Could you be the victim of a devastating rollover accident?

A rollover is one of the most frightening and potentially deadly types of vehicle crashes that can ever happen to you. However, the more you know about such accidents, the more prepared you will be to avoid a rollover catastrophe.

If there is a perfect storm of circumstances, any kind of vehicle can roll over. Longer, narrower vehicles such as pickup trucks, vans and SUVs are most at risk, however, because their center of gravity is higher than those of standard passenger cars. Large trucks are prone to rollovers for the same reason, especially big rigs with overloaded cargo that creates an imbalance and driver-control difficulties. Lateral forces come into play when a vehicle rounds a sharp curve with too much speed, and a rollover can result, often with severe personal injuries.

How vehicles trip

Rollovers involving a single vehicle often occur when tires “trip” on something. This could happen when the vehicle strikes a pothole in the road or swerves into a curb or onto a soft shoulder. In fact, government data suggest that trips are responsible for 95 percent of all rollovers, says Consumer Reports.

How to prevent a rollover

Check your tires before heading out on the road. You should inflate them to the level recommended by the manufacturer. It is also important to load your vehicle properly. Do not put heavy loads on the roof; put them inside and as close to the center of your SUV or van as possible. Once you are underway, watch your speed. Remember that excessive speed is a major factor in about 40 percent of all rollover fatalities. In this regard, be especially cautious when driving on rural roads.

How to survive

One of the best safety precautions for any vehicle occupant is to wear a seat belt. This prevents you from tossing around or being thrown out. Keep in mind that almost three-quarters of those who die in rollovers experience ejection from their vehicles. Following safety tips and always remaining alert will go a long way toward helping you avoid—or at least survive—a devastating rollover.

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