William T. Wilson

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A frightening rollover accident can happen in an instant

A perfect storm scenario does not have to take place for your vehicle to roll over; it can happen in the blink of an eye. This kind of auto accident can result in devastating injury or death, but there are ways to protect yourself and your passengers.

Rollovers happen

You may envision a big rig rolling over, and that can easily occur if an overloaded truck is off balance. However, a rollover can happen to a vehicle of any size or shape. Passenger vehicles that are most susceptible to this kind of accident are those that are both tall and narrow, like SUVs, vans and pickup trucks, because their center of gravity is higher than that of a lower-profile passenger car.

How they occur

Sideways forces come into play on a curve and cause the center of gravity on a vehicle to shift. For example, if another vehicle forces yours onto the shoulder of the road, your first instinct may be to overcorrect, and you could roll over. This kind of accident could also happen if your tires “trip” on something. It could be a pothole in the road, a curb or a soft road shoulder.

Preventing injury accidents

You cannot account for the actions of another driver, but you can do your best to avoid a rollover and the serious injuries it could cause. Make sure you and your passengers wear your seatbelts to keep from being tossed around or thrown clear of the vehicle if a rollover should occur. Keep in mind that nearly three-quarters of all the people ejected from vehicles during a crash do not survive. You should also check your tires periodically to ensure they have the proper amount of air. With regard to the center of gravity issue, make sure the heaviest load you carry is not on top of the roof, but inside the vehicle and as close to the center as possible. Finally, once you are underway, drive responsibly. Many rollovers involve excessive speed. Keep in mind that these types of crashes can happen in an instant, and serious head and back injuries, as well as broken bones, are common.

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