Skip to content

Tall Vehicles Are at Risk of Rolling Over

March 4, 2016

Home » Blog » Tall Vehicles Are at Risk of Rolling Over

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, larger vehicles have a higher rate of fatal rollover than smaller vehicles. While larger vehicles such as SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks are safer in just about every other circumstance, their high center of gravity works against them in rollovers. And, rollovers are incredibly dangerous. They only make up a small percentage of total crashes, yet account for 33 percent of all passenger vehicle occupant deaths in 2013. Rollovers accounted for 53 percent of all single-vehicle collision fatalities and just 12 percent of multiple-vehicle collision fatalities. Many times a driver’s worst enemy is distraction, fatigue, or impatience (speeding). A large vehicle will not protect its occupants at all times, and actually increases the risk of fatal rollover compared to a car. If you have been involved in a collision, whether a rollover was present or not, and were injured because of another driver’s negligence, they may owe you compensation for your damages. Contact an experienced Columbia, South Carolina, car accident attorney today to find out what sort of legal options are in your best interest to pursue.

High Center of Gravity and a Narrow Wheelbase Creates Instability

Perhaps the vehicle that is rolled over the most frequently is the SUV. SUVs in particular are tall, have high ground clearance, and have proportionally narrow wheelbases to height compared to a car. All of these factors lead to instability when cornering, swerving, or simply driving at high speeds. In fact, the faster a vehicle goes, the more likely its chances of rolling over. Frontline estimated that in 2002, a total of 70,000 SUV rollovers would occur, resulting in 2,000 deaths due to their inherent instability. That number is still holding true; in 2013 there were 2,051 occupant fatalities in SUV rollovers. There were 1,913 pickup truck fatalities and 2,975 car occupant fatalities in rollovers that same year. While cars do have the highest number of rollover fatalities, it is because they are by far the most driven vehicle on the road.

15 Passenger Vans Are One of the Most Dangerous Vehicles Allowed on the Roads

An even more dangerous vehicle in terms of fatal rollovers is the 15 passenger van. These vans are taller than a SUV and much longer, meaning that their wheelbase is not only relatively narrow, but also relatively short. This creates incredibly dangerous instability, especially when the van is at capacity with the last two rows of seats filled (which sit behind the rear axle). In fact, the likelihood of rollover raises three times when 15-passenger vans are filled to maximum capacity, according to CBS News. The faster they are driven, the more likely they will rollover.

The Trip Causes Most Rollovers

A “trip” is the term used to describe an obstacle that causes the vehicle to flip onto its side or roof. In most rollover scenarios, one of the wheels or multiple wheels hit something that initiates the roll, such as a curb, pole, or the loose dirt off the side of the road. A swerve may be the beginning of the emergency situation, but the trip is what causes the vehicle to actually flip over. The faster the vehicle is going, the higher its center of gravity, and the narrower and shorter its wheelbase, the more likely it will be involved in a fatal rollover accident. If you or a loved one have been injured by another driver’s negligence, contact an experienced Columbia, South Carolina car accident attorney immediately at the law offices of The Connell Law Firm, LLC.