Sports utility vehicle accidents often get less attention than car accidents. Although SUVs are considered cars in motor vehicle crash data, the design of SUVs makes one type of accident more common: the rollover. For the last 30 years SUV rollovers have been observed in many studies examining the effects of SUV performance across a variety of tests. Because of their narrower and taller design, SUV and pickup trucks have a higher center of gravity, and when an SUV driver makes a sharp turn, especially at higher speeds, that center of the gravity can shift to one side of the vehicle, causing the driver to lose control.

How can you prevent a rollover accident? Fortunately, people who drive SUVs can minimize their accident risks by following a few simple tips. Reduce your speed when turning. If you are considering buying an SUV, go for a newer model; these typically have improved electronic stability control, which can help prevent a rollover. Routinely check the vehicle’s tires before hitting the road; they should be properly inflated and in good condition. Watch your loads. Overloaded vehicles are difficult to operate; follow the load ratings specified by the SUV manufacturer. Failure to follow any of these tips can increase the chances of a rollover.

How can you minimize or avoid accident injuries? To avoid being thrown from a vehicle, a common cause of death in an accident, make sure everyone uses their seatbelts, both lap belts and shoulder restraints, whenever the vehicle is moving.

If an SUV accident results in injuries or deaths, an SUV manufacturer can be held liable only if it can be proven the vehicle’s design caused the crash. If the accident was the driver’s fault, the injured parties may not be able to receive compensation from the vehicle’s manufacturer.

Source: Consumerreports.org, “Rollover 101,” accessed on Nov. 2, 2014