Car rollovers are among the most lethal types of car collisions. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there were 3,667 deaths in 2015 caused by rollover accidents. Given the relatively high rate of deaths caused by rollover accidents, it is essential that we understand why they occur and how we can reduce the high casualty numbers.
The Physics of a Rollover
The physics that are involved in a car rollover are fairly basic. In simple terms, a car will roll over when the force that pushes the car down (gravity) is overcome by the force that tilts a car upon impact or when it turns a corner (inertia). Of course, there are other factors at play when discussing rollover science such as road friction coefficients and centrifugal forces, but let’s keep this simple.
Certain types of vehicles, like SUVs and vans, are particularly prone to rolling over. The reason these vehicles are at such high risk is because of their high center of gravity and relatively short track widths. If a vehicle has a low center of gravity, and its tires are far apart, it requires more inertia to rollover.
Nearly every rollover is avoidable, and lowering a car’s center of mass is an easy problem to resolve; simply concentrate the car’s mass at the bottom of the vehicle. A common misconception about the likelihood of a rollover is that a car’s weight is a factor, but a vehicle of any weight can roll over. The only way in which weight factors into rollover likelihood is how it is distributed throughout the vehicle. SUVs are commonly marketed as off-road vehicles and have higher suspensions, but this only adds to the possibility of a rollover by raising the heavy components further off the ground. Another solution to prevent rollovers is to widen the distance between the vehicle’s tires. Each of these changes would incrementally decrease the likelihood of a rollover and increase driver and passenger safety accordingly.
Your Options After a Rollover
Car manufacturers have a responsibility to incorporate safety features into the design and manufacture of their vehicles. Unfortunately, some manufacturers fail to incorporate the latest safety technology into their vehicles and that failure causes avoidable damages and even death. If you have been injured in a rollover accident in the Los Angeles metro area, please call the personal injury lawyers at Sheridan & Rund, PC. They will evaluate your claim and fight for the compensation you deserve.