All About Rollover Accidents

Unfortunately deadly though uncommon, rollover crashes account for about one-third of all vehicle occupant fatalities. Whether it results from an impact with another object or from leaving the roadway when a driver loses control, officials classify a vehicle crash as a rollover if the vehicle tips onto its roof or side at any point. In some cases, it actually rolls and then returns to an upright position.

Taller and narrower vehicles like light trucks are much more susceptible to rollovers: SUV rollover accidents occur more frequently than rollovers in standard passenger vehicles.

In this blog, we’ve asked Patrick C. Mulvihill of Mulvihill Law Firm, PLLC, in Lynnwood, WA, to talk about what causes rollover accidents and how to avoid them.

What Is a Rollover Accident?

In a rollover accident, a vehicle either tips over on its side or rolls over completely onto its roof. Car rollover accidents may happen when a single driver loses control or when multiple vehicles collide. According to the NHTSA, over 10,000 Americans lose their lives in rollover accidents every year.

Although only 2% of car crashes in the U.S. are rollover accidents, this type of accident features a particularly high fatality rate. According to 2019 statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, rollover accidents accounted for 28% of all passenger vehicle occupant deaths. Those numbers average the following statistics:

  • 20% of car occupant deaths
  • 38% of pickup truck occupant deaths
  • 39% of SUV occupant deaths

However, the proportion of occupant deaths was 49% in single-vehicle crashes and only 12% for multiple-vehicle crashes.

What Causes a Vehicle to Roll Over?

Reasons for rollover accidents differ by type of vehicle. Many truck rollover accidents result from unsafe loading and driver distraction. ATV rollover accidents may involve dangerous maneuvers. Tractor rollover accidents often entail a side overturn due to unsafe operation.

Common rollover causes include:

  • High speed. Speeding vehicles have a much higher chance of rolling over during a crash.
  • Drugs or alcohol. A driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol is far likelier to lose control over their vehicle and end up in a rollover.
  • Vehicle defects. Multiple vehicle defects, such as steering wheel or electrical system issues, can lead to rollover accidents.
  • Tire problems. Faulty tire stems and miscellaneous tire failures may lead to rollovers.

How to Avoid a Rollover Accident

While no driver is immune to accidents, here are things you can do to minimize your chances of a rollover crash:

  • Always wear a seat belt. Wearing a seat belt will lower the odds of serious injuries or fatalities.
  • When shopping for a vehicle, look for a newer car. Newer vehicles have advanced safety features that may reduce the risk of rollovers.
  • Look for a vehicle that is lower to the ground. Jeeps and certain types of SUVs may be more likely to roll over.
  • Check the pressure on your tires. Over-inflated tires may cause vehicle instability and a higher chance of rollovers.
  • Watch your speed. Nearly half of all rollover accidents involve speeding.
  • Don’t consume alcohol. If you drink alcohol, avoid driving.
  • Be cautious. Keep your attention on the road and avoid distractions.
  • Slow down. Avoid high speeds, even within the speed limit—especially if you’re driving on a bad road or in unfavorable weather conditions.
  • Be aware. Follow all traffic rules, pay attention to road signs, and keep away from speeding or swerving vehicles.
  • Allow enough space. Make sure to keep enough distance from the vehicles in front and behind you.

Have You Been in a Rollover Accident? Contact an Experienced Lawyer Today

Were you or a loved one involved in a rollover accident? If so, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our legal team at Mulvihill Law Firm, PLLC, at 425-368-3599 for a free case evaluation in Lynnwood and Snohomish County, WA. We handle all personal injury cases on a contingency basis, so you only pay if we win your case.