SUV Rollover Accidents

With over 280,000 rollover accidents reported each year, over 10,000 human lives are lost during these incidents. Due to their design and being higher off of the ground than other vehicles, SUVs are more susceptible to rollover accidents. It is estimated by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) that more than 35.7% of fatal SUV crashes were due to SUV rollovers (2003).

This is an alarming number of accidents that has occurred due to rollovers. However, just what causes rollovers? Rollover accidents are the result of a vehicle's stability in turns. Yet while this is the case, obviously this should mean that during all turns there is a danger of an SUV rollover. Yet despite this logical assumption, there are not as many rollovers as you might expect. When you examine the evidence, it appears that most of these rollover accidents occur for males who are under 25 and usually on weekend nights.

From this, we can easily draw a correlation as to why rollover accidents are so common, especially when we examine the speed the person was going when he entered into the turn. Often individuals are taking corners too fast and too sharply. Where a low sedan might be able to corner properly, the lighter, top-heavy SUV is at a disadvantage and rolls as a result. In many of these incidents, the young man is not wearing a seatbelt and has usually been drinking, which makes these accidents often prove fatal.

Structural Design

While clearly, the drivers are at fault for fast turns and not wearing seatbelts, there is the point that if they had been in another vehicle the accident might not have occurred. An SUV has a different design from a smaller sedan. The center of gravity and the distance between the left and right wheels is very different. With a low sedan, the center of gravity is low and rather than push the car up and creating a rollover, it takes the path of least resistance and skids the car.

With an SUV, you are lighter in the tires and heavier in the top load. This means when you go into a sharp turn, your vehicle dips in the direction of your turn, creating the path for your entire vehicle to follow when it loses balances. This loss of balance will make the SUV rollover and endanger both the driver and passengers' lives.

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