There are several factors that make it more likely for a driver to be involved in a rollover accident. A brief google search will show we've had some terrible ones making the headlines in Bellingham recently. As you read through the list below, you'll notice that many of these factors are preventable. Things like distracted driving, drunk driving, and speeding are mistakes that happen because a driver chose to make them.
Before we get into the list, let's first look at some statistics that tell the story of how deadly rollover accidents truly are. Though they aren't as common - rollover crashes account for just 2% of all crashes, according to 2010 data - rollover accidents are more deadly. In fact, 35% of all passenger vehicle accident deaths include a rollover in the list of factors. Seat belts should be second nature to anyone getting into a vehicle nowadays, but there are still about 11% of folks on US roads who still refuse to wear them. If you're not wearing your seat belt and your car rolls, you've got a much higher likelihood of dying. In 2014, 48% of those killed in a vehicle crash were not wearing a seat belt when they died. Sometimes statistics read like a call to action, and if that's what this sounds like to all my Bellingham readers, you caught me. We have a lot of rural roads surrounding us in Whatcom and Skagit Counties, and rural roads certainly make the list below.
Factors that contribute to increased chance of vehicle rollover:
Type of vehicle
Vehicles with a higher profile have a higher likelihood of rolling in a crash. Any type of vehicle can roll, it's just that SUVs, pickup trucks and vans are at an increased risk to roll. The taller and narrower a vehicle is, the higher its center of gravity. This is why you don't see a whole lot of SUVs racing at the Indy 500. However, recent technology has made SUVs safer. Electronic Stability Control is a feature of many new SUVs, and can actually make them safer than other cars in preventing rollovers.
A speeding car is harder to control, and in the event of the unexpected, a driver has less time to react. So it stands to reason that about 40% of all rollover deaths involved excessive speed. This makes highways more prone to rollover accidents - in fact, nearly 3/4 of fatal rollovers happened on roadways with a 55-mph or higher speed limit.
Driving while intoxicated
If you are drunk, in the car with a drunk driver, or happen to meet one on the road, then you've greatly increased your chance of dying in a rollover crash. Nearly half of all rollover fatalities involve a drunk driver. These are called sobering facts for good reason.
Many rural roads don't have clear divisions or barriers. Take a trip up Mount Baker Highway and you'll find yourself zinging along with only some bumps and a few feet separating you from other vehicles barreling at you. Rural roads and highways are very dangerous, and accidents that happen on them tend to be devastating. Lacking safety measures like clear divisions and barriers makes rural highways account for 75% of rollovers.
Everyone knows the expression, "I could do this with my eyes closed." But please don't drive that way. Driving the same route day after day can certainly feel routine. Opting to turn to distractions like cell phones, eating and drinking, or even reading a book to break up the monotony is basically driving with your eyes closed. NHTSA data suggests that more than 90 percent of fatal, single-vehicle rollover crashes involved a driver doing routine driving maneuvers like driving straight ahead and taking a curve or turn in the road. Activities that would seem, at first glance, to have no apparent cause. But typically if someone crashes for no apparent reason, they were distracted.
According to NHTSA data, almost 85 percent of all rollover accident deaths are the direct result of single-vehicle crashes. What this means is that the vast majority of rollover accidents only involve one vehicle.
If you or a loved one were the victims of someone's negligence, you need help. Getting through this emotional time is hard enough, but negotiating with insurers and trying to pay your bills is often too much for anyone to bear. Call Bill Coats Law for an experienced team to represent you and fight for a fair, fast and full insurance settlement. Call us today at (360) 392-2833 and make an appointment to come in for a free consultation at our downtown Bellingham office.