Home > Blog > Rollover Accidents

Rollover Accidents

Posted by:

One of the most dangerous types of vehicle accidents to experience is one where the vehicle you’re riding in rolls over. Rollover accidents are both dangerous and tragically common. 

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), only around 2 percent of all traffic accidents involve a vehicle rolling over. However, rollovers account for nearly 35 percent of all deaths in accidents involving passenger vehicles.  When a rollover occurs, the force of the vehicle’s rotation is often absorbed by the bodies inside, resulting in serious injuries, even if the vehicle’s occupants are wearing their seat belts. Along with the rollover’s force, the vehicle’s occupants also risk serious injury from the roof collapsing or from personal contents inside the vehicle that may fly around the vehicle’s cabin at a high rate of speed.

Those who fail to wear their seat belts and experience this type of crash are generally ejected from the vehicle.  Even those who are wearing a seatbelt can suffer severe injuries such as; traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, internal injuries and broken bones.


There are two types of rollover accidents, tripped and untripped.  The vast majority of rollovers are tripped, meaning the vehicle’s tires struck something, such as a median, that caused the vehicle’s weight to shift sideways while the vehicle continues moving forward. This rolls the vehicle over.  Untripped rollovers are far less common and generally involve a vehicle with a high center of gravity rolling over while going around a corner or curve at speed or while attempting to avoid a collision.


Several conditions can increase the likelihood of experiencing a rollover accident, such as:

  • Vehicle type. While rollover accidents are possible in any vehicle, they are more common in vehicles with higher centers of gravity, such as commercial trucks, pickup trucks, or SUVs.
  • Speed. Excessive speed is an established contributor to rollover accidents, as vehicles are harder to maneuver when moving quickly. Three-quarters of rollover accidents take place on roadways where the posted limit is 55 miles per hour or more.
  • Alcohol impairment. Around half of all fatal rollover crashes involve an alcohol-impaired driver. Alcohol impairment deteriorates the skills needed for safe driving such as the ability to maintain one’s own travel lane, to accelerate or brake effectively, or to exercise good judgment.
  • Location. Rural roads that do not have a center divider between opposing travel lanes and a higher posted speed limit are the most common areas for rollover accidents to occur.
  • Routine driving. Driving the same route every day lends itself to risky driving behaviors such as speeding or distracted driving. Up to 90 percent of the drivers involved in fatal, single-car rollovers were completing routine driving maneuvers when the accident occurred.
  • Single-vehicle crashes. Single-vehicle crashes occur when a motor vehicle strikes a stationary object such as a parked car or a median, or even a moving object such as a bicyclist or pedestrian. The majority of fatal rollover crashes involve a single vehicle.
  • Multi-car accidents. Although single-vehicle crashes account for most rollovers, a rollover can be part of a multi-vehicle crash as well, with one vehicle actually serving as the “trip