It is important for Illinois drivers to be aware of rollover accident risks and to take precautions to avoid becoming seriously injured victims. Roughly 30% of all car accident fatalities are the result of vehicle rollovers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that these crashes cause approximately 10,000 deaths annually. Rollovers are also responsible for causing a considerable number of injuries each year. There are many actions and events that can cause rollover accidents.
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Common Causes of Vehicle Rollover Accidents
Tripping – NHTSA data shows that up to 95% of vehicle rollovers occur when the vehicle strikes an object in the roadway such as a rock or log, runs onto a soft shoulder, or hits a curb. This can cause the vehicle to pitch forward and have an end-on-end rollover, or lurch sideways and into a roll.
Shifts in the Center of Gravity – Vehicles such as vans, minivans, SUV’s, and trucks have a higher center of gravity than passenger cars. This makes them more prone to tipping over while taking curves, making contact with other vehicles in an accident, or swerving to avoid obstructions.
Tire Failure – Tires can fail if the tread wears down or wears unevenly. When a tire has a structural defect, the vehicle is overloaded, or a faulty mounting procedure causes the tire to come loose, tire failure can cause the driver to lose control over the vehicle, sometimes resulting in a rollover. SUV’s are at particular risk for turning over and the NHTSA estimates that up to 45% of SUV’s that rollover do so because of tire failure.
Driver Behavior – Driver behaviors such as taking corners at excessive speeds, swerving, drowsy driving, and drunk driving can also lead to rollover accidents. These behaviors make it easier for the driver to lose control over the vehicle even under optimal driving conditions.
Liability for Rollover Accidents
A car accident attorney in Illinois can help determine the causes of a rollover accident and the responsible parties. For example, if the accident was caused by debris that fell off of a truck into the roadway, liability may fall on a truck driver or his or her employer for creating the hazard. Similarly, if the accident was caused by a defect in design or a faulty automobile part such as a tire, the manufacturer of the tire or vehicle may be liable for causing the accident.