We all know that rollover car accidents are typically some of the most catastrophic types of motor vehicle crashes. We are all familiar with the potential for traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, spinal cord damage and, of course, fatalities.

But what exactly causes a vehicle to roll over in such a dramatic fashion? Are you or those you love at risk?

The website Safercar.gov, sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, emphasizes the fact that rollover accidents are often very complex events involving many different factors. It is hard to pinpoint any one thing that leads to these tragedies. Often, they involve a combination of driver-related errors, roadway problems, poor vehicle design and weather issues.

However, research does show that certain factors can increase the odds of a rollover. These include:

  • Your vehicle’s center of gravity — Tall, narrow vehicles such as SUVs and vans are naturally more prone to tipping.
  • Driving too fast — Excessive speeding was a factor in 40 percent of the fatal cases studied.
  • Drinking and driving — Approximately 50 percent of the fatal rollovers studied involved alcohol use.
  • Lack of barriers along the road — Driving at high speed on a road with no barriers, such as a two-lane country road, makes it much easier for your car to stray off the shoulder and into the ditch.

The vast majority of all rollover accidents involve only the one vehicle. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes another driver’s negligence leads to the crash, such as when a tractor-trailer driver forces a smaller car off the road.

If you or someone you know was involved in such an accident, it never hurts to consult an attorney experienced in auto accidents to learn more about your rights.