How to Prevent a Rollover Accident - Hensley Legal Group, PC

How to Prevent a Rollover Accident

Rollovers are some of the worst car accidents imaginable, inflicting serious or even deadly injuries at a disproportionate rate.  Despite making up just three percent of total passenger vehicle collisions, rollover accidents account for nearly 30 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  Luckily, there are a […]

May 16, 2024

Rollovers are some of the worst car accidents imaginable, inflicting serious or even deadly injuries at a disproportionate rate.  Despite making up just three percent of total passenger vehicle collisions, rollover accidents account for nearly 30 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

Luckily, there are a number of measures you could implement to minimize the likelihood and the severity of rollovers.  Join us as we take a look at how to prevent a rollover accident. 

Why Are Rollover Accidents So Dangerous? 

A brief review of national car accident data reveals just how destructive rollovers can be, claiming 7,640 lives across the United States in 2021 alone.  Even in non-fatal collisions, it is abundantly obvious that should a vehicle roll over, car accident victims are very likely to incur extreme injuries, such as brain and spinal trauma, paralysis, amputations, internal bleeding, and comas. 

But why are rollover accidents so dangerous?  Every collision is different, though there are three core reasons why a rollover crash has an outsized chance of wreaking major havoc: 

  • Crush injuries are rampant – Effectively, a motor vehicle closes in on the driver and any passengers who may be trapped inside of it during a rollover accident.  And the heavier the vehicle is, the greater the pressure applied can be when coupled with the momentum produced by a car or truck rolling over. 
  • Airbags rarely deploy – The impact of a rollover crash tends to be concentrated on a vehicle’s roof or sides, but airbags are generally triggered by frontal or near-frontal collisions.  This design flaw could leave a motorist with little to cushion the blow of a rollover car accident. 
  • Occupants may be more exposed – Because a vehicle will usually come to rest on its roof or side after rolling over, the occupants may be unable to get free, which could expose them to oncoming vehicles or debris. 

These and other characteristics of rollover accidents can make them uniquely devastating.  

Common Rollover Accident Scenarios 

Rollover accidents can take many forms, though the National Institutes of Health has uncovered the sequences of events that most often end with a vehicle rolling over. Common rollover accident scenarios include: 

  • Flip-overs – The vehicle is flipped onto its side or roof by an object acting like a ramp, such as a slanted guardrail.
  • Turn-overs – The vehicle rolls over because of friction encountered during a sudden turn or rotation.
  • Bounce-overs – The vehicle rebounds or bounces off of a fixed object and overturns as a consequence.
  • Fall-overs – The vehicle tumbles over while sloping downward, often when heading or falling over an embankment.
  • Climb-overs – The vehicle climbs up and over an object that is high enough to lift it completely off the ground, such as a barrier or a guardrail.
  • End-over-ends – The rear of the vehicle is elevated after a collision with an immovable barrier, causing the vehicle to land with the rear positioned ahead of the front. 
  • Collisions with other vehicles – The force produced during a high-speed crash could cause one or both of the colliding vehicles to roll over. 

Why Do Rollover Accidents Happen? 

You may now have a better understanding of why rollover accidents are so dangerous and the forms in which they may occur.  But why do they happen at all?  Why should one crash or mishap on the road lead to a rollover accident, but another does not?   

A range of elements may contribute to rollover car accidents, some of which may pertain to the cars or trucks themselves.  Specifically, vehicles may be more prone to a rollover because of:   

  • Higher centers of gravity – While any vehicle could roll over, one that has a higher center of gravity, such as a light truck, van, or SUV, is likelier to do so, particularly when taking an abrupt turn or when it is sideswiped or T-boned. 
  • Overloading – Heavier vehicles are more difficult to maneuver, most notably in settings with already compromised traction, such as wet or slippery streets.  And if a car or truck has been overloaded with cargo, or if that cargo has been poorly arrayed or fastened, it could become dislodged while in motion, which could throw off a vehicle’s equilibrium and tip or roll it over. 
  • Mechanical problems – Various mechanical problems could make drivers lose control of their vehicles, veer into other lanes or off the road, or hit other vehicles, individuals, or objects, perhaps rolling over as a result.  Rollover-related automotive issues may include tire blowouts, locked brakes, and steering or suspension system failures. 

Inclement weather and adverse surfaces could precipitate a rollover accident as well.  Rain, sleet, snow, ice, loose gravel, and oil spills could all make a car lose traction and its ability to stay upright in one fell swoop. 

While external factors such as these could definitely play a part in a rollover crash, it is a statistical reality that drivers are primarily at fault for most auto accidents, with the NHTSA finding that driver errors constitute 94 percent of the “critical reasons” resulting in crashes.  Examples of driver misconduct that could cause a rollover car accident may include: 

  • Speeding – Approximately 40 percent of fatal rollover accidents involve speeding.  Drivers who go too fast may frequently hit other vehicles or barriers in traffic, with the impact potentially knocking a car or truck off balance. 
  • Improper turning – Furthermore, speeding drivers tend to take overly sharp turns, which could lead a vehicle to flip or roll over, even more so if it has a high center of gravity or is transporting unsecured freight. 
  • Distraction Not paying attention could hamper the ability of drivers to react to hazards coming up or notice turns in a timely fashion, for which they may subsequently overcompensate with rash or jerky maneuvers that could make their cars perilously unstable. 
  • Driving under the influence – Though drunk driving has plummeted by an estimated 44 percent since 1985, it continues to be a substantial concern in this country, where there is one intoxicated traffic death every 39 minutes.  Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can cloud your judgment and dull your reflexes, which could make a rollover accident inevitable. 
  • Drowsiness – Going more than 20 hours without sleep can induce the same degree of impairment as a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent, the legal limit for intoxication in most states.  Each year, drowsy driving is associated with 50,000 injuries, 800 casualties, and 100,000 car accidents nationwide, including rollover car accidents. 

How Can Rollover Accidents Be Prevented? 

Regardless of the causes of a rollover car accident, the outcomes can be dire, both for anyone inside of the car that rolls over and for anyone in its path.  However, there are precautions you can take that might prevent a rollover accident, such as: 

  • Travel at an appropriate speed – Speeding can make rollovers more probable and more lethal.  Never exceed the posted speed limit and be ready to slow down when conditions warrant it.   
  • Turn carefully – An appropriate speed is never more crucial than when you are turning, since a vehicle can sway or tip if it changes course too quickly.  Be sure to anticipate any upcoming turns and try to complete them carefully. 
  • Keep calm while steering – On a related note, far too many drivers panic or overcorrect after a close call, sometimes making matters worse.  Keeping calm as you steer is the key to keeping your vehicle steady in high-pressure situations. 
  • Pay attention – Many of those high-pressure situations could be avoided entirely if you simply paid attention, so do your best to ignore distractions and focus your mind on the task at hand. 
  • Stay sober – Drinking and driving is both highly illegal and incredibly foolish.  Stay sober so you won’t get pulled over or roll over. 
  • Get your rest – As stated above, drowsiness can be as incapacitating as drunkenness, which is why it is vital to get your rest before you get behind the wheel. 
  • Pack your vehicle wisely – Hauling excessive or unbalanced freight can throw off a vehicle’s alignment.  Do not exceed the load rating of the manufacturer when packing your vehicle, secure the cargo so that it does not shift during transit, and spread the contents evenly throughout the storage space, putting the heaviest items as low to the floor and close to the center as you can. 
  • Check your tires regularly – A tire that is worn, punctured, mismatched, or either under- or overinflated is a car accident waiting to happen, rollover or otherwise.  Check your tires regularly, inflating and/or repairing them when needed, and replacing them when they are no longer viable with tires that are the correct size and model for your vehicle. 
  • Keep your vehicle up to date – Numerous technological advances have curtailed rollover accidents in recent years, dropping rollover deaths by more than 75 percent over a 12-year period.  While it may not be economically feasible to buy a new car solely for the purpose of curbing rollover accidents, it might be worth verifying that any vehicle you purchase going forward satisfies the minimum recommended Electronic Stability Control specifications.
  • Exercise heightened caution on rural roads – The NHTSA reports that close to 75 percent of rollover accidents take place in rural areas.  Exercise caution on rural roads, where the higher speed limits and the lack of concrete barriers could encourage a level of recklessness that could make you more susceptible to a rollover.
  • Wear a seatbelt – While wearing a seatbelt may do little or nothing to stop a rollover, it can do a lot to stop you from getting hurt in one.  A seatbelt can keep you from bouncing around inside the vehicle as it rolls over, thereby lessening the bodily harm you may sustain, and it could keep you from getting ejected from the vehicle, unlike almost two-thirds of rollover accident decedents. 

With these tips and some common sense, you may either be able to prevent a rollover accident altogether or manage to walk away from one in one piece. 

 What to Do After a Rollover Accident 

Unfortunately, not every driver who shares the road with you will be as responsible as you are.  Even if you do everything within your power to prevent a rollover accident, that does not mean that a far less prudent driver in the vicinity will not experience a rollover and maybe injure you and the ones you love in the process. 

When that occurs, there are certain steps you can follow to protect yourself and any personal injury case that you might eventually have.  After a rollover accident, you should: 

  • Move to safety – Move to a safe location before you attempt to do anything else, since this may not be your last accident of the day if you stay where you are for too long. 
  • Alert the authorities – Police and emergency personnel should be present to document the incident and attend to the injured, so be ready to dial 911 to alert the authorities if they have not arrived yet.  And don’t forget to give the responding officers a full account of the rollover accident, as an inaccurate police report could come back to haunt you. 
  • Get medical treatment – Nothing is more important than your health, so get medical treatment right way, preferably from paramedics at the rollover crash site or at the nearest emergency room.  Delays in care could hinder your ability to recover and create an opening for doubt to be cast on the causal relationship between the rollover accident and your injuries.  
  • Obtain identifying information – Your case can only be as strong as the facts you have to support it.  Before you leave the scene, be sure to obtain basic identifying information from everyone involved in the rollover accident, such as: 
  • Name 
  • Address 
  • Phone number 
  • Email 
  • Insurance company and policy number
  • Driver’s license
  • License plate
  • Vehicle year, make, and model 

Also take down the name and number of anyone else who saw the rollover accident, as eyewitnesses can provide independent confirmation of what transpired. 

  • Take pictures and shoot videos – A contemporary visual record of the crash could be invaluable in assessing liability and capturing your losses, so take pictures and shoot videos of your surroundings once you have a moment to do so. 
  • Notify your auto insurance company – Your auto insurance company should be notified promptly about the rollover accident, as it will allow you to remain in compliance with the terms of your policy and permit you to take advantage of benefits that may be available, including reimbursement for physician visits, rentals, towing, and repairs. 
  • Keep away from other insurance companies – The insurance companies for the other parties may be eager to contact you too, though it may be a good idea to keep away from them for the time being.  Anything you say to a savvy insurance adjuster could be used to undermine your claim, especially if you do not know your rights.  
  • Talk to an attorney – A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can educate you about your rights, answer all of your questions, and go over what you can expect if you decide to initiate a case. 

What a Car Accident Attorney Can Do for You 

A rollover car accident can turn your world upside down, overwhelming you with mounting medical bills and unforeseen costs while robbing you of your ability to go to work.  Before you realize it, you could have trouble merely making ends meet, much less acquiring resources sufficient for the additional demands on your finances. 

When faced with these challenges, many plaintiffs choose to seek out the services of seasoned legal practitioners, such as the dedicated car accident lawyers at Hensley Legal Group, who have been standing up for the wrongfully injured for more than a quarter century. 

What can a car accident attorney do for you?  Once retained, your lawyer can conduct a thorough investigation into the causes of your rollover accident and everyone who may be to blame for it within the time allotted by law.   

Depending on the circumstances, the list of possible defendants could be quite extensive, including the at-fault driver, the owner of his or her vehicle, outside mechanics and cargo loaders, government bodies in charge of road construction and maintenance, and the manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of any defective components, among others.   

A meticulous car accident attorney will work tirelessly to amass compelling evidence against everyone who may be liable for your injuries, which could include: 

  • Police reports
  • Traffic citations and dispositions
  • Streetlight, dashcam, and surveillance footage 
  • Black box data 
  • Eyewitness statements 
  • Phone records
  • Driving histories
  • Vehicle inspection logs
  • Accident reconstruction and forensic analysis 

Once an airtight case has been put together, your lawyer will then negotiate directly with the insurance companies to reach a settlement that reflects the entirety of your losses, such as: 

  • Past, present, and future medical expenses 
  • Lost wages 
  • Diminished earning capacity 
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Psychological anguish
  • Mobility restrictions 
  • Reduced quality of living 
  • Loss of consortium 
  • Punitive and wrongful death damages (if applicable) 

Though most car accident claims can be resolved outside of the courtroom, sometimes a trial may be inescapable when an obstinate adjuster either comes back with consistently lowball offers or opts to deny a claim outright.  At this point, a capable litigator can be indispensable.  While personal injury plaintiffs who represent themselves in court lose their cases about 96 percent of the time, plaintiffs with attorneys prevail more often than not, which could give them the opportunity to become whole again. 

Fighting for the Hardworking People of Indiana 

A rollover car accident can be a terrifying ordeal, saddling you with punishing injuries that threaten to put you and your family on the brink of ruin.  If you are struggling to get your life back on track, consider getting in touch with the accomplished car accident lawyers at Hensley Legal Group, who have been fighting for the hardworking people of Indiana since 1998. 

You can schedule a no-cost consultation with a skilled Indiana car accident attorney by calling or texting us at (317) 472-3333, chatting with us online, or filling out our contact form today.