SUV Rollover Crash Risk

SUV rollover crash
What You Need to Know to Avoid a Rollover

A motor vehicle accident can be dangerous for all people involved, but when it’s a rollover crash the severity may increase because a rollover has a higher fatality rate than any other type of car crash. Recently, the Southern Nevada area has experienced a number of serious and some fatal SUV rollover crashes. According to Consumer Reports, “although rollovers occur in only about 3 percent of all serious crashes, they account for about 30 percent of people killed while riding in a passenger vehicle.” This is primarily because rollovers often lead to partial or full ejection of occupants from the vehicle. The truth of the matter is, any vehicle can potentially roll over, however, per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), “rollovers are much more common for SUVs and pickups than for cars.” This can be attributed to various factors such as vehicle design, driver handling and roads traveled.

What causes rollovers?

There are different ways this type of crash can occur:

  • Tripped rollovers
    Most rollovers are “tripped” rollovers. This is when the driver loses control of the vehicle and begins to slide sideways. When this happens, something can “trip” the vehicle and cause it to roll over. The tripping object could be a slippery or soft road surface, a curb or guardrail, or uneven pavement on the roadway.
  • Untripped or frictional rollovers
    Untripped or frictional rollover crashes generally occur when a driver turns too aggressively or reacts to something and in turn moves the steering wheel too fast, at a high velocity, or with a tight turning radius. According to the IIHS, in these types of conditions “the frictional force between the tires and road surface can cause the vehicle to tip up on to its side and then roll over.”
  • Multiple-vehicle rollovers
    The forces in a multiple-vehicle crash may also cause a vehicle to roll. For example, a vehicle struck in the side may be pushed over by the striking vehicle and then the energy of the crash causes it to roll over. However, these are not as deadly. Statistics show that about three-fourths of rollover deaths occur in single-vehicle crashes.
How to prevent and survive a rollover crash

There are a number of ways you can decrease your likelihood of being in a rollover crash or being seriously injured if you are involved in one. Maintain your vehicle, practice safe driving, and adhere to the rules of the road. Consumer Reports offers some survival tips.

How to shop smarter for a safer vehicle

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has included a 5-Star Safety Ratings search tool on their website to provide consumers with crash protection and rollover safety information of new vehicles (beyond what is required by Federal law). This tool helps you learn more about the crashworthiness and rollover safety by passenger vehicle model, class and manufacturer. You can also compare safety ratings of different vehicles before you purchase.