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Roof Strength and Rollover Accidents

Every year more than 10,000 people die or are severely injured as a result of rollover crashes. A rollover occurs when a vehicle tips onto its side or roof at any point during a crash. Accidents resulting in a rollover occur less than 3 percent of the time, but unfortunately represent more than a third of vehicle-related fatalities.

What Causes a Rollover?

Rollovers occur most often during a turn when the driver loses control of the vehicle and the car slides sideways. A vehicle will lack stability in such a situation. That instability is influenced by the relationship of the vehicle's center of gravity to the road. The higher the center of gravity, the more likely a car will flip over. Vehicles at the greatest risk for a rollover are 4-wheel-drive trucks and sport-utility vehicles because they have a higher center of gravity.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration currently rates which vehicles are most prone to rollover accidents, on a scale of 1 to 5, which is available to the public on its website.

Vehicle Roof Strength Helps - Maybe

For many years there has been speculation over whether roof collapse and the corresponding injuries related to it are a result of the relative strength of a vehicle's roof. Conflicting studies have reported both that roof strength can be either a large or a minimal factor in rollover-related injuries.

The NHTSA produced its own studies that show roof strength plays a significant role in occupant safety. These studies showed that reduced roof collapse related to lower injury risk and that there is a relationship between a stronger roof and less roof collapse. Additionally, increased roof strength is associated with a reduced risk of passenger ejection during a rollover.

If you or a loved one is involved in an accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Working with an attorney can help you handle the emotional and financial burdens that arise in the aftermath of a rollover crash.