James P. Howe

     Attorney At  Law   

36 South County Commons Way C6     

Wakefield, RI 02879    
(401) 788-0600    





















        Rhode Island SUV Rollovers


 During an accident, vehicles are either slowed down rapidly by hitting an object or are jarred in a different direction than they were originally heading. Often times, the impact results in the vehicle skidding or spinning, but not toppling over---this is due to a low enough center of gravity and a wide enough track width (center of the right front tire to the center of the left front tire) to prevent such an event from occurring. However, if a vehicle has a high center of gravity and is redirected (as when a driver steers in one direction and then has to quickly crank the wheel in the opposite direction) the vehicle can topple and roll. click here for a free and confidential consultation

All vehicles can roll over if the right conditions are present, such as a loss of control and sliding into a curb, ditch or other object. However, SUV's can and do roll over as a result of hard steering on flat, dry pavement, with no tripping device. Within the world of SUV rollovers , they are perhaps most severe with Japanese vehicles.

From an engineering point of view, a vehicle's stability is measured by the formula---t/2h---where t is the 'track width' (center of the right front tire to the center of the left front tire) and h is the vehicle's center of gravity. When this number is 1.2 or greater, the vehicle is unlikely to roll. However, the further the ratio dips below 1.2, the greater the likelihood of roll over . While many vehicles have safe ratios, the addition of passengers, cargo and a full tank of gas all occurs above the center of gravity, increasing the chance of rollover. Given a real world scenario, the SUV would probably have cargo, multiple passengers, etc. This extra weight would definitely lower the ratio to dangerous levels if an accident were to occur at normal highway speeds. click here for a free and confidential consultation

SUV Dangers for Rollover

High Center of Gravity/Narrow Trackwidth: The relationship between center of gravity and trackwidth is perhaps the most important factor in determining whether a vehicle will rollover. SUVs have a much higher center of gravity than other vehicles. They are, to put it simply, top heavy. When a driver makes an emergency corrective action, the SUV has a much greater chance of rolling over.
Advertised to Carry Lots of Weight: SUVs, for the most part, are advertised as sturdy vehicle that can carry families, groups of people, tons of equipment, etc. to the farthest reaches of the globe. SUVs have replaced minivans and station wagon as the family vehicle of choice. This means lots of weight is being carried in these cars. Contrary to the belief that weight reduces the incidence of rollover, the fact of the matter is that weight actually increases the propensity of SUVs to rollover. The more weight in the vehicle, the heavier they are (this weight is carried above the higher center of gravity), and the easier they tip and roll.
Absence of Roll Protection: Sport Utility Vehicles are meant to be driven off road. They were originally designed to be rough and tumble vehicles that could get their passengers wherever they wanted to go. (How often do you see ads with SUV perched on top of an impossibly high mountain top?) Off road vehicles typically include protection devices such as rollbars that protect passengers in the event of a rollover accident. However, car and truck manufacturers realize that the majority of customers do not drive their SUVs off road very often and therefore did not include roll bars. Essentially, SUVs have the body type of an off road vehicle (high clearance, high center of gravity) without a roll bar safety device.

Contact us today by Email or call us today at  (401) 788-0600 to speak with someone from our  firm regarding a Rhode Island SUV Accident..


James P. Howe Law Offices
36 South County Commons Way C6, Wakefield RI 02879
Phone : (401) 788-0600   Fax: (401) 788-0605

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