While it may seem counterintuitive, a large vehicle may not always be the safest option. It is true that in multiple party collisions, generally the occupants of larger vehicles fare better. However, SUVs, large vans, and pickup trucks actually have a higher rate of single-vehicle fatalities, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This is due to a variety of factors that lead to rollovers, which can be one of the most traumatic, dangerous types of traffic accidents.
A High Center of Gravity and a Narrow Wheel Base is a Lethal Combination
SUVs in particular have a lot of weight up high due to their overall large size and high ground clearance. They, and other large vehicles, also have a proportionally narrower wheelbase, compared with the height and width of a sedan. This creates a lot of instability when navigating winding roads, especially at higher speeds. According to Frontline, it was estimated that in 2002 there would be 70,000 SUV rollovers and 2,000 lives lost. Not only that, but risks to other road users skyrocket when they are involved in a collision with a larger, taller vehicle. A Ford Explorer is 16 times more likely to cause a fatality to the occupants of another vehicle than the average sedan. And, with every 1,000 pounds in weight difference, the chance of occupant fatality within the lighter weight vehicle rises by 47 percent, according to a new study. With safety statistics aside for the occupants of other vehicles, there is one large vehicle that is more dangerous for its occupants than any other.
15 Passenger Vans are One of the Most Dangerous Vehicles Allowed on the Roads
15 passenger vans are terrific for transporting large numbers of people, their luggage, and their sports equipment. These vans are often used by church groups, schools, airport shuttles, and sports teams. However, loading these vans to maximum capacity raises the likelihood of rollover by three times, according to CBS News. In fact, even when only partially loaded, 15-person vans are incredibly unstable, due to their high center of gravity and the heavy load they carry behind the rear axle (two rows of seating). The faster they are driven, the more unstable they become. Oftentimes, rear seat occupants don’t wear seatbelts, which greatly increases the chance of fatalities in a rollover.
85 Percent of Fatal Rollovers are Single-Vehicle Accidents
While we may have an image of a fatal rollover occurring on the highway as a multiple car pileup, possibly with a semi truck involved and a full closure of the freeway, most fatal rollovers occur on quiet rural roads and only involve one vehicle. This is due to the fact that drivers often become distracted, look down, then lose control of their vehicle around a turn or even while driving in a straight line. Excessive speed is present in the majority of single-vehicle rollovers as well. If you or a loved one has been involved in any sort of collision, whether it was a rollover or not, you may be entitled to collect compensation for your damages. Contact an experienced Charlotte, North Carolina car accident attorney today to discuss your legal options.