Rollover Crash Causes

Rollovers accidents can be very dangerous and have a higher fatality rate than other kinds of crashes. Rollovers accounted for nearly 35% of all deaths from passenger vehicle crashes in 2010, leaving more than 7,600 people dead, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA data show that 95% of single-vehicle rollovers are tripped. This happens when a vehicle leaves the roadway and slides sideways, digging its tires into soft soil or striking an object such as a curb or guardrail. The high tripping force applied to the tires in these situations can cause the vehicle to roll over. Tripping can also occur on a downward slope if the driver misjudges the steepness of the hill. Untripped rollovers are less common than tripped rollovers, occurring less than 5% of the time, and mostly involve top-heavy vehicles attempting to make high-speed collision avoidance maneuvers. Many factors can cause a vehicle to roll over including:

  • Vehicle type: Vehicles of all kinds can potentially rollover. Taller, narrower vehicles, however, such as SUVs, pickups, and vans have higher centers of gravity, and thus are more susceptible to rollover.
  • Speed: Some 40% of fatal rollover crashes involved excessive speeding. Furthermore, nearly ¾ of fatal rollovers took place where the posted speed limit was 55 miles per hour or higher.
  • Alcohol: Nearly half of all fatal rollover crashes involve alcohol. Even a small amount of alcohol can negatively affect judgment, muscular coordination, and vision, making drivers more likely to lose control of their vehicles.
  • Location: Rural roads tend to be undivided and without barriers, and therefore more likely to be the scene of a fatal rollover.
  • Routine Driving: 90% of the vehicles in fatal, single-vehicle rollover crashes were involved in routine driving maneuvers such as going straight or negotiating a curve at the time of the crash. 
  • Driver Behavior: 85% of all rollover-related fatalities are the result of single-vehicle crashes. This means that the majority of rollover crashes and fatalities do not involve any other vehicle besides the one that rolled over, suggesting that driver behavior plays a significant role in rollover crashes.

If you or a loved one is involved in a rollover accident, contact a personal injury lawyer in Phoenix, AZ as soon as possible. A personal injury attorney can help you better understand your situation, help to protect your rights, represent you in your claims, and attempt to get you the compensation you deserve. The consultation should be free, there should be no fees unless a settlement is obtained.


Thanks to Paul Englander, PLC for their insight into personal injury claims and causes of rollover crashes.