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SUV Rollover Accidents


Rollover accidents happen daily across the United States. The numbers of rollovers have increased dramatically as the numbers of SUVs, pickup trucks and passenger vans have consumed the market over the past 20 years. Unfortunately, sport utility vehicles have the highest rate of deaths occurring in rollovers. Many of these roll over accidents are due in part to tire tread failure, tread separation, weak brakes, poor suspension and top heavy vehicles that do not respond to evasive maneuvers, sudden braking and other emergency highway situations. Once the rollover accident begins to take place, the driver and occupants face added injury and harm from a roof crush, defective seatbelt, fuel fed fire, unsafe windows and windshields and door latches and locks that open during a wreck or rollover.

Causes of Rollover Accidents

Rollover accidents are directly associated to a vehicle’s constancy in turns. The constancy is influenced by the connection between the center of gravity and the track width (distance between the left and right wheels). A high center of gravity and narrow track can make a vehicle unstable in fast turns or sharp changes of direction–increasing the odds that it will tip over once it begins to skid sideways. The crisis is very different in 4-wheel-drive pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles, which have a higher ground clearance for off-road driving.

Most critical 4WD rollovers are single-vehicle accidents that occur on weekend nights. The drivers are most frequently males under 25. In three out of four fatal rollovers, the victims were evicted from the vehicle, demonstrating they weren’t wearing a seatbelt.

Defects That Contribute to the Occurrence of SUV Rollovers

SUV rollover accidents need not result in the death or serious injury of drivers and passengers. A number of design imperfections can add on to the occurrence of SUV rollovers and lead to serious injury or death in the event of a rollover accident. Potential safety issues include:

• The vehicle is faulty in its handling and dependability because it is top-heavy and level to heavy over-steering by drivers, making a rollover accident likely;

• The vehicle is equipped with defective door latches that are too weak to hold the doors shut in a rollover accident, causing passengers to be ejected from these vehicles;

• The roof-strength of the SUV is poor, consequential in a collapse of the roof in a rollover accident;

• The vehicle is not equipped with covered safety glass which would help avoid passengers from being turned out in SUV rollovers; and

• The seat belts are faulty because they do not automatically take back and tighten during an accident.

The fact that SUVs have developed into the de-facto family vehicle also contributes to the reduced safety record. In theory, an SUV is a vehicle that can carry a heavy load of people and equipment while traversing a rocky terrain. However, this type of vehicle is meant to be equipped with roll bars. Since SUVs are now primarily family vehicles, there are usually no roll bars. So what you end up with is a vehicle with narrow width, heavy weight and high center of gravity, but no roll bars to protect the passengers - a very bad combination.

One thing to look for in an SUV is a high rollover resistance rating, which is an estimate of a vehicle’s risk of rollover. Though, SUVs with top-rated rollover confrontation have a greater possibility of turning over than any other type of vehicles. If you drive an SUV, you need to drive with extra caution. If your SUV is more than a few years old and you have the financial capability, upgrade to a newer model. Finally, when shopping for a new SUV, look for one that sits lower to the ground and that has a high rollover resistance rating.

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