According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rollover accidents accounted for less than three percent of the estimated nine million car accidents involving passengers vehicles, trucks, SUVs, and vans that occurred during 2010.
Despite the relatively small number of occurrences, rollovers resulted in roughly 35 percent of all traffic fatalities. In other words, rollovers have a higher fatality rate than other types of vehicle collisions.
They are more dangerous than T-bone (broadside or side-impact) collisions.
Rollover accidents generally occur in trucks and SUVs that are taller, narrower, and more top heavy than other types of vehicles, in which the higher center of gravity makes them more susceptible to rolling over under certain conditions. Common types of rollover accidents include:
- Tripped rollovers — These are the most common type of rollover, these occur either when a vehicle is sliding sideways and the tires on its leading edge catch on for example a curb or soft dirt at the side of the road, causing the vehicle to flip over; or when a vehicle collides with another vehicle or object such as a guard rail, becoming unstable, so that one side of the vehicle to accelerate upwards, but not the other, again causing the vehicle to flip.
- Un-Tipped rollovers — Less common, these generally occur in top heavy vehicles traveling at high speed during collision avoidance maneuvers, such as speeding or slamming on the brakes to avoid hitting another vehicle.
Either of these types of rollover accidents can occur due to reckless driving behaviors such as speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence, or tailgating other vehicles.
They can also be the result of defects within the vehicle itself.
Common injuries from rollover accidents
A rollover is possible without involving another vehicle. In other words, a rollover can be produced by a single-vehicle accident.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that in many states, single vehicle accidents are now more common than multi-vehicle collisions. In Nevada, of the nearly 350 motor vehicle deaths that occurred in 2015, more than half resulted from single vehicle accidents, including vehicle rollovers.
The NHTSA reports that rollovers are typically more violent than other types of accidents. They generally involve contact between the driver, the road, and the vehicle, resulting in more severe and potentially life threatening injuries, including the following:
- Broken bones and multiple fractures;
- Severe cuts and burns, due to being thrown from the vehicle;
- Abdominal injuries, involving damage to the lungs, spleen, and other internal organs;
- Back and neck injuries, including fractured vertebrae and spinal cord damage; and
- Head injuries, including severe concussions, skull fractures, and traumatic brain injury.
The severity of bodily injuries caused by rollovers may require a long process for recovery, including extensive, periodic hospitalization, and drastic changes in lifestyle. For example, there may be the need for home health aides and continuous care, and modifications to your home such as special ramps and fixtures to account for disabilities.