Bigger Vehicle, Bigger Chance for a Rollover Accident
For drivers and passengers of pick-up trucks and SUVs, putting on a seat belt should take all of 2 seconds. Going unbuckled in the same vehicles, though, drops your chance of surviving a rollover accident to 25% – three out of four times you will die in that crash.
Is saving that minuscule amount of time worth potentially trading your life? The chances of having a rollover accident in an over-sized vehicle may be greater than you’d think.
Pick-up trucks and SUVs are vehicles that have a high center of gravity, which makes them less stable than cars that are low to the ground. The idea that many SUV and truck drivers have about “feeling safer” by sitting up high in their “big, strong vehicles” is very much in opposition to the facts (and physics). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says these large vehicles have a rollover rate that is three times that of passenger cars.
So, accident history and accident test studies prove that these big vehicles rollover more often than any other vehicles. In addition to that, unbuckled passengers in any vehicle are five times more likely to be ejected during a rollover accident. It sounds like the odds of safe travel are stacked against the driver of a large vehicle each and every time he takes to the road… especially when not wearing a seat belt.
A rollover by one of these over-sized vehicles happens not only as a result of a car crash or from hitting some other object. A sudden maneuver around a road hazard or a tire blowout – nothing a driver is likely to predict or avoid – can cause an SUV or pickup to roll over.
Let’s Pretend for a Minute
Let’s say you’re driving your SUV down Academy Boulevard in Colorado Springs when the car in front of you stops suddenly. You barely scrape by the rear bumper of the other vehicle as you swerve to the right. Then, before you can right yourself, your SUV begins to rollover and down into the ditch beside the road. You’re not wearing your seat belt, because well, you’re not going that far. Why bother? During the rollover, you’re ejected through the front window. Miraculously you survive the accident but you are seriously injured. While you’re in the hospital your spouse hires a personal injury attorney to fight for your medical costs and pain and suffering. But there’s a problem.
Colorado is one of 16 states that allows a “seat belt defense” in these types of cases. The fact that you made a choice not to wear your seat belt will actually reduce the amount of money you can get from a court settlement. The other driver may have caused the accident, but your own carelessness caused you to be ejected from the vehicle.
Not buckling up in order to save time just causes greater losses down the road, both physically and financially. Don’t be in such a hurry! It’s better to get to your destination 2 seconds later than you planned than to not get there at all.