant amount of weight on top of your vehicle.

6. Familiarize Yourself With High-Risk Scenarios for Rollovers

Certain on-the-road scenarios present elevated risks for rollover accidents. If you are familiar with these high-risk scenarios for rollovers, you can drive defensively, and you can significantly improve your chances of avoiding a collision that has the potential to result in a rollover accident. Some of the scenarios in which rollover accidents most frequently occur include:

  • Driving On Two-Lane Roads – The risk of being involved in a head-on collision on a two-lane road also creates a risk for rollovers. Rollover accidents can occur as a result of head-on collisions occurring at speed, or as a result of swerving in order to avoid getting hit head-on.
  • Driving On Congested Highways At Speed – Many rollover accidents occur on congested highways. When driving at highway speeds, being hit on the front or rear quarter panel, being hit side-to-side, or being forced to swerve in order to avoid a reckless driver can all result in rolling over.
  • Entering Busy Intersections – Rollover accidents are common at intersections as well. When entering a busy intersection, it is always best to be cautious—even if you clearly have the right of way. If a careless, reckless or distracted driver enters the intersection unexpectedly, you may have no way to avoid a T-bone collision resulting in a rollover.

7. Be Cautious When Making Sharp or Sweeping Turns

Sharp and sweeping turns are common causes of single-vehicle rollover accidents. Whether you are making a turn at an intersection or taking an onramp or offramp, if you are going too fast, the lateral forces applied to your vehicle could cause it to rollover unexpectedly.

8. Avoid the Most Dangerous Times to Drive

If possible, one of the most effective ways to avoid rollover accidents is to avoid the most dangerous times to drive. This includes the morning and evening commutes and the late night/early morning hours on weekends. If you can minimize your number of encounters with dangerous drivers, you can also minimize your risk of being involved in a rollover accident.  

9. Know Your Vehicle

As a driver, it is important to know your vehicle—and more specifically to know your vehicle’s limits. While you certainly should not test your vehicle’s limits yourself, you should learn from any experiences you may have had in the past. Your car, truck or SUV’s owner’s manual may provide information about safe traveling speeds and rollover prevention as well.

10. Consider Buying (or Leasing) a Different Car

Finally, if you own an older vehicle that was manufactured before the automotive companies started placing greater emphasis on rollover prevention, it may be time to consider buying (or leasing) a different car. While not everyone can afford a car payment, if you can find a newer vehicle that meets your needs and that you can comfortably afford, it may be worth the investment in your (and your family’s) safety.

Contact the Car Accident Lawyers at Searcy Denney in Florida

The car accident lawyers at Searcy Denney represent individuals and families who have suffered catastrophic losses in rollover accidents in Florida. If you need to speak with a lawyer about your legal rights, you can call 800-780-8607 or contact us online to arrange a free initial consultation.

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