Large Vehicles Have a High Rate of Fatal Rollovers

Many people choose a large vehicle such as an SUV or pickup truck because of the inherent safety advantages over a smaller car. It has been proven that driving a larger vehicle is safer (for the occupants of the larger vehicle) during an impact, especially when considering the fact that with every 1,000 pounds in size difference, the death rate of the occupants of the smaller vehicle rises by 47%, according to a recent study. However, what that study does not take into account is the high rate of rollovers to which larger vehicles are prone.


Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Report


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveals that SUVs and pickup trucks are more likely to be in single-vehicle fatalities, namely single-vehicle rollover fatalities. This is because large vehicles have more weight up high, and a proportionally narrower wheel base than sedans and smaller vehicles. By having weight up high, the high center of gravity creates instability when making turns. The proportionally narrow wheel base also adds to the likelihood of a rollover because there is less lateral stability, meaning the forces caused by the high center of gravity can become overpowering when taking a corner, or swerving, at speed. It is because of this that larger, taller vehicles are at such a risk of rolling over. While SUVs and pickup trucks are at risk, 15-person vans are even more dangerous.


15-Passenger Vans and Have the Highest Rate of Fatal Rollovers


The one vehicle that, across the board of manufacturers, is at even more risk of rolling over than SUVs and pickup trucks is the 15-person van. These vans are built to carry as many people and luggage as possible, and unfortunately, safety was not the top priority during the design phase, despite their propensity for transporting schoolchildren, church groups, and sports teams.


One of the main reasons these vans have such a high rate of rolling over is because the last two rows of seating are behind the rear axle. This significantly decreases the driver’s control when cornering and when driving at high speeds. The fact that there is so much weight up high, with a narrow wheelbase, also adds to the instability and high rollover rates of 15 passenger vans. When these vans are fully loaded, they are three times more likely to rollover than when not fully loaded, which shows just how poor the design was, since the point of these vans in the first place is to carry large numbers of people.


High Speeds and Rural Areas


Surprisingly, 85% of fatal rollovers are single-vehicle incidents, meaning that the driver swerved or took a corner too fast. In most fatal single-vehicle rollovers, the driver was speeding. Other factors at play include distractions such as cell phones, driving while impaired from alcohol, and driving while drowsy. Most rollovers occur in rural areas where the speed limit is 55 miles per hour or more, there is no lighting at night, and the road has many curves.


No matter the type of accident, if you or a loved one were involved in an auto wreck and injured by a negligent party, you may be able to collect compensation for your injuries. Contact the law offices of Napoli Shkolnik PLLC today at 212-397-1000 to talk with one of our experienced New York car accident attorneys.