A few days ago, the sports world reacted in horror as fans and pundits saw the first images of a car wreck involving famous professional golfer Tiger Woods. Woods, 45, had been in a single-car accident in California. The car came to rest lying on its back, and early reports indicated that Woods had sustained severe leg injuries.
Many immediately thought about Kobe Bryant, the retired basketball player and Lakers great who had died in a helicopter accident the previous year. While reports soon came out indicating that Woods would live, it was hard to shake the image of that car lying on its back with the front crushed in.
Woods had been in a rollover car crash, one of the most potentially deadly kinds. All indications are that he is lucky to be alive. We’ll talk a little about rollover accidents in this article.
Some Vital Rollover Car Crash Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is a well-known and respected entity. They collect car crash data. They say that only about 2% of traffic accidents are rollover situations.
Rollover accidents account for about 35% of passenger vehicle deaths, though. That should indicate how deadly a car flipping over can be.
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Why Are These Accidents So Dangerous?
Generally speaking, it takes a significant impact or collision to flip a car over. If it happens, the vehicle has to be going pretty fast, or else something else traveling at a high velocity must smash into it.
Because of this, whenever you see a car flipped over on its back, you know that a major collision has occurred, usually with one or more vehicles traveling at a high speed. The car might spin around, and the bodies inside can absorb that impact.
The roof can collapse. There might also be personal contents within the vehicle that may fly around when the impact occurs.
If you’re not at least wearing a seatbelt when this crash type occurs, it’s not likely you’ll survive. The accident can eject you from the vehicle completely. You might fly through the windshield. Even if you live, you may sustain catastrophic damage.
What Sorts of Damage Might You Sustain?
Depending on many factors, such as where the impact occurred, whether you were wearing a seatbelt, and so forth, you might sustain serious or deadly injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are certainly possible, as a piece of the wreckage can strike your head. TBIs can cause permanent brain damage in some cases.
You might sustain a spinal cord injury. If it’s bad enough, you may never walk again. It’s rare that an impact will completely severe a spinal cord, but even a badly damaged one can cause paralysis.
With rollover car crashes, you often see internal injuries as well. Flying objects can cause these, as can the accident’s tremendous force. Internal injuries can cause bleeding or organ damage.
What Causes These Accidents?
The unfortunate reality is that many factors exist that can conceivably cause rollover accidents. While early details of the Tiger Woods crash are spotty, it seems that speed and unfamiliarity both played a part. Woods didn’t know that road section, and he might have tried to take a curve too fast in a rented vehicle.
Vehicles with higher gravity centers roll over more easily. Sport utility vehicles, in particular, seem to do it more than most others.
If you’re going too fast, that can play a part. Alcohol impairment is also a common cause. If you consume alcohol before you drive, it’s always dangerous, but if you combine that with reckless driving and unsafe speeds, you’re making a rollover collision more likely.
You also see single-vehicle crashes that result in rollovers sometimes. It seems unlikely, but driving the same route over and over can sometimes play a part. What happens is that a driver becomes complacent, and they don’t pay as close attention to their surroundings as they should.
How Can You Prevent This Type of Accident?
It’s impossible to always be 100% safe in a car. However, there are definitely a few things you can do that make surviving a rollover accident more likely, as well as avoiding one.
If you get a newer vehicle, it will probably have more safety features, and your survival is more likely. You can wear your seatbelt every time you drive, and you can also refrain from alcohol or drug consumption. You can pay close attention to traffic conditions, and you can keep to the posted speed limit.