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Rollover accidents tend to be deadly

One of the worst type of accidents is a rollover. Though relatively rare — rollovers account for only about 3 percent of serious collisions — vehicle rollovers are responsible for approximately 30 percent of passenger vehicle fatalities.

Why are rollovers so deadly? Newer model vehicles often come equipped with rollover-avoidance technologies built right into the vehicle's design. This, along with other enhanced safety features and stronger government regulations, can greatly reduce the number and frequency of rollover deaths. Using one's seat belt is another example of being proactive about safety while driving and riding.

While any vehicles are capable of rollovers, the design on vans, pickups and SUVs make them more susceptible to the danger than other vehicles. This is because the high and narrow design means the vehicles' centers of gravity are higher, making them top-heavy.

When the center of gravity of a vehicle shifts suddenly, such as when the driver makes a sharp curve, the CoG shifts to one side, affecting the balance. Lateral forces are increased by vehicular speed and rapidly changing directions, as may occur on the steep, winding California roads. A pendulum effect can start that winds up with the driver losing control.

According to Consumer Reports, auto manufacturers can fit SUVs with tires that grip the pavement less to reduce the risk of rollovers. But tires with less gripping power pose their own risk as well.

Below are some ways consumers can reduce rollover risks and increase their survivability odds.

-- Newer vehicles generally are safer, so make sure you purchase vehicles with enhanced safety features.

-- Keep tires properly inflated according to manufacturer's guidelines. Buy replacement tires like or similar to the original set.

-- Be mindful of not overloading your vehicle, and especially avoid carrying heavy loads on top of the vehicle.

-- Reduce your speed, as the faster you drive, the riskier it is.

-- Rural roads account for nearly 75 percent of all rollover accidents, according to studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

If you are injured in a rollover accident, seeking civil justice is one way to hold the responsible parties accountable for the harm you suffer.

Source: Consumer Reports, "Car rollover 101," accessed June 03, 2016

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