edOne particular kind of auto accident happens all too often here in our part of the country, one that often results in serious car wrecks and fatal crashes. While it’s true that the most common motor vehicle accident is the rear-end collision, the rollover crash is a type of vehicle accident that happens much more often than most people realize.
Rollover accidents are often the cause of traffic deaths and serious, life-long injuries to those involved in the rollover crash. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), rollovers are not only a very dangerous type of accident, they have a higher fatality rate than other types of motor vehicle crashes.
1. Rollovers are dangerous incidents and have a higher fatality rate than other kinds of crashes.
2. Of the nearly 9.1 million passenger car, SUV, pickup and van crashes in 2010, only 2.1% involved a rollover.
3. However, rollovers accounted for nearly 35% of all deaths from passenger vehicle crashes.
4. In 2010 alone, more than 7,600 people died in rollover crashes.
5. The majority of them (69%) were not wearing safety belts.
With winter on its way, the road conditions are only going to get more dangerous for Hoosiers. Now is the time for Indiana drivers to be aware and prepare for the danger of a rollover crash.
Rollover Accidents Are a Big Risk to Indiana Drivers
Consider the following examples of rollover accidents in our state within the past few months:
1. October 30, 2015 SUV Rollover and Fiery Death in NW Indiana
A few days ago, a 25 year old man tragically perished in a rollover crash near Gary, Indiana, while driving on I-80/94. The crash happened a little after one o’clock in the morning, as the driver’s Ford SUV weaved through the expressway traffic, went off the asphalt and hit a vehicle sitting on the shoulder.
The impact caused the SUV to rollover over several times. Then it caught on fire, coming to a stop upright in the middle of the right traffic lane of the highway.
It was a horrible site, according to witnesses. The man was trapped inside the vehicle, and despite everyone’s efforts, they couldn’t get him out.
2. October 7, 2015 SUV Rollover and Death in NW Indiana
Just a few weeks ago, another young Indiana man died in a rollover crash while driving in northwest Indiana. This rollover accident happened around seven o’clock on a Wednesday morning, as the 18 year old driver was driving along U.S. 231.
It was foggy. There were no witnesses.
His Ford F-150 truck went off the road, and it rolled over several times. The force of the impact was so great that the driver was thrown out of the truck, and was pronounced dead at the scene from blunt force trauma.
3. September 2015 Big Rig Rollover Injures Truck Driver
On the Indiana Toll Road, a semi truck hauling cranberry juice was involved in a rollover accident. Driving along the highway near the Riverside overpass, the truck driver lost control of his big rig while driving eastbound around three o’clock that Saturday afternoon.
The semi-truck went off the road. It rolled over, landing upside down in a ditch.
The truck driver was injured in the crash, and was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of his neck and spine.
4. July 2015 Rollover Crash Kills Two Teens in East Chicago
This Indiana rollover crash happened around three o’clock on a Sunday morning on Railroad Avenue in East Chicago, up in Lake County. A bunch of teenagers were in a car driven by an 18-year-old driver who lost control of the vehicle while driving at an estimated 90 mph. The car slammed into a utility pole, which fell on top of the car. It is reported that the impact of the pole hitting the car resulted in the car rolling over, and then hitting a second utility pole.
Both the driver and his 17 year old passenger died at the scene. Five other teenagers were seriously hurt.
5. July 2015 Rollover in Clinton County Injures Three Women
Over in Clinton County this summer, three women were involved in a terrifying accident on State Road 26. The crash happened on a Thursday, around two o’clock that afternoon. Their car – a Pontiac Sunbird – veered off the road, rolling several times before coming to a stop.
All three were hurt and had to be taken to a nearby hospital for medical care. The car was bashed in badly; so much so, that one of the passengers was trapped inside the car and had to be extricated by emergency responders.
Rollover Risks and Prevention
It’s important that all of us take steps to be aware of the real danger of a rollover accident on our roads and highways, and to take steps to try and prevent being involved in a rollover accident in the future (for both us and our loved ones). Steps we can all take to minimize our danger of being in a rollover crash include:
1. Don’t Panic in an Emergency: Overcorrecting Can Cause a Rollover
Many rollover accidents happen when the driver is frightened because of an unexpected event (say, a road hazard) and panics. If the driver is driving at a high speed, the risk of a fatal rollover accident is even higher. Panic may make the driver turn the wheel too hard and too fast, overcorrecting, and in doing so, losing control of the vehicle.
2. Check Your Tires
Tires can cause rollovers. If a tire is worn, it is harder to control the vehicle. Worn tires will not be able to hold traction on wet or snowy or icy roads as well as tires with good tread.
Also, tires need to have enough air pressure. If a tire is underinflated or overinflated, it can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle, sliding on the roadway or even causing a blowout.
3. Check your Cargo and Weight Distribution
In bigger vehicles, from SUVs to pickups to passenger vans, as well as commercial trucks, the importance of weight distribution cannot be ignored. Not only should the driver consider where his passengers are placed, but where luggage, groceries, tools, sporting equipment, and other cargo is stored is important to consider.
There is a maximum safe load for your vehicle. Check the manual. Your roof rack has one, too.
Improper load and weight distribution means that the vehicle’s center of gravity will be off — and this can cause a rollover crash.
Rollover accidents are very dangerous and they happen here in our part of the country. Be careful out there!