Car accidents of any sort can be dangerous and terrifying, regardless of how they happened. However, when a vehicle actually rolls over, there’s a whole new layer of risk to worry about. Whether it’s the result of colliding with another vehicle or simply taking a turn too quickly, it is a serious and often life-threatening event beyond that of a normal fender bender or off-road swerve. It may not be possible to definitively prevent you and your loved ones from ever experiencing one, but understanding the dangers and some factors that lead to it can lower your chances.
How rollovers happen
Rollovers are the result of a sudden change in your vehicle’s center of gravity, a loss of grip from your tires, and usually something to “trip” your car. For example, catching your tire on a particularly bad pothole could be the catalyst, especially if you hit it while speeding around a corner. A mixture of ice, sleet, rain or wet leaves – anything to mess up the traction of your tires – is another recipe for a rollover disaster. Not every car is so easily flipped, however. Low cars like sedans are usually fairly difficult to roll, whereas top-heavy vehicles such as SUVs, vans, and trucks are at higher risk. Having a heavy top means having a center of gravity that shifts with the wind, rather than staying low and steady.
The good news is these days, a lot of larger vehicles are made with electronic anti-rollover technology to lower the chances of anything happening — but not all of them. If you find yourself seeking to purchase an SUV, van, or truck, make sure you research the crash tests and safety technology included with the model.
What kind of injuries do rollovers cause?
There are a lot of factors – the size of the vehicle, speed and severity of the rollover, if the driver was wearing a seatbelt, and how the rollover happened – that can affect the severity of the injuries a person sustains. For example, someone may face more severe injuries if the car was hit by another vehicle before it rolled over. Another thing of note is that, unlike head-on collisions, rollovers are not likely to trigger any airbags, so anything you hit within the car is without any padding.
In many cases, drivers and passengers will sustain some form of head and neck injury. Whether it’s whiplash from your seatbelt restraining you or a concussion from hitting your head on the steering wheel or the side of the car, there is ample opportunity for some form of injury. If it’s a severe enough accident, you may even be left with a traumatic brain injury, which could lead to permanent consequences.
Another serious concern is a back or spinal cord injury, also possibly due to your seatbelt doing its job. Remember, it is meant to save your life, not protect you from injury. In fact, almost all deaths in rollovers are due to someone not wearing their seatbelt. While this is definitely a worthy trade-off, it does mean you need to take it into consideration when examining the risks. You may end up with broken bones, fractures, bruises, and lacerations, but if you’re able to survive such a serious accident, it means your car succeeded at protecting you.
Regardless of the extent of your injuries, you may find yourself facing a long road of expensive recovery and medical treatments — possibly, even, for the rest of your life. Not to mention the possibility of your car needing to be full-on replaced, or at least extensive repairs that could cost you thousands.
Unfortunately, no one can guarantee you’ll never experience a rollover. However, practicing safe driving habits such as watching your speed, wearing your seatbelt, staying sober, and taking all turns and ramps carefully can certainly lower your chances. If you still find yourself in this dangerous situation, you’ll want people you can trust to get you the financial compensation you both need and deserve, regardless of how the rollover happened. The Huntsville car accident attorneys at Martin & Helms can go over the details of your case with you and let you focus on recovery without sacrificing your savings. We are proud to help you here in Huntsville, Decatur, Athens and Madison, and all of North Alabama. Call us today at 256-539-1990 or fill out our contact form for more information.
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