A man was extricated from his pickup truck on Sept. 29 after a rollover crash in central Florida. The driver was allegedly weaving through traffic when he lost control of his vehicle, which went off the road and flipped over. Two other rollover crashes were reported this week in Central Florida, both near Tampa, despite the fact that rollover crashes are relatively uncommon. What is behind all of these rollover accidents and how can drivers avoid them?
Common Causes of a Rollover Crash
Although the driver involved in the rollover crash near the Historic Side of The Villages was cited for careless driving, the other two motorists involved in rollover crashes were not reported to be driving recklessly at the time. So what are the common causes and characteristics of a rollover crash?
Driving SUVs, Pickups, and Vans
All three of the reported rollover crashes that occurred in Central Florida this week involved vehicles such as SUVs, pickups, and vans. These type of vehicles have a higher center of gravity than sedans, meaning they are more top heavy and prone to tipping over. When motorists driving these type of vehicles maneuver tight curves or overcorrect their turning, they become at risk of losing control of the vehicle and potentially flipping over, according to Consumer Reports.
Driving on Rural Roads
The majority of rollover crashes are seen on rural roads for two reasons. Rural roads often do not have barriers, dividers, and other physical obstructions that would prevent a vehicle from going off road and flipping over, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These rural roads also tend to have higher posted speed limits of 55 mph or higher, which make rollover accidents all the more devastating and fatal.
In one of the rollover accidents in Tampa — which involved a nine-year-old passenger being partially stuck under the SUV before she and the other passengers were rescued by good samaritans — the rollover was caused by a tire blowout. Tire blowouts are generally caused by overloading the vehicle or small punctures to a tire that go unchecked overtime, according to Popular Mechanics.
How Can Motorists Avoid Rollover Crashes?
While the motorists involved in these rollover crashes were lucky enough to escape with minor injuries, rollover crashes are usually deadly. Approximately 280,000 rollover accidents are reported each year, and these crashes claim more than 10,000 lives annually, according to the NHTSA. Therefore it’s important for motorists to know how to avoid these often devastating crashes.
Avoid Overloading Your SUVs, Pickups, and Vans
Overloading your vehicle not only places more strain on your tires and makes them more likely to blowout, but it also shifts the balance in your vehicle. For owners of vehicles with a higher center of gravity and a proclivity for flipping over, like SUV, pickups, and vans, it’s essential not to overload, or else you further increase your risk of a rollover accident. Check your vehicle’s Gross Vehicular Weight Rating to be extra sure that the amount of weight in your vehicle does not exceed the manufacturer’s recommended limit.
Watch Your Speed
All motorists, but especially those who operate SUVs and trucks, should be mindful of their speed to avoid rollover accidents. Going over 55 mph, as explained by NHTSA, puts drivers at an increased risk of fatal rollover accidents, especially on roads without physical barriers to prevent off road crashes.
Take Care of Your Tires
Performing regular maintenance on your tires is a good preventive measure for avoiding rollover crashes. You should check the inflation pressure at least once a month, advises Consumer Reports, and keep a replacement tire in your vehicle in case you discover one of your tires is in bad shape on the road.
Knowing what causes rollover crashes is an important part of being a responsible driver and avoiding car accidents, but how other motorists drive isn’t always within your control. Have you been hurt in a car accident recently due to the negligence of another driver? If so, our attorneys may be able to help.
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