With Memorial Day Weekend quickly approaching, many families have camping trips and vacation plans on the calendar. When packing up the car for the ride, many drivers try to leave a space free of luggage to see out their back window, but did you know that how you pack your car can affect your chances of having your vehicle roll over in a crash?
While properly packing your car for a trip is fairly easy, there are other risk factors that require more complicated fixes. Continue reading to learn more about what causes rollover crashes, how you can protect your family, and what to do if you’ve been in a rollover caused by someone else’s negligence.
Causes and Risk Factors of Rollover Crashes
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that 95% of rollovers are caused by a vehicle “tripping” over something — such as a pothole, ditch, curb, guardrail, or even soft ground and loose gravel — but there are dozens of risk factors that also contribute to the rollover effect. Here are a few of the most common.
“Speed plays a huge role in whether your vehicle rolls over, so the chance of you or your passengers experiencing serious or fatal injuries increases drastically if your brakes fail to slow you down.”
Driver-Related Risk Factors
Like most vehicle accidents, speeding is a top risk factor involved in rollover crashes. The rate of speed also has a critical impact on the extent of damage resulting from the crash.
Failure to pay adequate attention to the road and surroundings is another common risk factor of rollover crashes. Long drives with children playing, fighting, laughing, and crying in the backseat can cause driver fatigue and distraction, which can result in swerving off the road and hitting loose gravel or rails that then trip the vehicle.
It’s also important to note that, contrary to popular belief, most rollovers occur while a vehicle is traveling straight rather than turning through a curve.
Manufacturer defects are another factor in rollover crashes. Vehicles go through rigorous safety tests before hitting the market, but product defects bypass all those safety precautions. Defective tires, brakes, and suspension systems increase your likelihood of losing control of your vehicle. Additionally, defective products make you more susceptible to flipping if the vehicle does trip on something.
RELATED ARTICLE: Tire Defects Cause Fatal Car Accidents Nationwide
Negligent maintenance is similar to a defective product but is caused by a mechanic’s error rather than manufacturer oversight. Faulty maintenance jobs on your brakes or suspension systems can be extremely dangerous. Speed plays a huge role in whether your vehicle rolls over, so the chance of you or your passengers experiencing serious or fatal injuries increases drastically if your brakes fail to slow you down.
3 Tips for Preventing Rollover Crashes
1. Practice Safe Driving Habits
Keeping your speed down on rural or unpaved roads can help avoid rollovers while also decreasing the chances of a rollover being fatal. Additionally, while seatbelts won’t help prevent the rollover itself, ensuring that you and your passengers are all wearing seatbelts before moving the vehicle could help prevent serious injuries if a crash does occur.
2. Properly Maintain Your Tires
Your tires play a huge part in preventing rollover crashes and should be checked once a month (and before any long car trips) to ensure they are properly inflated to the vehicle’s recommended standards.
In the same way that tire defects can greatly increase your chances of a rollover, so too can replacing your tires with a set that has drastically different traction. Even if the replacement tires have better traction, a large enough deviation from the vehicle’s original tires can increase your susceptibility to a rollover.
3. Balance Your Vehicle’s Load
Taking your family on a camping trip? Avoid placing luggage on the roof in a cargo carrier or rack. According to the NHTSA, the center of gravity of your vehicle is highly correlated with rollovers, meaning a top-heavy vehicle has a much higher likelihood of rolling during an accident.
Typically, packing the car is a real-life Tetris game of figuring out what can be flipped, tipped, and stacked to fit in the back or trunk of the car. But playing Tetris in the back of your car will also destabilize your vehicle.
If you do have a lot of luggage in the back or trunk of your vehicle, make sure that you have an equal or greater amount as close to the center of your vehicle as possible. Placing the heaviest cargo in the center of the vehicle will greatly improve the overall stability of the car and decrease your chances of a rollover.
Call Crosley Law If You’ve Been Injured in a Rollover Crash in Texas
If you or a family member have been injured in a rollover crash caused by defective products or faulty maintenance, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries. The skilled and experienced attorneys at Crosley Law can help you prepare a personal injury claim and assist in all stages of your claim process.
At Crosley Law, we’ll provide you with honest legal advice and consistently inform you with status updates and real-time advice about your case. Please call us today at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation and let us help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
Pai, J. (2017, August). Trends and Rollover-Reduction Effectiveness of Static Stability Factor in Passenger Vehicles. (Report No. DOT HS 812 444). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Retrieved from https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ ViewPublication/812444
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.