Why Do Rollover Accidents Happen?

Car accidents can happen in a variety of different ways and result in various types of crashes. One of the most dangerous types of car crash is a rollover accident, which entails your car physically rolling or flipping.

Rollover accidents are especially dangerous because they have a high chance of fatality. This is due to the extreme unpredictability of a car rolling and how most vehicles are not adequately equipped to protect against this. 6,583 people died in rollover crashes in 2018, highlighting just how prevalent and deadly this type of accident is.

While rollover accidents are highly fatal, they are often avoidable if accommodations are made for the additional risk factors of rolling over. Let’s dive into why rollover accidents happen now so you can effectively prevent yourself from experiencing one.

High Speeds

Arguably the most important factor leading to a rollover crash is high speeds.

The faster you drive your car, the harder it becomes to control and make precise movements. This is particularly noticeable whenever you are turning, meaning you can turn far less rapidly at high speeds than you can when going slowly.

When you’re going slow speeds like 10 MPH, you can crank the wheel to one side and face no issues driving. If you were to do the same at 60 MPH, you will undoubtedly cause your car to flip over.

This comes down to momentum. The greater your momentum is, the more pressure that is applied to your wheels when you want to turn. Because your wheels cannot handle this excessive pressure when at high speeds, your momentum continues to carry you forward despite trying to turn and this results in a rollover.

With this in mind, never try to make a turn or take a corner at high speeds. Refrain from rapidly jerking your wheel to change lanes as well.

Road Hazards

You should also keep an eye out for any hazards on the road that might cause a rollover.

Road hazards are important because they pose the risk of tripping, which is what happens when part of your car dips and suddenly shifts the distribution of weight. In turn, the now “lighter” portion of your car can flip over the “heavier” and sunken part.

The two most relevant concerns for this include inconsistencies in the road like potholes and poor road design featuring nearby ditches that are easy to enter.

If you are scanning ahead and looking for oncoming hazards, you can identify these problem points and steer clear of them to avoid rolling over.

Unpredictable Weather

Another cause for rollover accidents is unpredictable weather, specifically conditions that result in wet roads or reduced visibility.

Poor weather directly makes driving more difficult by either increasing stopping times, reducing the distance at which you can see other cars, or amplifying the impact your movements have.

That said, not all the other drivers on the road properly account for this. It is also possible that you may forget to drive more cautiously and find yourself in a dangerous situation where you need to swerve and end up rolling over.

Bad weather means it is harder to control your vehicle and this translates to more rollover accidents. Remember this and drive extra carefully whenever conditions are poor.

Unsteady Vehicles

A final key contributor to rollovers is unsteady vehicles.

For car design, certain types of vehicles are especially susceptible to rolling over. This applies to any vehicle that features a more vertical body, which is most vans, trucks, and SUVs.

These vehicles are at a greater risk because their weight is relatively top-loaded. This means when a sudden shift happens, there is already plenty of force at a higher center of gravity to propel over the lighter and lower section of your car.

Should you drive a car with a higher risk of rolling over, understand that you have an added burden to be especially cautious around any situations that might result in flipping or tripping.

Closing Thoughts

Rollover car accidents are a serious concern that most vehicles are not properly prepared for. Cars are typically designed for direct collisions, meaning that rolling over can directly reduce the effectiveness of the physical protection provided by a car’s frame.

This means rollover accidents are particularly deadly and must be avoided at all costs. A few key contributors to watch out for include high speeds, road hazards, unpredictable weather, and unsteady vehicles.

Car accidents are always painful and difficult experiences, but they are often avoidable with safer driving choices. Driving with safety as your only priority is the best way to consistently prevent serious accidents like rollovers and the life-changing injuries that ensue.

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